Topnotch Game Fishing

Frequently Asked Fishing Questions

Hi everyone, it’s Marlene here from Topnotch Game Fishing. πŸ‘‹πŸ»

I’m the first mate TGF & usually your first port of call contact to make a booking. Our fishing charter business recently has merged with the times & is now available to book online at your leisure. In the past, I have usually been the first person you would call to inquire about our fishing charters & I’d answered many questions directly via the phone or by email. We are all going online these days so I have created this informative blog about frequently asked fishing questions I get asked about our fishing charters. I’ll endeavour to keep adding questions with answers as I go but also feel free to contact me via phone at 1300 347 444 or email at tgfcharterinquiries@gmail.comΒ for any information. I’m only too happy to answer any questions.

Frequently Asked Fishing Questions

Can you keep your catch?

  • Absolutely! As long as it is of legal size & within bag limits.

Are there any fish closures & when are they?

  • Yes, we have two types of fish closures every year in October & November. They are Coral Reef Fin (5 days x 2) & Spanish Mackerel Closures (3 weeks x 2). For detailed information about these closures, please head to this blog – Coral Reef Fin & Spanish Mackerel Closures

What is the difference between a shared charter & a private charter?

  • Shared fishing charters are (AM/PM) 4-hour half-day fishing charters that are a shared fishing experience with other bookings. These are paid per ticket & are all bottom reef fishing charters. Everyone has their own rod & reel.
  • Private charters are whole boat booking with customisation to the client’s needs. Very popular to choose to target bottom reef fishing & troll for pelagic fish.
  • For detailed information about shared & private fishing charters, please head to this blog – Which Charter To Choose – Shared Or Private Charters.

What happens if the weather is unfavourable & the charter is cancelled?

  • All charters are subject to the weather on the day, and our captains reserve the right to cancel charters due to unsafe weather or unforeseen breakdowns. In this case, we will offer alternative dates (if available) to reschedule the booking or a full refund will be made. To view our terms & conditions – Topnotch Game Fishing Terms & Conditions.

More Popular Fishing Questions

Which species of fish can we catch with Topnotch game Fishing?

I’ll break down the types of fish you can catch with the Topnotch Team into two categories. Reef fish (that live at the bottom water column around reef structures) or pelagic fish (are in all water columns – can be at the top or bottom & they move around).

Some of the more common types of reef fish that can be caught around the Whitsunday Islands:

  • Small/large mouth nannygai, coral trout, red emperor, fingermark, gold spot cod, Indonesian snapper, tusk fish, black jewfish & a variety of sweetlip fish.

Some of the more common types of pelagic fish that can be caught in the Whitsunday Waters:

  • Black marlin, sailfish, longtail tuna, yellowfin tuna, giant trevally, cobia, barracuda, spotted mackerel, school mackerel & Spanish mackerel.

Which is the better time to go fishing – AM or PM?

  • Generally, one will fish better than the other, but it does depend on the type of fish being targetted (reef fish or pelagic fish), the tides on the day (moon phase) & of course, the weather! *** Note that the weather does have quite an impact on where we can fish on the day of the charter.

How deep is the water around the Whitsunday Islands?

  • Around the islands & shipping channel, the water is generally 50 to 60 meters deep. A little closure to islands, we may fish in 40 meters & some places in the shipping channel go to a depth of 70 meters.

Is there a toilet board on the vessels?

  • Yes, both of our game boats are fitted with toilets.
Questions About Topnotch Game Fishing

How far do we travel to the fishing grounds?

  • It does depend on which charter is booked & also on the weather conditions on the day. Generally, with our half-day charters, we will travel 15 to 45 mins. Full-day charter travel can take from 45 minutes to 1 hour. Liveaboard charters generally take 2.5 hours to reach the Great Barrier Reef system, but travel is minimal as we fish from reef to nearby reef.

Do we have left-handed reels?

  • Yes, we do. The bottom fishing reels (SHIMANO 14,000 Saragosa’s) can be easily changed from left-hand to right-hand. *** Note the overhead trolling reels (Tiagra 30’s), unfortunately, don’t have this option & all of them are right-handed.

What type of fishing charters do we do & what are their times/durations?

We have a variety of fishing charter options to choose from.

Is seasickness a concern on the charter?

  • These days a quick trip to your local chemist to discuss the best-suited seasick medication for you is a great idea if you are a bit worried. Topnotch Game Fishing is based at Hamilton Island, which is in the middle of 74 islands. The many islands provide great protection from winds in many directions us, which allows charters to proceed. We do, though, have safe operating limitations & generally, when the winds blow up to 30 knots, this is when charters get cancelled by the windy weather.
Fishing Charter Questions

Are we going to be fishing at the outer Great Barrier Reef?

  • TGF only fishes the GBR when a liveaboard fishing charter has been booked. The distance from Hamilton Island to the outer reef can easily be 2.5 hours on a good weather day & longer if the weather is windier day. It’s impossible for half-day charters to fish it & on a full-day charter, you would be lucky to get 3 hours of fishing because of the travel time. Hence why, only our liveaboard charters are ideal for several days of fishing the outer reef.

Is Full Payment Required To Secure The Booking Or A Deposit?

  • Full payment is required for all half-day shared fishing charters & private half-day fishing charters. If you want to book a private full-day or liveaboard fishing charter, full payment is required less than six weeks out, but if booking is more than six weeks away, a $1,000.00 deposit is required.

What inclusions are in the charter?

Shared half-day & private half-day fishing charters:

  • Quality Shimano rods, reels & tackle.
  • Catch filleted or gilled, gutted & bagged.
  • Ice-cold bottled water. BYO alcohol.
  • Professional crew dedicated to sports/reef fishing – skipper & crewman.

Full-day & liveaboard fishing charters:

  • Catering
  • Quality Shimano rods, reels & tackle.
  • Catch filleted or gilled, gutted & bagged.
  • Ice-cold bottled water. BYO alcohol.
  • Professional crew dedicated to sports/reef fishing – skipper & crewman.

P.S ~ we have been fishing in the Whitsunday region for over ten years now & have always had custom game boats with professional crewmen. If you have any frequently asked fishing questions, please contact me. I’m a country gal & love a good chat on the phone.

Tight lines,

Marlene Hicks




Marlene Hicks The owner-operator of Topnotch Game Fishing Hamilton Island, Whitsundays, Australia. The Great Barrier Reef.