Our prayers for good weather were answered by a stunning three days of sunny sub 5 knot breezes and eventual glass out conditions on Sunday. Based on Friday’s weather and the forecast, it was an easy decision to head for Saumarez  Reef to the east of the Swain Reefs.

The group was a mixed one consisting of eighteen  from Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory. About half of the group were first timers to reef fishing. The trolling on the way to Saumarez was very quiet with only a lone small dolphin fish to show for our efforts. A wahoo was lost at the boat by a retired doctor whose name I won’t mention. The first stop was at Zenobia Rock for the Saturday afternoon session. Everyone   performed well in the perfect conditions and many good fish were fish were landed from the dories. Most of the fish were quality Japanese sea bream (otherwise known as white lipper), followed by numbers of red throat emperor (sweetlip), blue spot coral trout  and a sprinkling of trout cod and venus tusk fish. There were also large numbers of very small green jobfish punctuated by the occasional larger fish.

The Sunday saw a move north to the deeper drop off zone before fishing commenced. The day was gloriously calm and very productive with some real quality in the size of the green jobfish. The trolling, however, continued to produce meagre results although a wahoo was landed which turned out to be the only one for the entire trip. At day’s end Kanimbla moved to the anchorage near the Saumarez Light.

We fished the area around but mostly to the east of the light on Monday with good results in the morning session but not so good in the afternoon. The persistent trollers managed to boat some small dogtooth tuna in the deep eastern entrance but surface fish were notable by their absence. At the end of the day we set sail for Swain Reefs in the knowledge that the weather was about to change.

Tuesday morning saw the wind pick up to 10 to 15 knots at Sand Shoe Reef. The returns were moderate being mostly red throat emperor with occasional excellent sized coral trout, venus tusk fish and trout cod.

By Wednesday, the wind was gusting to 30 knots so a dory session was out of the question so we fished from the decks of Kanimbla with great success.

By Thursday morning we were at a location near the helipad at the south end of Swains in anticipation of the trip home. The wind was 20 to 25 knots for our last dory session and made fishing really difficult. Some of us tried the shallows for about and hour and a half without losing a bait before moving to the deeper water where we picked up the occasional red throat emperor. This was where Aaron, our skipper showed his experience and went out with one of our dory crews for what seemed like a just a few minutes and caught half a dozen red throats and a couple of trout in the lagoons. He explained that you must fish water which had tidal flow and he had picked the turn of the tide to make his kill. We had fished the same area with berley but in hindsight the berley was sinking straight to the bottom, indicating there was no flow and hence no fish.

Khang Le took home the fisherman of the trip trophy for his dogtooth tuna and spangled emperor around 7kgs. Rassie B again provided copious squid for a delicious platter of the salt and pepper variety. Our thanks go to Richard for bringing his luscious marinaded squab to share around.

Our thanks go to the crew for their efforts in keeping things running smoothly. It would be difficult to find deckies as good as Hadley and James2. There’s no way you’ll find a more capable chef than Steve. As for the always smiling Aaron, the skipper, we all appreciated the way he communicated and cooperated to get the best out of out trip. We’d be more than happy to go with this crew next time around.

See you next year,

Steve Ho

17 April, 2010