Archives for April 2009

21st – 28th March 2009

Scott Lewis’ Fishing Buddies from Brisbane join us aboard Kanimbla for a great week of fishing!

18th – 25th April 2009

Here comes Ray and his crew from Gunnedah!


11th – 18th April 2009





The Saturday afternoon of the departure day saw a large proportion of the group gather at the Sailing Club for lunch. No prizes for guessing that the main subject of discussion was the weather forecast. The veterans amongst us knew, of course, that the fatalistic approach is the only practical one – “what will be, will be’ – and so it was as we set out on yet another hopefully fishy adventure.


We arrived on the western edge of Swain Reefs, north of the “green zone”, on Sunday morning, to be greeted by a grey rainy day and winds from 20 to 30 knots from the east. The conditions were challenging to say the least but the hardier of us went forth in the dinghies to do battle. The trouble was, nobody had told the fish we were coming. We fished the depths between 15 and 40 metres because the recent ravages of cyclone Hamish had cleared the shallow lagoons of fish. The catch for Sunday would best be described as meagre.


The forecast had said that conditions would ease by Tuesday but that meant we still had Monday to contend with. Luckily, the wind eased slightly and more dinghies went out for both sessions. Khang L. and Rohan T. were persistent with their trolling and produced some small Spanish mackerel on Monday morning. They told stories of losing bigger mackerel. Meanwhile, the reef fish were still elusive so only a small number were brought in. Reef fish catches improved slightly on Monday afternoon augmented by a 15 kg Spanish mackerel from George C. and a small yellowfin tuna from Steve H. We watched with interest as Rohan T. fought a large fish which turned out to be a GT of about 35kgs. It was successfully released.


Tuesday and Wednesday proved to be the best days of the trip weatherwise. The reef fish returns improved considerably. Notably, the numbers of coral trout easily exceeded  the red throat emperor (sweetlip) and the average size was impressive. On previous trips, it’s been the other way around.


By Thursday, when the wind returned at 15 to 20 knots, another pattern was being being revealed. More Spanish mackerel were being caught on baits near the bottom than by any other means. Usually regarded as an incidental catch when caught this way, it happened often enough to make you wonder. Paul K. and his dinghy crew managed to fill a tub with reef fish on this day.


There was also a small number of cobia caught later in the week some of which reached 15 kgs. Other captures of interest include about half a dozen “Chinaman fish”, one of which easily exceeded 15kgs. This particular fish put up a terrific fight in 20 metres of water and took all of fifteen minutes to subdue. All were released unharmed. Congratulations to all those novices who made their first “big fish” captures on this trip.


The last session of the trip was south of the “Green Zone” and contributed greatly to the overall catch. We fished from Kanimbla and the catch featured more Spanish mackerel from the bottom as well as many quality reef fish.


Another feature of this trip was the abundance of large squid which were rapidly caught (6 in 6 minutes)  by World Champion and Master Squidder, Rassie B. He received the “Fish of the Trip” trophy for his efforts and will long be remembered for his contribution to the magnificent platters of calamari nibblies produced by the Kanimbla’s chef extraordinaire, Steve. Among Steve’s other great efforts were a great yellowfin tuna entrée and hand made chocolates on Wednesday evening.


Our thanks go to the Skipper Bruce, deckies Giles and Christy and Chef Steve for another memorable trip. The trip home was a magic carpet ride.


Steve Ho

21 April, 2009 






4th – 11th April 2009

After the Cyclone: Fishing a new Seascape

TSMV Kanimbla 4 to 11 April 2009


We arrived at Gladstone Marina to be greeted by grey skies, scudding showers and that warm tropical humidity that occurs in Queensland.  Three weeks before, Cyclone Hamish had swept down the Barrier Reef and vented its full fury on the Swain Reefs. The strongest recorded gust had been 295 km/h before the recording instrument broke. It was the most powerful cyclone to hit the area for many years, and professional fishermen were asking for government subsidies for compensation!! If you wish to obtain further information on Hamish it can be found on the Queensland BoM site.


We left the Marina at 1700 hours with the crew being Bruce, Steve, Giles, and an attractive recent addition; Christie. The trip out was quite smooth and a good sleep was easy to have.


Sunday 5 April saw us catch a number of trout and a few spangled emperors in the shallows of an unnamed reef with a few caught in the deeper water. The afternoon saw conditions reducing to no wind by 1700 hours and quite a few coral trout caught in the deeper water [25 to 40 metres], with Peter Doyle catching an excellent 18 kg blue spot trout. This was one of the best caught off Kanimbla and unfortunately it could not be revived despite ongoing efforts at resuscitation. Steve the chef caught a 15 kg Spanish mackerel off Kanimbla. Reg caught a few good trout and Pud, Cyril and Brian got a nice number of sweetlips. It is noted that various fishermen were photographed with Peter’s trout and it can only be speculated as to how many stories about the fish I caught will be told at certain points around Australia. Faux pas of the day went to Kevin Nott who attached his reel to Brian’s rod and did not identify the error till we searched all the rod tubes and checked all rods before his brother pointed it out his mistake to him. That night we fished off Kanimbla and caught sweetlip. New comers; Berne and Nick Coady started to realise just how powerful reef fish are – as they lost a few battles.







On Monday we had an easterly of 5 knots and before we left Kanimbla, TJ’s baitcaster was spooled of 300 metres of 10 kg line – probably a spanish mackerel. All dories were manned and found that excellent trout [2 kg to 3 kg] were in the 25 metre to 40 metre region on the outside of the reef. It was one of the best days for trout that Kanimbla had experienced, and all were in prime condition. There was no swell and little chop that made this day the highlight of our trip. The afternoon was not as productive, however the conditions remained fantastic. Fish of the day went to Brian Baker for a 5 kg green job fish.


On Tuesday morning the wind remained at 10 knots and we maintained a good quantity and quality of fish.  Bruce caught a number of sweetlip just before Kanimbla moved to Big Sandy Reef – in anticipation of a change in weather. That afternoon the catch in the shallows was poor – opposite to our experience of plenty of fish in June last year when we got in excess of 200 packs per day for 3 days.  Wind strength grew to 15 kts by nightfall. Appetisers consisted of Prawn and Coriander Vietnamese Rolls, and Coral trout Wings – so scrumchious!!! The main course was coral trout and it was noted that no one had brought their bathroom scales – very strange!!! Fish of the Day went to Pud Pullen for a 3.5 kg coral trout. That night Pud, Cyril and Jeff submitted themselves to Steve’s barberous skills and ended up with bald heads. Also we caught a few squid and Dave Frederick was well and truly inked by one of them [see photos].


Wednesday saw further deterioration of the weather with over 20 kts from the SE. It was choppy in the shallows at high tide. sweetlip and spangled emperor were caught in the shallows. That afternoon some of us took it easy on Kanimbla as showers were falling. TJ and Len, as well as Bruce and Reg caught just under half a tub at the entrance to the reef and in the shallows respectively. They also received some fairly heavy showers of rain. Fish of the Day went to Bruce for a 3 kg spangled emperor.


Thursday saw 25 kts of SE wind with white tops and rain everywhere; hence only 2 dories went out in the morning. Few fish were caught and TJ and Len took a wave over their bow and ended up with a little quick bailing. That afternoon saw the rain easing and all dories headed out on the low tide – much calmer.  A variety of sweetlip and trout were caught. That night we elected to leave for home after breakfast on the Friday morning. Fish of the day went to Trevor Nott for a 2.5 kg coral trout.


The trip home was quite acceptable with a sea on the port side. We arrived home at 11 pm and had a good sleep before driving or flying home the following day.


Fish of the Trip went to Peter Doyle for his magnificent 18 kg blue spot coral trout.


Total fish were 454 packs plus 32 whole trout.


The captain and crew were thanked for their usual fantastic efforts.


Bruce Robson

12 April 2009.