by Mallory Gruben
When it comes to office views, the captains and crew at Garibaldi Charters has most competitors beat.
The fishing charter company staff spends most days out on the water guiding customers in hooking bottom fish, salmon, halibut and lingcod. It’s not uncommon for a bird to land on deck to rest for a bit, or for a dolphin to follow along in the charter boat’s wake.
“Every day that you’re out there on the water, you see things that people get to see once in a lifetime,” said co-owner Tamara Mautner. “We get to see this stuff every day.
Garibaldi Charters celebrates its 20th anniversary as a Tillamook Chamber of Commerce member this year. The family-owned business has spent just as many years mingling with ocean wildlife and getting customers hooked on fishing.
“Personally, I really do like being out on the water. … But I also really enjoy getting people out there for their first time and seeing them really light up. Maybe they’ll become a lifelong fisherman,” Mautner said.
Mautner has owned Garibaldi Charters with her husband for the last 8 years. Before that, the company belonged to her parents.
The business operates three charter fishing boats and one guide boat. The charters primarily focus on bottom fishing, but Mautner and her staff also offer trips for halibut, tuna, salmon and occasionally crab.
“It’s a great way to get out on the water if you don’t own your own boat,” Mautner said. “Maybe you want to just try it out, but you don’t want to go through the hassle of buying the boat, maintaining the boat, paying for gas, taking the boat to the launch, launching the boat, paying to launch the boat and finding where the good spots are. We can do that for you.”
Garibaldi Charters also offers whale watching trips in the spring.
Most of Mautner’s customers come from out of town, and during the summer the charter trips are “nonstop visitors,” she said. Many of those visitors learn about the charter company through brochures at the Chamber offices, or in the official Tillamook Coast Visitor Guide co-produced by the Chamber.
“I feel like it’s important to be a part of the Chamber because they are really in tune with the community,” Mautner said. “I really like getting their email updates, especially over the last year keeping up posted on what’s going on with COVID and regulations and restrictions and what to expect and what’s going forward.”
The charter company happily caters to locals who don’t own boats or have a large enough vessel for deep water fishing. Offshore lingcod fishing trips tend to be a favorite in the Tillamook area.
“We have larger boats and can do some of the trips that maybe they can’t do in their own 25-foot boat,” Mautner said.
Like any charter fishing company, Garibaldi Charters operates at the mercy of the weather and fish stocks. Mautner said the business works closely with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to make sure it stays within harvest guidelines for each species of fish.
“We are not just out there raking in all of the fish. We want to make sure this continues to be sustainable,” Mautner said. “I think some people have the perception that fishermen just want to go out there and catch all the fish, but this is our livelihood. We definitely want to make sure we are doing it in a way that we will still be able to do in 20, 30 or 50 years from now.”