Editor’s note: This month’s Business Beacon is a spotlight on Point Washington Guide Services, a business that offers guided fishing trips in Choctawhatchee Bay. We chatted with owner Clayton Morgan about his sixth-generation experience on the waterways along the Emerald Coast.
Do you have a business you think we should feature? Leave a comment below!
1. How did you get the idea or concept for your business?
CM: I was born and raised fishing on the Choctawhatchee Bay. I’m a sixth-generation local to South Walton and love to spend time on the water just like my dad, grandpa and great-grandpa. Growing up, my grandpa was the local alligator trapper for Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission. I loved hearing him and my dad tell stories about trapping gators and other animals around the area. I knew early on that I wanted a career that involved the outdoors.
2. Let’s discuss numbers: What year did you open? How many locations do you have? How many people do you employ?
CM: I started chartering in 2018.
3. What do you sell or what service do you provide? What’s your best seller?
CM: I offer inshore fishing charters on a 22-ft. Pathfinder boat. I’ve also done sightseeing trips and even a real estate showing by boat!
4. What’s unique about what you do or offer?
CM: As a true South Walton local, I know all the best fishing spots from Sandestin to Panama City Beach.
5. How would you describe your business to a potential customer?
CM: I offer 2-, 4- and 6-hour inshore charters for up to six people. We can fish for redfish, black drum, speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, jack crevalle, sharks and — if we’re lucky — we may see a tarpon. I have a 22-ft. Pathfinder boat and all the best gear to help get you on that big bite. We can use live or artificial bait, whichever you’re more comfortable with.
6. What do you love most about your line of work?
CM: I love introducing kids to the sport of fishing. There’s nothing more rewarding as a charter captain or avid outdoorsman than seeing a child catch their first fish.
7. What sorts of trends are you seeing in your industry?
CM: We’ve been seeing inshore trips become more popular every year. It’s a great alternative for families that don’t want to take their little ones to the gulf. We also stay pretty close to shore so you shouldn’t have to worry about getting seasick.
8. Tell me in just a sentence or two what you feel sets you apart from your competitors.
CM: With a name like Captain Morgan, I can guarantee that we’ll have a good time.
9. Who or what inspires you? This could be a family member or celebrity, a particular quote or even a book/movie/podcast. This sky’s the limit!
CM: “Life’s a garden, dig it!” -Joe Dirt
10. What’s the best thing about being a part of the Emerald Coast, personally and/or professionally?
CM: We live in the coolest place! From the sugar white-sand beaches to the crystal clear springs up the Choctawhatchee River, there is truly something for everyone to enjoy.
11. Are you/your business involved in the community in any way? Volunteering or giving back? If so, how?
CM: I like to be as involved with my community as I can be. I’ve donated many charter trips to different organizations helping raise money to benefit local kids.
12. What does a typical day in your business look like? (Pretend it’s Monday (or Friday!) and take me through the highlights of your day.)
CM: I wake up at 3:30 a.m., have a big cup of coffee and head out by 4:45 a.m. I get to the ramp by 5 a.m. and head out to go catch bait for my first trip of the day. I pick up my clients at 6 a.m. and we head out for four hours. We come back to the dock, take photos and clean our catch. I have a quick lunch and head back out to catch bait for my second trip by noon. I pick up the next group of clients at 1 p.m. and we fish until around 5 p.m. We come back to the dock, take photos and I clean the fish for them. Once the clients leave, I clean my boat out, scrub it down and head home. I get home by 630 p.m., just in time to have dinner and spend time with my little girl before getting her ready for bed. I’m asleep by 10 p.m. and wake up to do it all over again.
13. What’s your best “insider tip?” (This could be a community tip for vacationers or homeowners or even a tip for customers related to your business.)
CM: The early bird gets the worm! Or, fish in this case.
14. How do you recharge or relax when the day is done?
CM: When I’m not running charters you can find me spending time with my wife, Amanda, and my little girl, Hadley.
15. Just the deets, please! Where are you located? Business hours? Social media profiles and/or website links we need to know about? (Please feel free to add social media handles or direct links!)
CM: The boat ramp at Point Washington is our home ramp (located at the north end of 395). We also use Pilcher Park (under Hwy 331 bridge) and other ramps depending on weather and bay conditions. We’ll confirm prior to the charter which ramp we’ll be launching from. All ramps are a short ride from 30A and South Walton beaches. My cell is 850.699.2828, my website is fishpointwash.com or follow me on social media: @pointwashingtonguideservices on FB or @fishpointwash on IG.
16. One final question: If there was just one thing you wish the public knew about your business, what would it be?
CM: Fishing isn’t always catching fish, but when you’re out on the water with friends or family, you’ll go home with memories that will last a lifetime.