As founders and operators of Luck o’ The Irish Fishing Charters, we (Capt Rich and his 1st Mate, April) can honestly say that we love our jobs. Of course, as the saying goes, “Do what you love and you’ll never work another day in your life!” In that sense, I suppose you really can’t call what we do for a living a “job.” We made it a goal to pursue our dreams together, and that’s exactly what we have accomplished.
It’s safe to say that Rich has worked for most of his life. As a young lad, he would go to work with his dad and before long he began to bring home his own paychecks. He grew up in a small town called Cappincur in Co. Offaly, Ireland, but he spent a few years commuting to Dublin for work. When he turned 18, he and some friends set out to Australia where they had the excitement to work abroad for a couple years. Not long after returning to Ireland, Rich took a job offer to work in Chicago for half a year. While he was there, a terrible event took place in New York City, which shook the entire world. After 9/11 happened, Rich decided it was time to go home and be with his family for a while.
Shortly after returning home, Rich took a holiday to Florida and while he was there he found a job in Naples. Once more, he left his home in Ireland to work abroad. He never expected it to become a permanent move, but while settling into his new life he quickly discovered a new passion: Fishing! It only took a few catfish to realize he was hooked. 😉
Until this point in his life, most of Rich’s work experience was in construction. However, now that he was gravitating more towards the salt life he realized that working on the water was a much better fit. With his hard work ethics, he wasted no time earning a job at Snook Bight Marina. It was at this point where he met his wife, April. Soon enough, news spread of his high reputation and he landed a new position at Salty Sam’s Marina as the Dock Master.
Although April had been raised countries apart from her husband, there were some parallels in her own life. She started working as a young teen, and by the age of 16 she held three jobs while some how managing to maintain good grades in high school. She was a Part Time Administrative Assistant in 2 offices, as well as an Assistant Manager at Dairy Queen. In the same year that she graduated high school she also earned her certification for Medical Administration, specializing in Medical Transcription.
After spending 5 years working in real estate, April decided to change her scenery and move into the medical field. She spent a year in Texas, working for the medical department on the Fort Hood Army base, where she did medical coding and processing for soldiers that were going through deployment. Upon moving back to Fort Myers, she took a job at the Lee Memorial Health Park Hospital as the OB Department Secretary. By the time she met Rich she had become the Front Office Manager for a Hair Transplant center in Fort Myers, where she worked for 3 years.
Both Rich and April were pleased with their endeavors, but they felt there was something still missing. It had always been April’s dream to manage a business, and it had always been Rich’s dream to fish for a living. After giving birth to their daughter, April decided to stay home for a while so she took a position as Editor for an online transcription company. She quickly grew to love the lifestyle of working from home and still having time with her babies. Rich continued to work at the marina to provide for their growing family.
One day, Rich had a captain approach him at the marina who knew how much he loved to fish. The captain suggested that he should consider becoming a captain, himself. The thought of starting our own business seemed ludicrous and impossible, but the moment it entered our minds we just couldn’t shake it. After a lot of thought and prayer, we decided to give it a shot.
We pretty much invested every dime we owned on this insane dream of ours. Our savings went to Rich’s captain school, a smaller boat, and some fishing gear. We pretty much plunged into the idea head first. If we failed at this, we had nothing left. But we put our trust in God and we did it together, so we knew no matter what the outcome was we still had each other.
In the next two years, Capt Rich would run charters on his days off from being Dock Master, but it reached a point where he was often having to turn down trips on days that he had to work. Finally, our biggest break through came when we hired our first captain to run trips for us; Capt Ryan.
He was the best decision we made for our business.
A year later, we brought on our 2nd captain who is equally loved and appreciated; Capt Alex.
By winter 2016, we had Capt Marc join our team for seasonal trips and over that course of time we also added 2 more boats to the fleet.
So here we are now (only 4 1/2 years after we took our first leap of faith), running one of the top-rated fishing charter companies in Southwest Florida. In 2016, Capt Rich was voted the Best Fishing Captain on Fort Myers Beach by the Fort Myers Beach Observer, and in 2017 Luck o’ The Irish Fishing Charters placed 2nd in Gulfshore Life Magazine as the Best Fishing Charter in Southwest Florida (First place went to a deep sea fishing business).
We still have a lot of room to grow and we haven’t stopped making “Growth” our ultimate goal, but when we look back on how far we’ve already come it is refreshing to see that hard work really does pay off. We didn’t give up on our dream or each other, and that is the key. There have been many blind decisions, moments that we’ve wanted to rip our hair out, and other moments that we wanted to rip EACH OTHER’S hair out! But every challenge that we have gotten through has only made us stronger, together and in our business.
We consider our captains to be like family to us. We wouldn’t be where we are today without them, and we cherish their hard work and input to help us grow. We consider this a family business, which means our children are also closely involved in it. They help us pass out flyers, file and copy paperwork in the office, model for photos, and we hope that some day they might even join the team as captains of their own! They will always be our greatest accomplishments in life (even though our job is far from being done).
So the next time you step on board one of our boats and are greeted by one of our 4 captains, please remember the history behind our business and how much we value you as our customer. There is nothing we desire more than to run a successful business where people want to keep coming back to us, and where they feel like a part of the family. We always enjoy hearing from our customers, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to us today!
Best of LUCK from all of us at Luck o’ The Irish Fishing Charters!