Reel Thing gives poor value

4 Feb

In my experience, fishing charters mostly provide poor value for money. The Reel Thing out of Patterson Lakes continues this awful tradition.

For $130 a person, the company’s effort today was disgusting.

It was the fifth time my son and I had tried to redeem a gift voucher for one of The Reel Thing’s five-hour fishing trips. Other attempts were cancelled due to alleged poor weather. Emails said that our $260 would pay for soft drinks and a ‘cook up’ lunch as well as gear. Berly would be scattered to attract the fish, we were assured, crew would give us ‘expert tuitition’ in how to catch them, and the company’s website urged us to ‘enjoy the comfort’.

The truth was different. The boat needed repairs, the squat portable lavatory was for urinating in only and was filthy, and there was insufficient room to sit on wooden slat seating for the 19 paid-up punters and two uncommunicative crew on board. (We could use the lavatory to defecate in, we were told, only in the most urgent circumstances.)

No instruction of any sort in how to fish was given, no soft drinks were offered, no lunch of any sort — not even snacks — was offered (the crew had biscuits), and only sardines were used as bait at four stopping points in Port Phillip Bay.

Among hopeful anglers were several sub-continentals and four Japanese. What they made of Victorian tourism I can only guess.

I’ll have a stab at the budget. Income $2470, perhaps less because of cut-price vouchers similar to ours. Fuels costs — perhaps $100. Labour $200. Insurance — a few hundred dollars at the outside. Depreciation and other factors have to be added to the debits, but if The Reel Thing couldn’t clear $1000 a trip — and in good weather they run three a day — it would surprise me.

The only rigour the crew displayed was in measuring fish. If they were even a few millimetres below the regulation length we were ordered to throw them back. (Only a handful of fish was kept and perhaps 30 were thrown back.) This is excellent for two reasons: the bay’s fish stocks are husbanded, and The Reel Thing runs no risk of losing its licence and its lucrative business.

The whole deal was a gigantic rip-off, in my view, and tourism and fishing organisations need to be aware that this sort of operation is showcasing — and thereby undermining — Victorian tourism. They should act appropriately.

One Response to “Reel Thing gives poor value”

  1. Peter Symonds 11 February, 2013 at #

    I could not agree more!

    Reel Thing are nothing more than shysters!

    We bought six tickets through Groupon for $360 (the minimum number of people they say are needed to go out).

    We paid $524 in accommodation, childcare and fishing licences, and the weather was looking perfect … excellent, we thought, on arriving down the coast for a much deserved break from work and catching up with friends we had not seen for eons.

    Result: a belated call the night before to cancel due to a ‘funeral’!

    Sounded sincere, we thought, (but we were) extremely disappointed. We re-booked, re-scheduled all of the above for a month later.

    $524 for all of the above again…

    The result a belated call the night before to cancel due to perceived bad weather despite the weatherman saying the opposite!

    What’s more, the caller (was) seemingly oblivious to the previous ‘funeral’ cancellation and alarm bells started ringing loud and clear.

    Next day the weather was exceptional and winds non-existent the entire day.

    These shysters are clearly not going to honour vouchers if they don’t have enough full-paying customers (or if they have too many) … And are prepared to make any excuse to do so.

    $1400 plus later really soured two occasions of what should have been a fishing trip of a lifetime during the snapper season.

    Caveat emptor … there (is) a multitude of similar complaints against these guys popping up across the net.

    Wish we had seen them earlier!

    Much later we booked with REEL TIME charters and got expert tuition with Matt Cini, and could not recommend them more… extremely knowledgeable, professional and we have even booked for the next Tuna season with these guys.

    The Reel Thing are in the wrong business … Nothing but rude, brash, cowboys!

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