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  • Swains Reef Fishing Charters

    This North Queensland trip is testament to the maxim that good things come to those who wait after a weather aborted attempt at the same trip almost three years ago. This time our arrival at Agnes Waters and the Town of 1770 just on dusk presented an ocean resembling glass, a distinct lack of wind, and all the remaining hallmarks of a great adventure. Take 8 guys, a skipper, a deckhand, a 45 foot vessel and add the southern waters of the Great Barrier Reef and you have a recipie for ocean adventure. It is hard to accurately capture a week at sea, so this story will predominantly rely on the trusted digital SLR camera.


    The trip was with 1770 James Cook

    DSC_0014   The MV James Cook is a 45 foot steel hull fishing boat and the first of five nights was spent alongside loading fishing, surfing and eating supplies for a week at sea. A decent sized steak at the local pub was followed by an early night in preparation for a 5am departure out of 1770 marina bound for a surf break surrounded by fishing hotspots (for which the coordinates and names shall remain unpublished). At first light the prevailing conditions, namely glass seas and no wind, became quickly apparent with Tim, our skipper for the week, quick to highlight the unique nature of the conditions in these Queensland waters acusstomed to annual high winds. IMGP2040 IMGP2052   After four hours of steaming on glassy water, the MV James Cook arrived at a surf break greeting us with 3 foot waves breaking over plate coral. With half the guys surfing and getting smashed by this powerful wave in the middle of nowhere, the other half started the fishing session quickly landing a range of small reef fish but nothing of significance. The MV James Cook sleeps six below deck, two more in the wheelhouse, another two on the aft deck and the crew on top. After the first day’s fishing and surfing it was time for snacks and a sunset drink with most stories revolving around near clashes with the plate coral on the surf break with little to brag about by way of fishing. IMGP2041IMGP2054 The journey continued and we awoke to the smell of toasted ham and cheese sandwiches on a morning equally calm. The overnight mooring turned out to be a great fishing spot and we managed to land a dozen decent Trevally before breakfast. As the morning progressed the fishing began to pick up and what would later become the prize fish for the trip, two decent sized Coral Trout, were landed in quick succession by brothers Ross and Scott. Coral Trout are one of my all time favourites in terms of their fighting ability, appearance and table value. IMGP2078IMGP2090 IMGP2093 As the sun set over another day in paradise the weather slowly began to change with a late afternoon wind generating some slightly rougher conditions. The initial conditions were a bonus and it was time to prepare the vessel for 2+ meter swell an increasing winds which peaked up around the 30+ knot mark. IMGP2161


    The rougher conditions didn’t seem to scare a pod of dolphins content on repeatedly crossing the bow. They played with the boat and put on a decent show for around half an hour. In the relative shelter of another island the tender was launched and it was time for snorkeling, spear-fishing and the chance to look for crayfish. The day’s underwater events would make for sunset stories of two meter sharks and of course, the one that got away. IMGP2272 IMGP2287   Mornings seemed to keep producing pre-breakfast numbers of Trevally and decent sized Bream. For these I opted to use the NT Barra gear consisting of a Shimano Core overhead reel and three piece Shimano travel rod. Some of the Trevally were up to 2kgs and having previously been a skeptic of three piece travel rods, I give the Shimano full marks. Catching Trevally on light gear really is great fun and fishing becomes that much more enjoyable when you know you can rely on the gear. IMGP2176 Each day produced a wide variety of reef fish including Red Emperor and a range of less desirables. Trolling large lures and sliver spoons between each fishing spot produced the occasional pelagic including a Bonito (a less table friendly relative of the Tuna) and a decent sized Trevally. Most species were photographed and released and the days produced a steady flow of fresh fish snacks on board. IMGP2318IMGP2118IMGP2139 The weather quickly deteriorated and as the afternoon’s fishing followed the same direction, one of the guys really did hook the one that got away. This was a serious fish and the battle lasted over an hour ending after a final run under the boat. If Neil ever hears the words “lift and wind” again… IMGP2252IMGP2373IMGP2142 The nights at sea seemed to disappear pretty quickly and ss we motored back into 1770 marina everyone was in high spirits. It had been a sensational week full of surfing, fishing and diving adventures. On the fishing front, we by no means bagged out but in terms of variety and consistency, this was a great angling experience. The MV James Cook is a professionally run charter operation and full credit goes to skipper Tim and deckhand Ben. The week was perfectly administered, the food was great and the vessel provided the perfect platform to explore the southern tip of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. IMGP2138


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    Swains Reef Fishing Charters


    Contact Email

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    Contact Number


    Contact Address

    Captain Cook Drive Town of 1770,Queensland AU 4677

    Departure Location

    -27.939338 153.372937