Andy Griffiths grew up in the Keys as the son of a commercial fisherman.
During the 60s there were very few restrictions on fishing and very
few fishermen. As the 70s came to a close, Captain Andy decided
to finish college and re-evaluate his career options. Commercial
fishing was hard work. Fluctuating seafood prices, bad weather, and
difficulty finding good help for a crew made it difficult to pursue
a future on the ocean.
Captain Andy knew that despite a college education, he wanted to
stay working on a boat. He would often take college friends out on
his 39 foot fishing boat that he built and they would be his "crew".
They usually caught plenty to eat and take home while leaving Captain
Andy enough to sell to make ends meet and pay for college. Eventually
the friends started to contribute toward the expenses and Captain
Andy's Charters was born.
In the mid 80s, Captain Andy built his dream boat. A 43 footer
with a big bathroom and shower, huge galley, and a table for six.
He put in seven bunks so if he took six passengers, everyone would
have their own bunk. What made the trip unique was that Captain Andy
went out on multi-day trips, (overnight). That's the secret to great
fishing. You have to go far out, too far out to return to port the
same day. But at the same time, there were islands way off shore
to hide behind if the weather was a little windy. With a multi-day
trip, you get to fish first thing in the morning, last thing in the
evening, all day and all night if you want. Or you can visit Fort
Jefferson National Monument in the Dry Tortugas. On long hot summer
days some people like to snorkel the shallow water wrecks in the
Dry Tortugas Park. Some play cards in the air conditioned cabin while
waiting for the night action.
The trip became so popular that Captain Andy was starting to spend
every day and night out on the water and his social life ashore was
non existent. So, in the early 90s he built another boat and hired
two captains. He was still turning away customers, many of them loyal
repeaters who would not book early enough. So, Captain Andy built
a third boat and was filled up again. Finally, in 2001, six years
after building the third boat, and after recruiting another former
commercial fisherman, Captain Andy built a fourth boat. And, you
guessed it, he is full again. Captain Andy has plotted over 2000 "spots" while
fishing over years. He still takes out a trip now now and then, but
he is now mostly the manager. The four captains and two alternate
captains that run the boats have extensive knowledge of fishing the
local waters. The same customers return year after year always requesting
the same captains.
As the economic times grew tougher Captain Andy decided that owners could still make money if they ran their own boats and took care of them themselves. All former captains of Andy Griffiths Charters are independent owner/operators.