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July 2015

WHALE WATCHING SEASON IS BACK!jumping_humpback_whale_1
Yes, It’s said every year, but this really should be the best year ever for Whale Watching!
It’s true that the industry puts out this same message at the start of each and every season, but it is actually true with Humpback Whale numbers rising by about 10% to 12% year on year. Based on those estimates we can expect to see about 20.000+ whales making their way north on the east coast of Australia alone!

All whales are currently still heading north, to give birth and to mate. The majority of whales are still out 20+ nm  on a direct line from Cape Morton to the Southern tip of Fraser Island, so we’ll wait until they are in closer and we have more of a chance to site them quickly and easily. It won’t be that long before we see them return south again, so we should comfortably be able to get to see whales every day for some time yet.

Right now the whales are really only just starting to pass the Sunshine Coast on their Northern Migration path. The Late August onward time is what we call the “southern migration”, when whales begin swimming south again.

We find that this period is (in our opinion at least) the best time for whale watching.  This is often the time whales are, usually, quite curious, even coming right up to the boat to check us out.
Some places call this a “mugging” and it can go on for quite some time as the whales do circle the boat, rise their heads out of the water and do all sorts of interesting things.

Being on a boat like Crusader 1 when you are only a meter off the water yourself you really get to see these magnificent animals up as close as you will ever be able to. With only 20 others on a massive 55 foot boat you will never be jostling for a view! Rail side positions for all passengers is a must as far as we are concerned!

SUNDAY  April 12 at 7:17pm – By Rob Wood:  What a week it has been we had everything from marlin to some of the best reef fish this week. The week started with Brian, our deckie, who having the morning off came fishing with us. Brian loves his micro jigging and has enough jewellery to impress any ladies jewellery collection. On his first drop he hooked a “micro” marlin. Only small but giving a spectacular fight all the way to the boat before the hooks dislodged and regaining its freedom. 

The weather has been up and down this week, literally, and has made for some challenging fishing, but we have landed on some great ground this week and landed some great snapper pearlies and tuskies.
Today was a tough one strong winds for the last couple of days made for precarious conditions but we took the punt to head to the barwon banks and we were rewarded with a great haul of fish. Lots of banana fish around today with red throat and big trevalley.
We are so lucky to have this great old west coaster that just handles the conditions beautifully. Rob Paddy and Jerry have done a fantastic job on doing this boat up making it one of the most comfortable boats I have fished on. As skipper the customers often compliment me on the condition and the ride of this boat and makes for a safe reliable boat for our clients to enjoy.
This couldn’t be more prevalent in the amount of families we have on the boat with kids being able to enjoy what is mostly a tough day on most boats sea sick free.
Today this was evident with the amount of children that fished with us and caught fish. We have great gear set up for ladies and kids alike that they can enjoy fishing in depths of 40 metres plus.
This is truly the only boat to be family friendly on the Sunshine Coast.
I would also like to welcome Troy back our super deckie and proof that ADHD people have a place in the fishing world Joke lol he is a great asset to our boat and rips around the deck making sure everybody is fishing and having a great time.
My job is one of the best jobs I could ever hope for meeting families from all over the world.
This winter we will be doing night charters targeting snapper. There will be some great fishing nights ahead so make sure you book ASAP to confirm a spot on our charter.
Hope to see you soon on Crusader 1 !

 

SUNDAY May 18 – By Jerry:  We have had Crusader 1 out on the slip this last week. Standard annual maintenance, but as always we want to make sure that if our girl leaves the water, she goes back in substantially upgraded. This lift was mainly about “pulling the shaft”. Something every vessel in survey has to do every 4 years. The shaft then has to be inspected by an approved maine surveyor before it can be re-installed. We took this time to replace all bearings the shaft runs in (3 of them on Crusader 1) as well as a new PPS seal. An expensive exercise but one that should see us operating both safely and smoothly for the next 4 years without issue! Of course we had to re-align the engine to the shaft (a major effort with an engine the size of ours!) to make sure we have everything in the best order possible.

We have also, finally, changed the gear and throttle system to fully electronic. When we purchased Crusader 1, she had been re-fitted with a new engine. An electronic version of the original power unit. Unfortunately the controls were left as the old Morse cable system. No doubt due to the very high cost of going fully electronic. This made operating Crusader 1 a true skill at times. The delays in the transfer from the many cables to an electronic signal were never precise, and had substantial delays in taking effect. And operating the throttles actually required considerable strength due to the requirement to move up to 4 cables at once via the throttle lever! All in all not the most enjoyable manner of driving a vessel. The new electronic system does away with all of these issues. It still needs a little fine-tuning (scheduled for this Monday) but the difference is already remarkable!

Installation required a few small upgrades to our deck fitting as well, as this has been taken a lot further by us. We removed the entire railing on the deck as well as the vertical rod holders and have fully repaired the finish of the top of the Gunwales. It now matches the inside finish we did about 6 months ago. This is a task we have been wanting to do for some time. Our regulars will immediately notice the difference! Another step towards the ultimate charter experience!

This is by no means the only work done! We are in the process of commencing true overnight charters! To properly enable this we felt the sleeping accommodation needed to be upgraded to a level equal to our own expectations (and they are high!). New berth custom mattresses for the forward accommodation have been made, as well as new cushions for the cabin dining section (which converts to a double bed). The finish in the forward accommodation is also being updated. Not finished yet (hopefully by Monday evening all going well) we want this to be an area so appealing anyone would like to have a sleep!

To further ensure great night fishing we have installed underwater blue “Squid lighting”! Just the back quarter of the boat at this point (that 7 of these special lights already) and if we find it worthwhile we will fit more in future to to the entire deck area. TO complement this we will also be installed “low-down” blue deck lights as soon as we can. All to ensure the best possible night fishing experience possible!

The deck is also being re-finished. We are not sure yet if we will return the tiles we installed about a year ago on top of the new finish. They work great, but cleaning is a major effort after each charter. If feedback is that the tiles are still the best solution for our customers they will be put back!

We really hope you, our customers, like and appreciate the upgrades we are making, and would very much like to have your feedback on them. Let us know

MONDAY April 7 – By Jerry:  Another STUNNING weekend has passed here on the beautiful Sunshine Coast! This was the weather this coast has been named after! And it really doesn’t get any better anywhere in the world when it’s gets like this!

Saturday we were out on another “Mega (11Hr) Day”. That is the furthest reaches of the Barwon Banks. Areas that if is difficult to include on a normal full day due to the distance you need to travel to get there. We had a full boat of keen first-time fishermen, who struggled a little to make the best of the conditions! Still an awesome haul with amongst others, Amberjack, Tuskies, Red Throats on offer! The fish of the day was without doubt a great Mahi Mahi though!

Sunday we had a very “non-standard” 7Hr charter. Basically an evening charter as we headed out at 1.30PM and were not planning on being back until 8.30PM. Clearly aimed at some dusk and early evening fishing! Great for Snapper which we are really beginning to see came back on the bite now! Unfortunately a small storm cell hit just on dusk forcing us to head back in about an hour early. Luckily we already had a few great fish on board and the sudden wild weather added to the overall excitement! The best fish on this trip was a massive 20kg Cod that was shared between the group once we were back in port.

MONDAY Mar 24 – By Jerry:  10 Spanish Mackerel in 1 trip can only mean we finally had some half decent weather on a weekend! Woohoo! There was still a reasonable size swell but the fact that, particularly on Sunday, the wind dropped away, meant we had quite pleasant ocean conditions both days. The pick of the days was definitely Sunday. I think we have all gotten to the stage of wondering if we would ever see good weather on a weekend again! That sentiment (I am presuming) resulted in half full boats on all trips during the weekend, which is really unusual. It certainly makes for much better fishing for those that were astute enough to book a charter. Saturday morning was ok. Conditions wise it wasn’t the greatest as we had quite a tide running, but we came back with a reasonable haul of fish for a 5hr charter (I really don’t consider 5hr trips a true fishing charter). The Saturday afternoon 7hr charter was a little slower fish waise, but the conditions were a little better. Those that knew how to fish were able to make the best of the conditions, and the rest (who seemed a little more interested in enjoying themselves just being out on the water, said they had a great time. In the end that’s what it’s all about. Then Sunday’s 9hr charter. I tell everyone that calls that summer and autumn time is deep deep sea fishing time. That means 9 or even 11 hr charters to get to where the fish are this time of year. Well It was proved correct as we hit a great patch as soon as we got to the Banks, with almost everyone aboard pulling in a Spanish for themselves! They don’t happen often but when they do days like that are to be treasured! Once that was past the reef fishing was a lot slower that the frenetic pace of the start (of course) but we had a nice selection including Red Throats, Snapper, Tuskies, Hussar, Fusselier and Coral Perch. Given the radio feedback everyone was having a mush harder time than us, which obviously made our crew pretty proud! But, luckily for those brave enough to stay out late nito the afternoon, the tide changed and it seems the afternoon fishing became another frenetic session. That’s the way it goes. Sometimes the morning fishing is better, sometimes the afternoon sessions are. I know that no one aboard Crusader 1 was complaining though! Sunday was just awesome!

SUNDAY FEB 16:  It almost seems as if the weather knows when the weekends are sending high winds and swell our way just for the Saturday and Sunday! I know it’s silly to think that but for it to blow up to 30knots from Midnight Friday, all through Saturday and Sunday and to have the forecast for it to drop off again on Sunday midnight is just frustrating. Weekends are when most of our customers are able to head out. We had to cancel 3 charters this weekend effectively disappointing a lot of keen anglers. And when I look at the forecast for next weekend….

Seabreeze weather forecast snap

 

 

 

 

Yep, that massive peak is next Saturday! It’s a long way away in forecasting terms so let’s hope they have it totally wrong (which is more often than not the case that far out) and that we will be able to head out for the awesome fishing that we have had of late! Talking about awesome fishing here on the Sunshine Coast. A little while ago we had a gent out that has been travelling the world trying all sorts of different experiences. With hundreds of thousands of followers on Facebook, Twitter, Intagram and other social media, he also writes a blog about his adventures that is followed by most of his social media followers as well. Have a read as to what he had to say about his charter with Fish n Crab Deep sea Charters. Just click this link to go there:

http://stophavingaboringlife.com/deep-sea-fishing-off-the-sunshine-coast-of-australia/

MONDAY FEB 1:  The high winds and swell are continuing to persist. That is not totally unusual for this time of year, but the length of this particular period is becoming much longer than the average. We were very lucky that we had 16 very seasoned and hardy customers that were not only extremely keen to head out yesterday, but fully confident that they knew what to expect conditions wise and were able to cope with those conditions. I must admit I had substantial reservations about proceeding. We have learnt from experience that we are “damned if we do and damned if we don’t” when it comes to heading out in poor weather. Sunday was certainly always going to be the best of the conditions, but those conditions still saw 2m swell (with 3m sets) and 10 to 15knots of wind (with 20knots in the early part of the morning). Nothing dangerous, and nothing our vessel can’t comfortably deal with, but not conditions that make for a comfortable trip for people themselves of course. I was however persuaded by the people wanting to head out that they would be fine on this occasion. And I must say the feedback has been that they did indeed cope rather well and came back with a nice assortment of fish including a few very nice Red Throats! I quite enjoyed being proved wrong this time!

MONDAY JAN 27:  It has been a mixed bag of luck this Australia Day long weekend. Friday and Saturday we were able to head out in rather pleasant conditions. The 9hr trip on Saturday in particular proved a huge success with a massive amount of fish – including Tuna, Mahi-Mahi, Wahoo as well as the normal assortment of reef fish – caught. We are still getting a lot of sharks hitting our fish as we bring them in. It makes for a exciting catch from an anglers perspective as it becomes a massive fight of course. But sharks are not the fish we are after and once we know that that is what is hooked it is often difficult to explain to the customer that we need to cut the line when it is close to the boat. As always the shorter trips like the 5hr trip on Friday are a lot tougher from a fishing perspective. Summer fishing is predominately out wide on the Barwon Banks. In close there is just very little action in general. It’s still a lovely day out on the water and the Spanner crabs have moved back in a bit closer as well now making the trip well worthwhile from that perspective. Sunday’s and today’s charters have unfortunately had to be cancelled. Yesterday winds hit 50 knots in our main fishing areas! Slightly less today but it is still averaging 30knots with gusts of up to 40knots! Far to dangerous to even consider heading out! Such a pity with the fishing on the full day trips now really hitting it’s straps!

SATURDAY JAN 25:  Rob joined us on our Charter on Saturday as part of his trip along the Queensland Coast.  Check out his blog:  – Stop Having A Boring Life

TUESDAY JAN 21:  We’ve had a good run with the weather considering this is the worst month for inconsistent weather.  This wind is picking up again and we are hoping it will settle for the Australia Day long weekend.  Saturday & Sunday are booked out but we still have a few spots available for our Monday charter if anyone is interested.

SUNDAY DEC 1: Overall November was a rather fantastic month here on the Sunshine Coast. Fishing wise we certainly had some tough times. But as always once the whales season had finished we saw the fish (slowly) return to their normal locations. More importantly they began to feed again as well. The last 2 weeks of November in particular were back to more of a normal situation. Good shows of fish on the sounder as well as a number of good results brought aboard. Trolling has started to show results as well. One of our brand new (extra heavy ) lures was hit by something very big last on the 2nd last weekend. It took 600m of line against 50lbs of drag without much of an issue. Them once we ran out of line it snapped the reel knot and took off. The lure was obviously working. Maybe a bit too well!

There are still a lot of sharks left about in the fishing areas. No doubt still a remnant of the whale season. We are losing a number of good fish to them as they are being reeled in. Ah the joys of deep sea fishing!

The last weekend of November was unfortunately a total disaster weather wise. Extreme winds and some impressive swell. The Mooloolaba Buoy showed some 6m waves coming through! WOW! Certainly nothing we can head out into (or any charter for that matter really). We tried a short 5 hour on the Saturday morning as BOM was indicating an 8 hour gap in the weather before the really heavy stuff would set in. The wind and swell were ok, but the amount of rain really made for unpleasant conditions for all concerned. The forecast  gap in the weather never really eventuated and the results were not great. BOM really has been well off the mark again for the Sunshine Coast waters the last few weeks. Let’s hope they improve their forecasting for December and January!

MONDAY SEPT 22: Another pleasant weekend has passed! We did have a very mixed bag this weekend both weather-wise and fishing-wise. Thursday and Friday saw everyone aboard enjoying the sort of weather conditions the Sunshine Coast in famous for. Sunny, warm, little wind and smooth waters. Of course these conditions don’t always (actually seldom) make for great fishing. Add in heaps of whales and dolphins (and turtles!) and you can start to see the likely impact. Everyone still had a great time out and we all know that if fishing was too easy, we would all get bored pretty quickly with it. Then Saturday comes along. Weather forecasts had the wind increasing to 20 knots, and seas growing to the 1.5m mark. Borderline for most but not enough to cancel for with our boat. Reality was rather different from the forecast however. The winds were a strong 25knots most of the time and seas were easily 2m and more. Amazingly however the hardy group of passengers aboard seemed to fare much better then most groups would, and they were clearly determined to make the most of the day. Their persistence was rewarded with some excellent fish caught on the day. The really notable one were mix of large Amberjack (2 huge ones), Snapper ($ that were over the 10kg mark and another 3 juvenile), Cora Perch (1 8kg monster and another 5 good size ones), 2 Tuskies, 2 Trevally and 3 taylor. It just proved that fishing has such a massive mix of luck, persistence and skill. Luck certainly wasn’t on their side Saturday but they made the most of the other required components to return triumphant! Sunday’s weather was back to far more pleasant conditions again, but the fishing was no where near the same success level as Saturday. Far more (large) shows on the fish finder in our spots, but the people aboard were just not able to get them hooked on. Fishing after a bit of wild weather is often better than on most days. This clearly wasn’t one of those time however. But with 50 odd crabs caught at least everyone was able to go home with a feed of seafood still.

MONDAY SEPT 16: We have been blessed with a number of successive glorious weekends! This last one was probably the least pleasant, and that’s really being rather harsh! The previous weekend was nothing short of brilliant. Friday’s 9Hr Sunrise (full day) charter came back with a good number of fish.  3 real standouts in a massive Amberjack, a great Cobia and a huge tuskie! This combined with a stack of other fish such a fingermarks, Fuseliers, Bream, Parrot, smaller tuskies and more made for a great day out on the Barwon Banks once again. The whales are still making life a little difficult in close. Their sonar is apparently a major cause of the impact on the fishing. No wonder the pro fishermen are not their biggest fans! Other than that, these are the conditions we have all been dreaming of since late January. It has been quite remarkable that pretty much every weekend has finally been providing us the weather we all dream of.  The most recent weekend was another example! We did have a bit of a mixed bag this weekend both weather-wise and fishing-wise. Thursday and Friday saw everyone aboard enjoying the sort of weather conditions the Sunshine Coast in famous (and named) for. Sunny, warm, little wind and smooth waters. Of course these conditions don’t always (actually seldom) make for great fishing. Add in heaps of whales and dolphins (and turtles!) and you can start to see the likely impact. Everyone still had a great time out and we all know that if fishing was too easy we would all get bored pretty quickly with it. Then Saturday comes along. Weather forecasts had the wind increasing to 20 and at times 25 knots, and seas growing to the 1.7m. Borderline but not enough to cancel for with our boat. Reality on the waters off Mooloolaba was rather different from the forecasts however. The winds were a strong 25knots most of the time and seas were easily 2m and more. Amazingly however the hardy group of passengers aboard seemed to fare much better then most groups would, and were determined to make the most of the day. Their persistence was certainly rewarded with some excellent fish caught on the day. It just proved that fishing really is a massive mix of luck, persistence and skill. Luck certainly wasn’t on their side Saturday but they made the most of the other required parts – persistence and skill –  to return triumphant! Sunday’s weather was back to far more pleasant conditions again, but the fishing was no where near the same success level as Saturday. Far more (large in both fish size and number of fish) shows on the finder in our spots, but the people aboard were just not able to get them hooked on. Fishing after a bit of wild weather is often better than on most days. This clearly wasn’t one of those times however. But with 50 odd crabs caught at least everyone was still able to go home with a feed of seafood. Even if it was all with that large fish we all hope to bring home.

MONDAY AUG 19: What a glorious weekend we had once again! A bit odd that the fishing proved slightly better on Saturday despite the Northerly Winds whilst Sunday saw gentle South Westerly breezes. I am not about to complain about that though! The numbers do speak for themselves. 84 fish on Saturday compared to 28 on Sunday. We did have a few more people aboard on Saturday but the totals per person were still way higher. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the ocean has never really dropped as much in temp as usual this time of year. No doubt great for the southern holiday makers who would have loved hitting the beaches up here on the Sunshine Coast. It has affected the normally common species of fish we catch this time of year. There are still Snapper about, just not in the normal numbers we see. Some good size ones are about though! There also seem to be a lot more sharks that normal. Not a common eating fish up here n Qld I think a few surprised faces aboard on Sunday when one of our regulars caught a good size Gummy Shark, and after taking a pic with it gently returned it to the water. They are a sought after eating species in Victoria! We also hit a massive school of “rat kings”. Often mistaken for juvenile Kingfish they don’t grow anywhere near as large but are great eating! Everyone aboard got in on the action during that period!All in all it was one of the best weekends of both weather and fishing we have seen for some time. The Spanner crabs are also a bit different to the norm. We are seeing slightly lower numbers overall at the moment, but MUCH larger in size of each crab individually. Personally I prefer that as the larger crabs are much easier to eat (and you get way more claw meat of course!). The other species we are starting to see about agin quite a bit are the Red Throat Emperors. Mostly still just undersize at this point in time it is hopefully a great indication of what we might expect over the next couple of months!

Thursday Aug 8 2013: The winds picked up out wide yesterday which wasn’t forecast at all. Even worse, they were Northerlies. DOH! That just makes for a tough tough day in any fisho’s book. The guests on the day certainly seemed to know their stuff however as they still came back with quite a few good fish including Snapper, Trevally and a couple of great Pearlies! We hit a rich seam of Spanner Crab as well with what our crew refer to as “horses” because of the size of crab we caught. So as tough as it may have been it was certainly worthwhile for all aboard. Because of the wind and the tide times we stopped at 12 mile on the way to the Banks we stopped between 12 and 15 mile first. This actually proved the best fishing of the day. 12 and 15 mile have been fishing well most of the time lately. Snapper are still around in good sizes but not as prolific as normal for this time of year. Pearlies and Cod are more also common around the 12 and 15 mile reefs. Sunset fishing in close has been better than early mornings for us as well. Definitely something to keep in mind if you are looking for a 5 Hr trip this time of the year.

Monday Aug 5 2013: Wow, I hadn’t realised how long it had been since I last wrote a fish report! Time flies when you are having fun! Well, fun, let’s be honest. The weather for 2013 has been pretty ordinary until now. Sure, we have had the odd day that has been great. But the number of days we have actually been able to head out for some true deep sea fishing have been far too few! Anyone trying to do even just in close offshore fishing has been frustrated no doubt. But let’s look on the bright side of this all. Firstly, a massively long period of poor weather like we have has surely must be following by a fair bit of good weather at some point! And it has most certainly given the fish stocks a lot of time and ability to replenish! Right now we are smack bang in the middle of the whale watching season. There seems to be a “2 line” approach by these giants of the sea on their way north. One line of whale traffic is about 3-4NM offshore. The 2nd line is about 7NM offshore. In reality you can pretty well forget about catching much in-between or close to these lines, until the migration has finished. Don’t quote me on this, but I think it is because of the predators that follow the migration. Yep, Sharks of all kinds and even killer whales! I don’t know about you, but if I were a “larger” fish I wouldn’t be hanging around the areas that this mob is swimming about in! How do we know that there are way more sharks in the area than normal you ask? Well, we are catching heaps of “sucker-fish” now. A species that just tends to hang around and onto sharks. There have been days on the shorter trips were we have caught (and released in case you were wondering) upwards of 30 of these buggers on a trip! So many that they seem to have replaced the once plague proportion “grinners”. Unfortunately both are just as much (read little) fun to catch. So until November, if you want to do some real deep sea fishing, the 9Hr or 11 Hr days are really the only way to go. The shorter trips are great for beginners or people just loving getting out on the water for a fun day. But if it’s the pure fishing part you are after then book the 9Hr Full day trip or the 11 Hr Mega Day trip.

Monday May 21 2013: This years weather has been pretty darn dismal so far. Really, ever since the Australia Day Cyclone debacle we have not had more than 3 days of half descent weather in a row! this makes it difficult to head out deep sea as the swell just doesn’t have enough time to drop off enough to make it comfortable for most. As such the days we can head out tend to be pretty well booked out of course! The slightly warmer water temps, which are no doubt a large reason for the unseasonably wet weather we are having are playing with the fish as well. Snapper, normally becoming dominant about now are still quite difficult to find. The same for Cobia. And even stranger, we are seeing A LOT of spotted Mackerel hitting our lures! Not that that is a bad thing as they are a great fish to hook from every perspective. Great fighters, great size and great to eat! It’s just very late in the season to still see them in such large numbers. In closer to the Mooloolaba and Caloundra coastline we are catching a lot of really large cod. 15kg is not uncommon! We have lost a few of the older rods to these big boys over the last few weeks as they just could not take the massive strain anymore. It’s not easy getting them off the bottom at the best of times! Another good reason to swap these old Penn rods for the new Rhino-stiks we are now changing most rods over to. There are still a lot of tuskies, Parrot fish, Coral Perch and Banana Fish about as well. Instead of the Snapper we are also catching a lot of King Snapper at the moment. Most of them just undersize but a good 30% or more of good size still. I personally prefer the taste of these to Snapper. One good thing this season (so far at least) is the massive drop in numbers of Grinners. This time last year we at times could not get through the layer of them in some locations. Horrible fish really good for nothing from a fishing perspective. Can’t eat them. No good for bait, and they don’t even put up a fight. We are not missing them this year!

 

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