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We recently grabbed a bargain through Scoopon for a 4-hour local fishing charter through Adelaide’s Strike 1 Fishing Charter and here’s what we thought! The normal price when booking direct is $125 per person for this charter. However, we paid just $89 each, or you can book two people for $169 which is good value for money.
I bought the voucher in early November – it took us until mid-February to use it! Naturally, it’s a busy time of year anyway, but just a head’s up that when this deal is running, it can be more difficult to book in. With cancellations due to poor weather and fully booked weekends, you may need to be as flexible as possible, including weekdays if you can and eager to go.
Booking with Strike 1 Fishing Charter
Booking our Strike 1 Fishing Charter was all done through text message as stated on the booking voucher. Bookings are completed mainly through Dolores who is Albert, your skippers, wife. We did ask the question what happens if we were unable to find a mutual date before the voucher expired at the end of February and advised they have extended the voucher until 7th April.
The day before the booked charter, we were concerned the wind may not work in our favour. But thankfully we received a text message that evening to confirm and what to take (Scoopon voucher, esky, food, drink, suncream, etc.).
It needs to be pointed out that these ‘Scoopon’ experiences are more like taster sessions to those new to fishing – complete newbies or family trips out (however minimum child age is seven years old, must be accompanied by an adult and supply their own life jacket as only adult jackets are available on board). If you are a fisherperson and keen to bag out on a species, you’ll likely find yourself disappointed and you’ll understand why when you read on.
Strike 1 Fishing Charters are by no means the most professional charter service in South Australia. But it’s Albert’s business, who has many years of experience and runs the show the way he wants. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, he’s a nice bloke earning a living – it’s just something to be aware of.
Meeting time was at 7am at West Beach Boat Ramp. Rightly or wrongly, we half expected the boat to be in the water and ready to depart. However, Albert and his 7.5m Witchcraft boat rocked up just after 7am and we departed about 7.30am. He did apologise; it just meant a bit of hanging around but he did assure us he would make up the time.
As the sun continued to rise, the backdrop over Adelaide was pretty impressive. Even with the amount of cloud going overhead.
Sometimes, the other people sharing the charter with you can make all the difference. Joining us on this adventure was a family of 3 (two older ladies and their 30-year-old son) and an elderly German gentleman. We exchanged names before boarding and although the conversation was minimal, there were pleasant exchanges throughout the charter.
Setting off from West Beach, there was no hanging around to head out to the Grange Tyre Reef for our first stop. We were right to think the wind may not have been on our side and the white caps showed us we may have been right. If we’d still had our 5 metre boat, there is no way we would have ventured out in this. The seas had got up to about 1.5m and it sure did make for a bumpy ride. After a good few minutes of standing up and letting my knees do all the work, I’m glad we were only heading about 4km from shore.
But it was so good for us to be back out on the water after so long.
Let the fishing begin…
After a bit of trouble anchoring on the tyre reef and bobbing about like a stray apple on Halloween, Albert kitted us up with rods, hooks and bait. We already had some free burley overboard as neither of the women particularly enjoyed the high-speed bumpy ride there!
The rods were well used as I struggled to reel mine in occasionally. But not to get too excited as I wasn’t actually reeling a catch in! The fishing sounder was screaming out life underneath us and in went the rods – again, again and again. We were losing bait but not a single catch for well over 40 minutes. Nibbles yes, catches no. We thought we might have had crabs coming after us, especially as we saw one swimming, but these nibbles were certainly not a sign of some good fishing. We were bottom fishing for King George Whiting so this may have well been the case.
After some more thought and more bait getting lost, Albert pulled up anchor and headed south, a little further away from shore. The anchor caught quickly this time and it wasn’t long before Matt, one of the other passengers caught a small Trevalli. Too small and it had to go back. This was a sure trend for the rest of the trip.
First catch ‘n’ keep!
A few minutes later, we caught our first Whiting and at 35cm, it was a keeper. The first one of the trip. Along came another, followed by a couple of Leatherjackets on myself and Matt’s rod. A few more small Trevalli who paid us a visit before returning to the ocean, as well as a Red Herring and a baby Snapper (who were returned with thoughts in their heads to return with their mum and dad!).
One of the guys onboard asked if Albert had any different bait as the Whiting below us were just being thieves. The cockles were too soft and not really working in this area but unfortunately, this was all that was onboard. Something like squid would have worked a trick, but we had no luck catching any of those!
As 11am came round, it was clear the other girls had had enough, having not touched a rod in a while. Matt had given up and sat down and Albert was on the phone to a mate talking about anything and everything. With only 4 fish kept, and nothing for the last 15 minutes, it was time to go home.
From Albert’s phone call though, it was as if the penny had dropped. It was a full moon that night. Fish generally don’t eat until the night around the phase of a full moon. And with a recent change in weather and a windy day previously, the biometric pressure was certainly putting them off their food.
So in absolute defence for Albert, who was equally disappointed and frustrated as we were, it was not his fault. He took us to where the fish were and as the saying goes, ‘you win some, you lose some’. I didn’t even consider the phase of the moon when booking the charter, in fact, we were just glad we managed to get it booked and go, but this did make quite a difference to our experience.
The journey back was a fast one! Albert had been asked not smoke whilst onboard as one of the other passengers mentioned it made her feel pretty sick. He acknowledged and stated if he did, he would head to the front of the boat. He didn’t actually have one for the entire trip. But he sure must have wanted one as he flew back into West Beach!
As per the norm on fishing charters, what is caught and kept is shared out amongst everyone. However, because there was little to share out, we got to keep the two King George Whiting. The other family kept the two Leatherjackets!
And yes, they were yummy for dinner that evening!
Overall thoughts of Strike 1 Fishing Charter
For $89, this was a pretty good experience for 4 hours of being out on the water and having a bit of fun with a rod. It’s not a serious experience and although I think we may have been one of the unlucky few that didn’t catch much, we’ve got to remember that the South Australian Gulfs are getting fished out pretty quickly. From the looks of Facebook, the day before was pretty successful so it really is just fishing charter luck!
Albert is certainly a man that can talk. And talk. And talk. With stories about pretty much everything! He’s a local boy which a wealth of experience and is still passionate about what he does. There is one fact to take into consideration. The other fishing charter operating out of West Beach is his little brother (Go Get ‘Em Fishing). Whilst these two are each other’s competitors, it also means they pretty much have a monopoly over central Adelaide for fishing charters. I’m not suggesting for one moment that this means they don’t work as hard or anything like that. It’s just that it may contribute towards a slightly less than professional service, especially compared to other states.
If you are looking for a bit of fun and catching fish is a bonus, this is the ideal way to experience it.
The idea for these Scoopons is to bring customers back who want to go out further, on longer charters and catch more fish! Whilst not catching many fish during this charter may not have worked in Albert’s favour, we were surprised he did not hand us some type of bounce back voucher – such as ‘X’ amount off a future charter, etc. We’ve received these type of vouchers before from charters, but when asking, Albert mentioned he normally does but had run out. Convenient? Not his usual customers who he typically asks back? Not sure, but there wasn’t even a verbal mention of one.
Whilst we would use Strike 1 Fishing Charters again, and possibly for a longer charter, we still don’t think you can beat fishing from either Yorke or Eyre Peninsula. If you want a seriously good experience with better opportunities for more catches – save your money up and head around the coast.
However, saying that, Strike 1 does feature on our best Fishing Charters in Adelaide post, so it can’t be all that bad!
Our final word – Albert… there are other fishing charters across South Australia – just saying!
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