IN the past month I was very lucky to be invited to go on what I can only call a fishing adventure with the guys from Wilson Fishing.
This took place about 450km northeast of Bundaberg at the Wreck Reefs. Our fishing adventure was made possible by the great crew of Big Cat Reality Fishing Charters, so in this article I will go over what you can expect if you head out on one of these trips.
Believe me, such an adventure is not for the faint hearted and is more for the fisher who thinks he or she may have done everything. The Wreck Reefs are a long way out to sea and the conditions can be quite rough. And once you get there you will be handling big angry fish in small boats without a guide.
However, if you go on one of these trips you definitely won’t be disappointed. The fishing is what I can only describe as unbelievable.
Everything out there is big and angry and pulls extremely hard.
So let’s talk about the mother ship Big Cat Reality. She’s a good boat of about 24m in length, just over 9m wide and fully loaded weighs about 169 tonnes. She cruises out to the reefs at about nine knots and has everything on board to make your trip very comfortable.
One of the things I think is very important is the great crew who will help with all your needs. Anything you ask for is not too much trouble. If the crew members can help you, they will. You are heading a long way out to sea, so it’s great to know you have a very experienced captain who has been in the marine industry for a long time. At no point did we feel like the crew and captain didn’t have everything under control.
Going over the boat, let’s start with the sleeping quarters. Everybody has a bunk and they are quite comfortable. The room is air-conditioned and there’s plenty of room for all your gear. A few different areas on the vessel are great for sitting around, going through all your footage and pictures from the day and just having a chat. There is also loads of room to sit around and watch movies after a big day’s fishing and on the trip out and back.
The licensed bar is perfect for grabbing a drink and on the top deck is a fabulous area where every night you have dinner and check out the photos from the day on a big-screen TV. It’s great for a laugh and recapping the fantastic fish you caught that day.
Down on the back deck is a big area with all the filleting tables and a workbench for storing fishing gear and getting your gear ready for the next day’s big fishing adventure. The galley and fantastic cook Henry will keep you well fed for the whole trip. Henry cooks up a storm, and when you’re out there catching those big fish you need plenty of food to keep your energy up.
When it comes to heading out fishing, Big Cat Reality has five dories that have recently been repowered with 50hp outboards and fitted with new electronics. The 4.3m dories are quite capable and stable little boats to fish from.
If you wish, you can take one vessel of your own as well. I think the charter can accommodate a vessel up to about 6m in length depending on its weight. Big Cat Reality Fishing Charters supplies you with the mother ship, accommodation, food, dories and fuel but not fishing gear. You will need to bring your own rods, reels, lures and everything you need to go fishing.
As I mentioned earlier, you do not have a guide when fishing from the dories.
Big Cat Reality will take you to the individual reef systems, anchor in a protected spot and then you’ll be given a rough guide on the area. Then you and your mate get in the dories and head out to catch some fish.
The Wreck Reefs are not a place where you head out, catch as much as you can and bring it home with you. This is a sportfishing haven where you capture a lot of fish, release most and bring a few back for a feed. The crew will be happy to fillet your fish and Cryovac them for you but it’s not about going out there with the intent of wiping the place clean.
It’s about going out there and enjoying this special place and those big fish. When it comes to necessary tackle, just ask the team prior to your trip and someone will be able to help you. My advice is to take more than you need, so if you do go through a heap of gear you’ve still got plenty of stuff to fish with.
It’s a long way to a tackle shop.
I found it a bit hard to gather information on the Wreck Reefs because it is a rather remote destination, but if you want to check out this area on a chart the one you’re looking for is AUS 611.
In summary, a charter like this provides the trip of a lifetime. I found the whole thing to be one big adventure from start to finish. From the moment you get to Bundaberg it’s just so much fun.
Then you head out, fish the reef and spend time with your mates and journey back, all having such a terrific time. It’s the sort of trip you will remember for a lifetime. I know I definitely will. I have taken memories and photos away from this adventure that I will probably pass on to my grandchildren.
The Wreck Reefs are a very special place. Yes you won’t be the first person to fish there but I don’t think many people get to experience this place. If you think you’ve done it all and you want to try something different, I really recommend you give this a go.
Next month I will have another article detailing my trip along with plenty of pictures of the fish caught. I will also give you a run-down on all the rods, reels, lures and techniques we used out at the Wreck Reefs. For more information, visit bigcatreality.com