Although everyone tends to have different ideas of what they are looking for on a fishing charter, the idea is to catch fish. The longer the duration of the trip, the better the chance of doing exactly that. This is due to a number of factors:
1. The longer you are out on the water the more chance you have of catching fish. (Not rocket science). But more importantly, fish tend to feed mainly just once a day. There are many theories about how to determine when that is (fish don’t go by the time of day that’s for sure). Some state its to do with the tides, other the wind, some the intensity of light, and others the temperature, swell, moon, wind, etc etc. You get the idea. All we can say for certain is that the more of the day you cover out there the higher the likelihood is that you will be fishing when the fish start biting.
2. Here on the Sunshine Coast, the closer-in waters tend to have small areas of protection for fish. That means that small fish can easily take shelter, but larger fish are left more exposed to predators. As such you tend to catch smaller fish in close compared to further out where the reefs become more substantial. To catch a larger fish in close you are actually trying to catch the predatory fish. This is why we state the 5 hour trips are not a “true” deep sea fish experience.
3. Once you get past 7 Nautical Miles and up to 15 Nautical Miles, the reef structures become larger and are able to offer protection to much larger (and more) fish. This tends to be where our 7 hour charters head out to. Unfortunately this is also where the vast majority of the private fishing boats are able to get to for their fishing. As such although you have a lot more fish and better size fish, you also have a massive amount of competition to deal with. After any period of pleasant weather these areas can also quickly become depleted of fish because of the massive number of boats fishing in these locations.
4. 25 Nautical Miles and more is where we hope to be able to head to on the 9 Hour – and longer – trips. Obviously everything is heavily weather dependant and sometimes as you head out, conditions dictate that you may need to stay in closer or head in another direction altogether. Weather forecasts are just that, forecasts, not actuals and BOM often misses the mark on accuracy. These more distant reefs tend to be too far for most of the smaller recreational fleet, and the reef structures are approximately 4 times the size of the closer in areas. Most of this area is known as the Barwon Banks reef system, which sits very close to the edge of the Australian continental shelf. Very large fish will come from the much deeper waters past that edge to feed at the banks, and the reef system itself supports a massive variety of fish. There are other lesser known fishing spots here as well that we will visit from time to time as well. The size of the area, allows us to ensure we do not frequent the same area again and again, ensuring fish stocks are able to replenish themselves easily.
5. It simply takes time to find a good spot, regardless of the number of locations we have marked, that will fish well on a given day. Shorter trips often just do not allow for enough time to find this.
All of this aside, you should always look to book a charter within your own capabilities (and budget). Heading out for 18 hours with highly experienced fishermen might not be as much fun as you would like it to be once they have hauled in more and bigger fish that you. Experience really does make a massive difference in your success rate!