Right on time, the big Sailfish 7200 Platinum rig arrived at Adelaide Shores and soon after, at 7.15am, we were headed SW on course for the fishing grounds of Tapley’s Shoal.
The four charter clients settled down for an hour-long run, chatting to Albert DiVittorio while his brother Tom manned the helm.
Albert and Tom owned and operated Go Get ‘Em Charters which was operated out of Adelaide Shores. Both had accumulated many sea hours and years of fishing experience in gulf waters. As well, they both held charter operator licenses and were active members of the Sea Rescue Squadron, which involved on going nautical, life saving and first aid training.
With the twin 175hp Mercury Optimax outboards spinning at 4,200rpm, pushing the Sailfish at 32 knots (60 kph), by soon after 8am Tom had settled the boat right over his first mark. Albert made sure everyone’s fishing rig was baited and the day’s fishing began in calm and clear 22m-deep water. At the same time, Albert explained the techniques of catching snapper to those aboard who had not previously had the experience.
Within thirty minutes and after a series of nibbles, one rod on the starboard side loaded up, our first hook-up. Firmly and carefully, the client worked his fish to the boat, a beautiful “plate-sized” snapper. Tom was on hand throughout and ensured a successful landing, bringing the fish aboard expertly, freeing the hooks and handing it to one very happy young man.
Soon afterwards the tide began to turn, so the boat was relocated. The snapper went quiet but other fish remained, including a nice whiting along with a series of mackerel,leather jackets, two zebra fish and some ruggers.
Albert stayed busy supplying baits, baiting hooks for some and getting their fish off hooks, so that his clients could simply get on with what they came for, catching fish. At all times the brothers gave those aboard their full attention, Tom checking on their comfort and saftey even when driving the Sailfish from drop to drop.
We were certainly not alone on the Shoal, which forced us to move around whenever other craft, recognising a charter boat, became interested in our position, an all too common problem for those in the charter industry.
At our third drop, another legal snapper came aboard and soon after that a rod, this time on the port side, loaded up seriously.
The man working this rig was in for an energetic struggle which lasted many minutes, the rod bending sharply and occasionally losing line to what turned out to be, as the brothers had predicted, a stingray.
When the exhausted fish finally came alongside, Albert had no option but to cut the trace, explaining that the ‘ray would, just as sharks do, “digest” the hook in its lip in a matter of a week or so. In fact, what we assumed was the same critter loaded up another rod not long after, but managed to break off that time.
As the day progressed and Tom moved us to various marks over the Shoal, some stayed at their rigs stoically while others enjoyed the odd cat nap. The weather remained good, even balmy, the seas calm until, at around 3.30pm, we headed back to shore where the catch was packed and divided.
We’d enjoyed a beautiful day at sea, on a boat which, as ever, looked brand new and was operated by two friendly, helpful and very professional operators who had done everything to ensure our comfort and safety. Top marks.