If you don’t know by now then I’ll just say it straight… The sea and I are not very good friends.
So my dilemma when Greg Livingstone invited me out with Frenzy Charters was pretty obvious. If I decide to go out, will I catch a few reefies for a feed and have some fun with a few good mates or will I spend more time having a close look at what I had for breakfast that day?
The problem solved itself in the days before the charter as the wind miraculously dropped, followed closely by the swell – Poseidon seemed to be looking after me for the first time ever.
If you decide to take out a charter with Frenzy Charters your day will start at the well-appointed Runaway Bay Marina some time close to dawn. From here it’s a quick trip out to the Seaway, where you get the safety run-down for the boat, and then offshore you go.
The day we had with Frenzy was remarkable from the start. The Seaway was flat and you could actually see the surfers paddling across the entrance on the rising tide instead of the usual panic when one appears directly in front of you as he bobs over the top of a swell.
As soon as we punched out of the Seaway we headed to the closest bait ground to snaffle a few yellowtail for livies. After 15 minutes and a couple of drifts we had enough livebaits to last the day and we pulled up the bait jigs, stored the rods and headed out to the 50 Fathom Reef.
It takes about an hour to get to the 50 Fathom Reef and the trip out is a good time to sort out what rigs you’ll be using and how you’ll approach the first few drifts. Luckily, because Frenzy Charters are on the water so often, the skipper and deckie have a pretty good idea of what the currents are doing and where the fish are.
Our first drop seemed to take forever. We were fishing in about 90m of water and it’s along way down, even with the 6oz and 8oz snapper leads we were using. After what seemed like an eternity (to a self-confessed estuary fisher like me) the sinker found the bottom, the reels were engaged and the fishing could start in earnest.
The first drift was more of an exploratory drift to asses the current. We did get a few little pecks, but didn’t land a fish on the first drift. We realised that the current was pushing us along at just under 3 knots, and in 90m of water that’s a lot of current, so we shifted to a different patch of reef and had another look.
This reef had a much slower current flow at about 1.8 knots and the fish were on the chew from the start. With baits of pillies and squid the crew started to haul up some pearl perch and the odd snapper, but we struggled to get into the bragging rights size of fish we were all hoping for.
We made several drifts through this prime territory catching and releasing fish and we slowly accumulated a few fish in the bin – mostly pearlies.
Another move was called for and we found a different patch of reef with fish biting on it. This time we decided that the livebaits should start to earn their keep. Three of the six rods were loaded with livies and sent down to see if the kingies or amberjack were keen to play.
After the first drift with the livies it was apparent the kingies weren’t really on as although two of the three livies came back battle scarred from vicious attacks, they hadn’t been nailed with any finality.
The second drift saw the first serious hook-up of the day as Shayne McKee latched onto something that pulled a little harder than the pearlies we were catching. After a few minutes of cranking, a sleek silver shape was spotted in the clear water and after a few minutes more a small kingie popped to the surface.
The crew was pretty excited to get the kingie and we had another drift. This drift produced a couple more dead livebaits and a few pearlies, but the kingies refused to play properly so we sat down, had a bite to eat and decided to head into the 36 Fathom Reef for a bit of a fish.
As the boat was being positioned for the best drift, the sounder came alive with fishy shows near the bottom and expectations were high.
The expectation was soon met when on the first drop almost every rod in the boat loaded up to snapper and pearlies. The fish weren’t massive by any stretch of the imagination, but the action was fast and it kept everyone on their toes as lines crossed, fished darted left then right and general mayhem ensued. The team from Frenzy were well versed in sorting out these messes and in no time at all everyone was back in the water hooking more fish to create more mayhem.
As the bite tapered off and we drifted a little further away from the productive mark, Shayne McKee again grunted in satisfaction. It was quite a laugh watching Shayne look around waiting for everyone to say “Looks like a good one mate”, but we were all too busy trying out best to ignore him. Well that was until a cracker of a pearl perch hit the surface. This was easily the fish of the day and topped off a great day out on the water with Frenzy Charters.
Back at Runaway Bay we were quite surprised by the number of fish we had accumulated. We didn’t set the world on fire but we all caught enough fish to get a feed or two from the day – and you can’t expect more than that.
All in all, with the weather gods looking after us and a few fish to eat that night, we were all satisfied with our day on the water. A charter with Frenzy is a whole lot easier than doing it yourself if you’re new to the sport or the area, so give them a call and check out what they’re offering. You just might be surprised at the fishing found offshore from the Gold Coast.
|Cost||$160 per angler|
|Anglers||Maximum 8 anglers (6 anglers recommended)|
|Tackle||Supplied or bring your own|
|Phone||(07) 3209 4576|