Commonly Asked Questions

WHEN & HOW DO I PAY? 

To Secure your booking we require a minimum of 20% as a deposit.

You can do this via a credit (or Debit) Card, by phone or our online booking system. Conditions and time frames for payments other that credit card are applicable and can be found in our Terms & Conditions.

If you don’t have a Credit or Debit card we can provide you our account details and you can deposit the funds directly into our account. We will provide you with a reference number to ensure we are able to match the payment with your booking. These funds are required a minimum of 21 days prior to the departure date. This because of the time it can take to clear funds, the delay between booking and payment (which unfortunately regularly leads to non payment) and our need to be able to be confident we have the numbers to assist of passengers on such charters.

The balance is payable prior to boarding for individuals or small groups of up to a maximum of 3 people. This balance can be paid in cash, credit card or Eftpos.

Groups of 4 or more MUST pay the balance 7, 14 or 21 days  before the actual departure date. The time frames depend on the size of the group and are clearly outlined in our Terms & Conditions. The reasons for the different time frames are purely to allow us enough time to find other passengers to replace your spots on the vessel. The more people that need to be replaced the longer time is required to cover that.

We accept Bartercard as a form of payment.  Terms and conditions apply.  Please contact the office.

 

HOW CAN I BE SURE WE WILL BE ACTUALLY HEADING OUT?

All charters are subject to 2 things.

Weather Conditions & Passenger Numbers.

WEATHER: Obviously nobody wants to head out deep-sea fishing if the weather conditions are not suitable. We would all love to be able to predict the weather well ahead of time, but reality dictates that we have to wait until 12 hours before departure to be anywhere near confident of the forecasts (and even than on the odd occasion the BOM will still get it wrong!). Rain is not a reason for cancelation. There are 2 key factors we need to consider. Wind and swell. Depending on how these 2 factors are impacting will determine if we are able to head out or not.

PASSENGER NUMBERS: As anyone can imagine, we do need a certain number of passengers to make it viable for us to head out on a given day. Normally this is around the 10 paying passengers in our case. exact number can be found in our Terms & Conditions. We do at times head out with slightly less, but this all hinges on the conditions, trip type and other cost factors in play at the time.

In the event of your charter being cancelled prior to departure, you can either choose to go on an alternative future date, exchange the amount for a gift voucher, or request the amount paid to be refunded should either of the other 2 options not be suitable/possible.

 

HOW CAN I BE SURE MY BOOKING IS LOCKED IN?

We have a very strict procedure that is followed with every booking, regardless of how is is generated – By agent, online, phone or in person.

1. We create a customer record for each actual booking (not for enquiries). This will have your contact details including email address, as well as method of payment etc noted on it.

2. You will always receive a confirmation email from us which will give you the full details of the trip you have booked including departure time, date, directions, amounts paid / due and other relevant information relating to your charter.

3. We will always contact you the evening (usually between 4PM and 6PM) prior to the trip to advise that the charter is indeed proceeding, or that the trip needs to be rescheduled. This is why we always request a contact phone number (ideally a mobile) to ensure we can indeed contact you. If we cannot reach you at that time we will leave a voice message and send an SMS to the mobile phone number you have provided requesting you call us back.

 

I’VE BEEN ASKED TO ARRANGE A GROUP BOOKING. CAN I GET EVERYONE TO PAY ON THE DAY?

Absolutely not. A group booking requires a single contact person to takes full responsibility of that booking. That includes all financial aspects as clearly outlined in our Terms & Conditions under Group Booking Specific terms and conditions.

We do not allow groups to pay individually or outside of our group terms and conditions to avoid possible negative impacts on the viability of the charter in question and the on flowing effects this would likely have on other passengers.

We do understand that this places a large amount of responsibility on the person taking on such a role. As such, for organisers of groups of 7 or more, we offer a free Penn Rod and Reel as a reward for the effort and responsibility taken on by that person. Groups discounts also apply to ensure further incentive for the group organiser to be able to secure the funds more easily from the persons in their group in advance.

If your group insists on paying individually the booking WILL NOT be considered a group booking, and each person would be considered a separate individual. As such we cannot hold spaces for such individuals and this may in turn mean that those slow to contact us might find the charter has received other bookings which make their booking impossible.

 

I’VE NEVER BEEN FISHING BEFORE, IS THAT A PROBLEM?

Absolutely not. Our crew are more than happy and able to give you all the help and hints you need to achieve an excellent fishing technique, Our skippers and deckhands might even hand you a rod that they have hooked a big fish on themselves! First timers are made to feel just as welcome as regulars.

 

AM I GUARANTEED TO CATCH FISH WHEN I HEAD OUT?

Unfortunately we cannot make any such guarantee. Although it is not common, for anyone, to not catch any fish at all, it can happen. We will do everything we possibly can to give you the best possible chance to catch fish, but in the end fishing is not only an often fickle endeavour, but also relies much on the person doing the fishing itself. It is our job to take you out to, and to put you “over the fish”. We do so in comfort, safety and a fun filled enjoyable atmosphere. From there the remainder is up to you to hook the fish and ensure you land it. Our crew will often hook fish and hand over the rod to the less fortunate people onboard. Even then it is not totally uncommon for the fish to escape before being hauled aboard. There is definitely a considerable level of skill and experience in fishing that is directly apportion-able to fishing success.

Please understand, you are booking a charter to head out to fishing locations and use the vessel and fishing tackle to ATTEMPT to catch fish. You are NOT booking a charter to be supplied with fish (or crabs for that matter). As such it should be clear NO REFUNDS of any form are applicable should you not be successful in catching any fish. There is definitely a large amount of skill involved in fishing. We recommend you simply try again as practice makes perfect.

 

CAN I KEEP ALL THE FISH THAT I CATCH?

Yes and No. As long as the fish is of legal size and within the normal “bag limits” set by the regulators, you can choose to either keep or share your fish. We will tag each fish accordingly. Of course if you prefer you can release your fish.

All fish that are kept are “Gutted & gilled” by our crew and placed on ice. We also bag your fish at the end of the day for you to take home to cook and eat.

 

WILL YOU FILLET THE FISH FOR ME?

No, sorry but we are simply both not allowed to – whilst out at sea – nor will we have the time to do so once back at the dock. Any fish caught on our trolling or other specialty rigs are considered “Shared fish” and these will be cut up or filleted by the crew when back at the dock to enable sharing between all passengers.

 

WHAT IS ACTUALLY INCLUDED IN A CHARTER?

When you book a charter with Fish n Crab Deep Sea Charters, we supply all bait, quality fishing rods and reels, all tackle, Soft drink, Water, Snacks and full assistance from our expert crew. A fresh lunch is also included on all 9 and 11 hour charters. Evening charters, some winter charters, have a BBQ lunch or dinner included, and overnight charters have a hot Breakfast as well. You can of course BYO food on any trip, or we can arrange catering for you at a small additional charge. (Superstitions have it as a general rule to not bring bananas!)

 

WHAT SORT OF FISHING GEAR DO YOU SUPPLY ON BOARD?

We work closely with Okuma and Penn in Particular. We also work with Finn Nor. These are the brands of reels we carry. Okuma is now the only overhead reel we use on board. Extremely high end high quality reels with up to 50lb drag! For spin reels we use Penn and Finn Nor. Both brands have high end reels with 25 to 30lbs drag designed for deep sea fishing conditions.

 

CAN I BRING MY OWN FISHING ROD AND REEL ON BOARD?

By all means! As much as we prefer you to use our gear you can bring your own. However, if the skipper and or crew find that the difference in your gear to ours is creating issues on the day they will ask you to stop using your ear and switch to our to ensure everyone has an enjoyable day. Specialty gear such as snapper winches etc are permitted but use will again be at the sole discretion of the skipper on the day. Its all about having everyone aboard enjoying themselves.

 

DO YOU PROVIDE DRINKS?

Yes, we provide soft drink and water. As we are not licensed you can BYO alcohol. Our only request in that any such drinks be in the form of cans to avoid possible glass breakage and minimise the weight of the rubbish created. If you are bringing alcoholic drinks (or food for that matter) we also highly recommend you bring them in a COOLER BAG and not an esky. We have a massive amount of Esky space available for you to use for your drinks and personal supplies. Cooler bags take up minimal space in them and still allow you to determine which are yours (and which are not…). Bringing additional esky’s simply takes up valuable deck space which is much better left for passengers, and which in turn allows everyone to be able to fish in comfort.

 

HOW FAR OUT TO SEA DO YOU GO?

Up to 30 nautical miles but this does depend on the type of charter you are booked on. 5 Hour Charters rarely go more than 7 nautical miles from shore, 7 Hour Charters Get to the 15 Nautical Mile mark, and a 9 Hour Charter seldom passes the 25 Nautical Mile area. It depends on the weather, the time of year and what’s actually happening on the day of your charter.

 

WHY DO YOU SAY THAT THE LONGER TRIPS ARE BETTER FOR FISHING?

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 duration trips give you a much better 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 eating.

2. Here on the Sunshine Coast, the close in waters tend to have small areas of protection. 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 is 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 head to on the 9 and 11 Hour trips. This is too far for most of the smaller recreational fleet, and the reef structure is 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.

 

WHERE DO WE BOARD?

Fish n Crab Deep Sea Charters depart from the Wharf complex at Mooloolaba.

The Wharf is located next to Underwater World on the corner of Parkyn Parade and River Esplanade, Mooloolaba.

To get there take the Mooloolaba exit from the Bruce Highway, and simply follow the directions to Underwater World.

 

WHAT ABOUT PARKING?

There is plenty of free parking in front of the Wharf, as well as undercover parking at the rear of Underwater World.

 

DO WE HEAD OUT IN BAD WEATHER?

We recommend that you book your trip as early as possible in your holidays in Mooloolaba. This so that we can reschedule in case of unsafe weather, (ie strong wind or and high seas). We don’t cancel or reschedule for rain. We recommend you bring a raincoat. Even though the deck is fully covered the sides need to be open to enable fishing. We follow and receive ongoing and numerous weather reports daily.

We will always contact you the evening (usually between 4PM and 6PM) prior to the trip to advise that the charter is indeed proceeding, or that the trip needs to be rescheduled. This is why we always request a contact phone number (ideally a mobile) to ensure we can indeed contact you.

Of course if unexpected weather hits during the charter it is completely out of our control. Usually with the size and style of our vessel we can ride these conditions out without too much disruption to the trip. However, should the conditions be deemed dangerous by the skipper, he will cut the charter short and return to the harbour to ensure the safety of passengers and vessel. In such, rare, circumstances we will look at what has happened, how long the vessel was actually out at sea, the costs incurred etc to then determine if and what we can do to assist passengers that have had the misfortune of being aboard during such a trip. Because we monitor the weather so closely this is a rare occurrence indeed but marine conditions are by their very nature at times unpredictable at best, even by the experts. This is a risk inherent with all outdoor activities.

 

WHAT ARE THE MINIMUM PASSENGER NUMBERS REQUIRED?

On average we require a minimum of 10 paying customers to head out. We can of course also build the group. As such single bookings as well as twos, threes etc. are no problem. Exact numbers for each length of trip are as follows:

5Hr – 8 passengers      7Hr – 9 Passengers     9-Hr – 10 passengers       11Hr – 12 passengers    Overnight 18Hr – 12 passengers (also the max number).

 

WHAT SPECIES WILL WE BE TARGETING?

It depends on the time of year, our most common targets include
Snapper, Cobia, Tuna, Mackerel, Dolphin fish (Mahi-Mahi), Tusk and Parrot fish and many more.

 

WHAT FISHING METHODS DO YOU USE? 

We use various fishing methods including bottom rigs, float lines, live baiting, trolling, spinning, jigging and more.

 

WHAT TYPE OF CRABS DO YOU CATCH?

We specifically target Spanner Crabs on our charters. We do at times also drop a couple of large pots to try and catch a few sand crab, blue Swimmer or 3 Spot, but this is heavily dependant on the conditions on the day, and the type of charter of the day.

 

AM I GUARANTEED TO GET SOME CRABS?

As with fishing, we cannot guarantee any crabs either. It is extremely rare to not catch any crabs at all, but the weather plays a major role in the success of the crabbing. If the swell is too large crabs will refrain from getting out of the sand. If the sea is too calm we often get hit by the local turtle population. The turtles simply LOVE to eat Spanner Crabs, and a km long line of nets with immobile crabs is too temping for them to resist. From November 20 to December 20 we cannot do any crabbing due to the spawning season of the species. It often takes a couple of additional weeks for the population to move back to their normal habitat after the spawning as well.

 

DO YOU HAVE THE FASTEST BOAT?

There is no simple answer to that as you need to take into account the conditions out at sea. If we are operating in lets say 1.5m of swell, we are certainly the fastest fishing charter vessel! In (the very rare) flat water conditions we are certainly not the fastest. Crusader 1 is a “Semi-Displacement” design. This means that unless we really need to we are not planing across the top of the water (like speed boats) but actually cut through the water (Like a yacht or large ship). We believe this gives us MANY  MANY advantages over the faster planing boats. On every trip we will run up to 6 lures as we head out. Anyone one that knows fishing knows that trolling like this is the best (and often only) way to catch a number of the truly large Pelagic fish such as Wahoo Mackerel, Tuna and more. Trolling speed is normally recommended around the 7 or 8 knots. We run lures that can cope with 11 to 12 knots, which is really the absolute max speed you can be trolling at with anything. It’s an element of fishing that when we hook on is nothing short of fantastic! This is an element of fishing we believe should be part of any charter. It can’t be done at planing speed.

If you have ever been on a planing boat in conditions that are anything over 0.5 of a meter you will no doubt remember it well. And not for the best of reasons. It often means heavy jolting as the boat bounces off the waves, in turn usually creating water splashing all over the boat (and passengers). Sure, it can be fun for a little while but for an hour or more? It’s just not the type of trip we ourselves want to do or to offer any of our customers. We feel that the extra 30 to 40 minutes to the Barwon Banks (pretty much as far as any day charter will go) is well worth the time given the additional benefits of crabbing, trolling and comfort. Will everyone agree? probably not. That’s why there are planing boats operating as well. Just not in our operation.