Captain Experiences Provides Customizable Fishing Trips in Austin and Around the World
Founders Jonathan Newar and Attison Barnes organize extraordinary experiences for all levels of fishermen and women
By Britni Rachal
Photos by Brian Fitzsimmons
A massive six-foot cobalt blue fish with a spear-like spout and a pronounced dorsal fin, a marlin averages around 400 pounds and swims 50 miles per hour. It is extremely hard to catch, making it a self-described “bucket list dream come true” for Austin resident Drew Cable, who recently reeled in her first marlin off the coast of Cabo.
“When the Marlin hooked and I saw that thing jump on, I thought — this is actually happening. My mom was there, and she said, ‘Think of your spin classes,’ but this is nothing like a spin class,” laughs Cable. “It was the hardest and most rewarding fishing of my life.”
It took 45 intense minutes to bring the majestic and highly sought-after fish onto the boat — excitedly snap a photo — and then safely release it back into the Pacific Ocean while watching it swim away. Because it was such a specific goal, Cable says her fishing milestone wouldn’t have been possible without Austin-based Captain Experiences, a service for booking fishing adventures globally.
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Jonathan Newar and Attison Barnes founded Captain Experiences in March 2020, building a network of 800 fishing guides around the world — and counting. Relationship-focused and reliable, Captain Experiences sets itself apart by only working with fishing guides that they’ve spoken with, met or tried on their own.
Africa is a most recent addition to the lineup, inspired by a two-week trip Newar and Barnes took, where they caught tiger fish, a predatory freshwater fish with 32 razor-sharp teeth that are like a great white shark.
Fishing excursions both near and far are made easy with Captain. Filter what you are looking for by location, group, target, species and price. Then, Captain helps to navigate options, bringing connections and high-quality bookings. To date, they’ve booked over 1,000 trips within just two years of being open.
“Once you’ve booked, just show up. All you need is sunscreen and to bring your phone,” says Newar. “Our guides provide rods, reels, tackle, bait. Even after the trip, they’ll clean the fish for you. They have coolers on board so you can bring some drinks and snacks.”
Popular adventures in Austin include catch and release activities on Town Lake, which is full of 20-pound bass and carp. Other location options are along the Guadalupe, which is filled with rainbow trout, or on Decker Lake. Trips to the Texas coast — Galveston, Port Aransas and South Padre — are also high in demand for saltwater fishing.
“Here in Texas, if I had to pick a favorite, it would be some of our overnight Tuna fishing trips,” says Newar. “You spend the night on these boats. They are air-conditioned and have beds. It’s comfortable, and you are fishing the entire time, so it’s nonstop action.”
Cable has been on more than five fishing trips booked through Captain. Ethical and responsible fishing is pretty much guaranteed, which is a bonus that keeps her coming back. “I’ve been on non-Captain trips where the guides are trying to skirt the rules,” says Cable. “But we are out here to be good sportsmen. You want to make sure that you are bringing a fish in properly and that you are not hurting it. You want to let it run when it needs to run and reeling it when you should.”
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Knowledge across the board is important. Truly a concierge turn-key service, if you are interested in a trip or geographic area that’s not currently part of Captain’s network, their team and crew will research and find the right fit for you. In Cable’s case, they were able to find the right group — that was able to guide her to an area higher in Marlin activity the day they set sail.
“The Marlin is one of those things I never thought I would actually get to do,” says Cable. “But I knew if I had the opportunity it was going to be through Captain.”
“It was worth every second and every drop of sweat,” says Cable. “Just to have a few moments with this amazing creature.
Captain Experiences is also great for someone wanting to try fishing for the first time. Rather than buying fishing gear; they can set you up with a guide who provides all the supplies and instruction for a beginner.