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Big Fish Big Adventure

Ocean exploration is a romantic notion that reaches out to the adventurer in all of us. From an early age people dream of exploring the farthest reaches of Earth – uncovering history and ancient stories, witnessing the true beauty of nature while discovering the raw essence driving that simple word, ‘exploration’.
‘Big Fish Big Adventure’ is an 8 part original Australian-made series featuring an exploration charter company ‘Big Cat Reality’ that caters to the desires of open-water fishing enthusiasts and adventure seekers, introducing them to some of the most beautiful, still unexplored fishing destinations the world has to offer. The series offers adventure, reveals Queensland’s long-lost maritime history, undersea life, the thrill of extreme fishing and ocean exploration.

Captain James McVeigh, seasoned mariner and once commercial diver who has spent his life on or under the water, takes his clients to the furthest reaches of the reef, chasing their ‘fish-of-a-life time’. James and his crew deliver a true adventure experience, which, as the real adventurist knows, means facing down an unforgiving sea, and Mother Nature’s ability to throw the unexpected at them, at any time. This is what it means to maintain a charter business supplying high end experiences while navigating the spectacular waters of the Coral Sea. The fish may be big but the adventure is bigger.

This series represents the truth of ocean charter work alternating daily between relaxed lounging, battling big fish, tales of high adventure played out on the sea floor, racing storm fronts and re-discovering some of Queensland’s seldom seen seascapes. This is Big Fish Big Adventure.
James McVeigh is an ex commercial diver who has recently opened a high end expedition fishing company taking clients out on the trip of a lifetime, catching giant fish and exploring untouched reef systems.  His  boat is the 'Big Cat Reality', which resides in the port of Bundaberg, a small coastal farming town located at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef, in Queensland, Australia. Captain James and his crew head out of the port of Bundaberg wrapping up a year of fishing with their last trip of the season, as they visit the Wreck Reef system, a number of small coral cays approximately 540km due east from Bundaberg for a nine-day expedition. Wreck Reef is famous as the small reef system which has accumulated a number of very old wrecks including that of the the old sailing boats the Porpoise and the Hope, which are connected to a great tale of bravery and heroic efforts to get back to the mainland by cartographer Mathew Flinders after having wrecked onto the small sand cay over 200 years ago. The trip then continues with the guests out in their tenders hunting down the largest fish species that Wreck Reef has to offer, Giant Trevally, Coral Trout, Dog Tooth Tuna and a number of other sort after species are targeted. We meet Billy Dee, owner of an Australian fishing company who has come out to Wreck Reef to test his new range of sport fishing rods against some of the hardest fighting fish the sea has to offer. Although all is going well the trip has its fair share of hiccups along the way and being so far off the coast of Australian Captain James cannot afford for anything to go wrong, he takes all precautions necessary even if that mean jumping over board to make sure the ship is anchored securely in a nice safe location. The episode finishes half way through the trip as the guests settle in for the night and look forward to another 4 days of fun fuelled fishing adventures.
Captain James McVeigh and his crew upon the Big Cat Reality fishing vessel continue their final trip of the season out at Wreck Reef, a group of small sand atolls 540km Due east of Bundaberg the home of the Big Cat Reality. Having just moved locations from Bird Island over to Porpoise Cay Captain James takes a step back in time and visits the historical site where Mathew Flinders and a number of other 19th century sea men were ship wrecked onto a small sand cay. Mathew Flinders was the first man to circumnavigate Australia before he set sail back towards England and shipwrecked onto Porpoise Cay with 80 other passengers. What followed was a historical story of heroic efforts to get back to mainland Australia to retrieve another vessel and then sail back out, find Porpoise Cay and rescue the rest of the survivors that were left on the small sand island. While James is off having his own adventure the guests have been out tackling some monsters of the deep, fighting huge Yellowfin Tuna and massive schools of Wahoo. The guests get to relish in the beauty of where they are and the water that surrounds them. The crew then raise anchor and head to West Islet the most southern part of Wreck Reef. On the way the crew stop off at a deep sea mount called Gregs Knob to have a bit of a fish themselves, and after a couple of big fish are hooked they soon learn that maybe the sport fishing should be left to the guests and they keep heading south to anchor up at West Islet. Once they have arrived and wayed anchor Captain James decides to go for a late afternoon dive to try and find the perfect spot to sit the Big Cat for one more nights fishing before they have to steam home. Diving through the breathtaking underwater canyons and exploring the beautiful reef formations, James thinks he has found a suitable location, where once the sun sets, he feels might produce some sought after species, like the illusive Dog Tooth Tuna. While the rest of the crew are tying down boats and cleaning up from the day Chef Jeff in busy in the kitchen cooking up the last nights sea food buffet, some what of a last hoorah for the guests out here at Wreck Reef. Dinner is served and the guests have a bit of a fish off the back deck, while Captain James reflects on some of the sessions they have had off of the back deck in the past, landing monstrous fish and having the time of their life.
The Refit
This episode of Big Fish Big Adventure follows Captain James as he leaves Red Cliff port and heads to The Yard in Brisbane to get the Big Cat slipped and refitted in the dry dock.
 The Yard is the biggest dry dock on the east coast of Australia and homes many specialised factories and companies that purely focus on large ship maintenance and manufacturing. This will be James’ home for the next 6 weeks while the boat sits up on bricks getting stripped back inside and out and then completely refitted with new finishes, new equipment and a couple of new toys.
 Leading up the slipping there has already been 4 solid weeks of work on the boat doing what they can in preparation to go up on the slip, as every day on the slip pass with a slide of the credit card so James needs to make sure he uses his time wisely while the big girl is up on the bricks.
 With tense moments through out the episode there is drama for Captain James trying to get the boat finished in time for the first trip of the year which is a 7 day line fishing trip out to the Sweet Lip Reef, part of the Swains Reef system with a full load of guests and a couple new crew. 
 Follow James through the ups and downs of the mammoth effort it takes to get a 250 ton charter boat slipped and refitted. From having to replace both of his shafts and props to needing a full respray on the boat the Big Cat is in for a lot of work. 
 James’ original budget for the slipping was around $100,000 but after all of the unexpected issues James is slammed with a $250,000 bill something he was not ready for. As well as this James is stuck on the slip for an extra 4 weeks on top of what he planned for, putting a huge amount of pressure on the small business owner and his family.
 Will James be able to make it out of the yard in time to get to Bundaberg for the first trip of the season or will he be forced to call it off?
Captain James McVeigh and the crew on the Big Cat Reality load up with a new group of keen guests and head out into the Swains Reef system for their first trip of the season. After an overnight haul the boat arrives at Sweetlip Reef, a remote and complex series of coral cays home to number of large fish species and other marine life. The first day is off to a bang and the guests are filling their cool bags, and as it is a line fishing trip the guests are out to catch as many edible fish as they can so they can take home an esky full of fillets. As the trip seems to be going well it takes a sudden turn for the worst as Captain James is alerted that one of the boats seems to be taking on water, he drops everything to try and get this problem sorted out asap. Whilst being caught up with the sinking boat things being to domino and James gets a back log of issues all due to wasted time having to fix problems. The crew seem to have lost the over night moorings for the tenders due to the tide rising, so Captain James takes out new deck hand Harry to try and recover whatever they can find. With finding the moorings not looking hopeful Harry spots a float sitting about 7 meters under the water, with a quick leap he is into the drink, diving down to try and retrieve the mooring. Having successfully retrieved the moorings James and Harry head back to the mother ship to finally winch up and head to a more protected location due to the incoming storm. Harry gets the opportunity to take one of the tenders and follow the mothership, he gets to have a bit of a fish along the way too happily landing a nice Giant Trevally. As the afternoon comes to an end and the storm begins to push towards the big cat Captain James receives an emergency call over the radio from one of the tenders, pleading that their anchor is stuck and the roaring current is putting them in danger. James lashes on a scuba tank, jumps into the RIB and starts to head towards the stuck tender. Diving down into unknown territory James has to stay alert to his surroundings as no one knows what other marine creatures may be lurking around. Having eventually found the anchor jammed up into the middle of a bombie James must lay down a camera to capture his salvage, fighting the current and the weight of the boat he finally gets a bit of leverage, enough to free and the anchor and chase it back towards the boat as they start to drift off in the current. Now back on the mother ship and in some dry clothes James gets the chance to have a chat to the guests about possible options for the rest of the trip, now that an even larger storm front seems to be heading their way. After a group discussion the decision is made to start to punch on through the storm and get home early to put a finish to what was a good trip.
This episode of Big Fish Big Adventure follows the Captain James McVeigh and the crew on the Big Cat Reality for their largest trip to date, a 14 day sports fishing adventure out to the heart of the Coral Sea, Kenn and Fredrick Reef. Coming along for the ride is a group of keen fishos from South Australia, the YTK Addicts. These boys are seriously keen fishermen who target Yellow Tail Kingfish back in South Australia, but have high hopes of large Dogtooth Tuna out at Kenn Reef. The crew untie the boat and head out in the big blue with high anticipation of what will come. During the 38 hour steam to Kenn Reef one of the guests hook up to a large 250 kilogram Blue Marlin, with an epic fight and hours of manoeuvring the boat they finally land the large fish and with a few high fives and a lot a yelling the crew get back on with the trip. The rest of the episode follows the crew finally arriving at Kenn Reef to what seems like absolutely perfect conditions, From here the crew get all of the tenders and gear ready and send the guests off for their first day of fishing in this glorious place. Kenn Reef has not been fished for quite a long time and there for the fish in these waters most likely have never even seen a lure in their life, with that in mind the guests know they are in for a cracker of a first day on the water. Gary, Dan and Greg a couple of guests on the trip make the most of these after finding what seems like a hot spot for Dog Tooth Tuna and after a couple double hook ups and a few record fish the boys head into the shallows where they seem to hit it again, finding a large school of Giant Trevally that definitely get their arms stretched. After landing a couple great fish on the little boats the guests are hyped with excitement but the crew aren’t having such luck with their fishing. Captain James set his crew a goal to catch a decent fish at the new anchorage to prove its fertility, although he soon realised his crew are much better deck hands then they are fishermen. With not information much to go on James decides to jump over board and check out the lay of the land in this magical place. "It is quite something, scuba diving in a location that you know no one has ever dived before” said Captain James. After exploring the under sea landscape he comes to the conclusion that he know exactly where to anchor the mothership for the first nights fishing off the back deck, he hopes with the information he got from the ecosystem down below that he has put the Big Cat in the right place to get his guests onto some big fish once the sun drops behind the horizon.
It’s the third day at Kenn Reef for the YTK Addicts, a group of keen anglers that have charted out Big Cat Reality to explore the Kenn and Frederick Reef systems in the Coral Sea.The Dogtooth Tuna are on the chew and Dingo, a paying guest aboard the Big Cat Reality is after an elusive 100kg plus Dog Tooth Tuna. The fish fight hard with explosive bursts of speed and make it difficult to land even an average sized Doggie. The Dogtooth Tuna is the hardest fighting fish in the ocean, but the guests like to mix it up a little and target some Wahoo also. Kenn Reef is part of a submerged continental block, called the Kenn Plateau. The Kenn Plateau lies off the North Eastern Australian coast and is a region characterised by a series of prominent, bathymetric troughs. Ships carrying cargo and supplies to Australia travelled further and further east away from the dangers of the Great Barrier Reef. However, many ran aground on Kenn Reef and some dating back to nearly 200 years ago had only recently been discovered by archeologists as recent as twelve months prior to the Big Cat Reality charter to this region. James knows full well there will still be a lot of unseen treasures lying on the reef and sand cay. Captain James wades through the water during low tide to find anchors still stuck wedged into the reef. After this he ventures on to a nearby sand cay to look for any other remnants. It is here that James discovers a lot of smaller metal objects clearly left behind from older ships that were wrecked on this reef. James then goes free diving in the lagoon to look for some larger items that may be strewn across the sea floor and that may not have moved because of the calmer waters. There are some great finds, which makes James think there could be even greater discoveries in the deeper waters that lay around the reef. While Captain James gets ready to go for a dive, some of the guests are up in the shallower water targeting some large Coral Trout, the water here is perfect for this species and the boys hook up in now time, landing a monstrous Coral Trout and with a couple of happy snaps, and a few measurements jotted down, they send the beautiful beast back to live safely in it's coral bombie home. Back on Big Cat James jumps over board in search of some some more hidden artefacts. Scuba diving in the deeper parts of the reef there is a lot to look at and think about with the abundance of life that lives in and around this small coral atoll. Humpback Whales, schools of Giant Trevally, large Coral Trout and even flocks of sea birds catch James’ eye. Exploring the beautiful underwater landscape he even forgets about looking for artefacts and just relishes in the astounding beauty that surrounds him
Captain James McVeigh and the crew on the Big Cat Reality continue their huge 14 day adventure out into the Coral Sea chasing big fish. The guests head off for one more morning at Kenn Reef before they need to head west to Fredricks Reef. Dan and Richard, two paying guests aboard the Big Cat head out into and decide to jump onto one of the small local sand cays to try their hands at a bit of beach style flats fishing and to do a bit of exploring around the obvious ship wrecks and local wildlife. As the tide drops the boys decide to head out into the shallows to chase some Giant Trevally. What follows is an epic session of GT fishing as the boys land a number of quite large Giant Trevally. As the day progresses the crew get the Big Cat ready to head west to Fredricks Reef but not before they take a small surprise detour for the guests to a special place called Coulder Bank. Coulder Bank is a remote un-fished sea mount rumoured to hold a large number of Dog Tooth Tuna and Wahoo. The next day beings with the boat pushing up to Coulder Bank as some of the guests hook up to some passing Yellow Fin Tuna. That kick starts what is a full on morning chasing Yellowfin Kingfish and Wahoo. The boys can’t seem to find the illusive Dogtooth Tuna that are rumoured to lurk in these waters, but that doesn’t stop them from having a great day fishing before they push on further to Fredrick Reef. After another night steaming the guests arrive at Fredrick Reef for the last half of their expedition. Fredrick Reef has not been fished in quite along time that’s why the YTK Addicts choose Fredricks, its a beautiful, remote, un-fished group of coral cays that definitely seem to produce the goods. Dan, Greg and Scotty head out to the back of the reef to pop for GT and Coral Trout, the boys have a cracker morning reeling in some stunning fish and getting some great photos. While the crew are back on the mothership resetting for their time at Fredrick Reef another group of guests are out on the Northern side of the reef chasing a flock of birds in hopes there are some big fish to follow. As the boys trawl through the large bait ball they hook up, and Paulie gets onto his first ever Sailfish, and after an amazing fight the fish is safely landed and released but not with out a couple photos and a few yahoos. Meanwhile the crew have a little surprise in stall, Captain James has organised a bit of crew training, a man overboard drill to finish off the day. The drill, although seems hectic and has a lot of moving parts goes off with out a hitch and the crew and tick that manoeuvre off off their bucket list. The crew then head back to anchor and get ready for the guests to come back from their first day of fishing at Fredrick Reef with stories to tell and thirst to quench
Having already had 7 days of fishing fun on the water at Kenn and Fredrick Reef and crew and guests strap in for a few more huge days of fighting big fish and exploring Fredrick Reef. The guests head off for the morning, with Dan, Greg and Scotty chasing some Wahoo. Finding a patch of birds and a large bait ball they are in hope of some screaming reels and awesome surface action, but only until the sharks show up to shut it all down and ruin their fun. After a few hours of battling the sharks and Wahoo the boys decide to head into shore for a bit more relaxed fishing, chasing small reef species in the shallows. While some of the other guests fishing off of the island chasing some beautiful fish we take a look at the magnificent ecosystem which is Fredrick Reef, looking in detail at what wild life call these tiny sand cays home, from colonies of strawberry hermit crabs to large flocks of sea birds the amount of life on these small islands is unbelievable. We then get the chance to explore the majestic under water landscape which surrounds these natural wonders, it is full of beautiful corals and stunning fish life with visibility around 70 meters. Witness what the ocean and reef systems look like in these remote untouched parts of the world, where mankind has not been around to damage the ecosystem. Meanwhile Captain James and the crew get the chance to go for a bit of an explore too and check out the famous Fredricks Reef light house sitting at the Northern tip of the reef system. The light house is a massive navigation aid something that the old sailors who ran aground on these islands never had to help them navigate their way through the treacherous waters. Back on big cat Chef Jeff is preparing the following nights seafood buffet but for that he needs to source a couple fresh fish to go along side the rest of the meal. To do so he jumps over board with deckhand Harry, with their spear guns in hand, to go in search of the tastiest Coral Trout they can find that will go perfectly with the rest of the seafood buffet to come.The guests then come back for the night after having a great day on the water, they tell their story of the day the Big Cat goes silent over night as the guests get some well deserved sleep. As the next day begins the guests head out once more while Chef Jeff starts to prepare yesterdays catch for the up coming buffet. Learn how to perfectly cook Coral Trout as Chef Jeff talks us through his process of creating the most delicious sea food plater you have ever seen.While Jeff is in the kitchen cooking up a storm, Captain James is down below giving the Big Cat a well needed oil change. As the trip is coming to an end after a couple great days of fishing Captain James gets the chance to reflect on all of the amazing places they have visited over the past 12 months and all of the amazing experiences they have all shared. After another 38 hours steam back to the main land the guest jump off and pack up their gear and the crew say farewell as they welcome onboard another group of keen anglers and get ready to set off on another big adventure.


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