We have been huge fans of live aboard fishing trip operations for a long time. From a purely angling perspective, there are just so many positive attributes to doing a Mothership based fishing trip. Unlike, many years ago, when these operations were generally pretty basic and rough, it was a given that if you wanted to do a live board week, that you would likely be compromising on quality of food and accommodations; today’s modern live aboards pretty much have all the creature comforts that traveling anglers have come to expect when doing a destination trip.
Being stationed in the heart of the best water, on a mothership, offers a superb opportunity to maximize time on the water. The runs to and from the prime fishing areas are generally very short because you are already there! This is particularly beneficial when targeting species like tarpon, where the best fishing is often at or near first and last light. Another benefit to live aboard operations are that you are living on board with the guides who you are fishing with. Getting out quickly each morning is all but guaranteed, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve learned something while sharing a drink with my guide at the end of the day as we dissect the days’ experiences.
Just about all mothership operations now have first rate video and entertainment centers on board, along with comfortable spacious areas to relax in, both indoors and out. With space at a premium on board, most guest cabins are well thought out, with an eye to maximizing what space there is. Being on the water generally means that there will be an emphasis on fresh seafood, for those that enjoy the fruits of the ocean. For those who don’t enjoy seafood, the chefs on board always prepare excellent alternative dishes.
There are generally two types of live aboard operations.
1. Fixed or moored barges like the Torguga in Cuba’s Jardines de la Reina or Han Nee Na Lodge, on Canada’s west coast are stationary and generally don’t move during the season.
2. Moving yachts like the MY Dugong in the Seychelles, or the Odyssey on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, that are anchored and will, depending on the trip and time of year, move periodically during the course of the trip.
Both of these types of live aboards have their advantages and I can’t say that I prefer one over the other.
The reality of all live aboards, whether the operation is fixed or moving, because of the logistics associated with running these type of operations is such remote and isolated locations, they’re more expensive than the traditional land based lodges; there is just no getting around this. Having to ship out fresh food and fuel, along with having to feed and house, the guides and the ancillary crew supporting the operation adds to the overall cost of offering this type of adventure, however, when you consider the increased time you’ll get on the water fishing and the unique experience that these kind of trips offer, it is well worth the added cost.
When you do one live aboard trip, within about day 3 of the week you are often starting to think about when and where you can do the next one!