SWEERS Island is located in the lower half of the Gulf of Carpenteria just below Mornington Island. The major drawcard for me going to Sweers Island was the fact that there is a NO commercial fishing zone extending 30 nautical miles from Sweers. This could answer the nagging questions of how good a fishery could be without commercial pressure and it didn’t disappoint.
Up until recently the only way to get to Sweers was via private or charter plans from Karumba and you nearly always had dramas getting to Karumba, mainly in car troubles or connecting flights.
Well, how things have changed. Stepping in to fill the void was Bill Smith of Direct Star Services, based in Townsville. Direct flights to Sweers Island will probably be of most interest to the readers of NSWFM, although it also offers a wide range of fly-in fly-out holiday destinations.
But let’s get back to Sweers. Ten minutes after landing I hooked an extra large cobia from the beach! Still not impressed? How about a triple hook-up on our first troll, two coral trout and a gold spot cod? Got you yet?
That first session lasted roughly four hours with around 50m of reef covered before hook-ups were encountered. Yes, that does read hook-ups! Double hook-ups were that common we’d only get excited with the triples.
At the end of the day we had landed fingermark, coral trout, GTs, Spanish mackerel, queenfish, gold spot cod, barracuda, and one lonely batfish. Tired and fished-out, we returned to the resort for a hot shower, a cold beer and a meal I really couldn’t do justice to with my vocabulary – let’s just say brilliant.
After a night in the air-conditioning and a late finish the night before, an early start wasn’t something high on our agenda. Anyhow, breakfast isn’t served until eight o’clock and, believe me, it’s worth being around for the feeds they knock up.
Fully rejuvenated we headed off for day two. We worked mostly rock bars and shallow reefs casting our way along the coastline with the rising tide. We started out a little slow with half a dozen gold spot cod our only captures; boy, was that about to change! We hit a honey hole and my first six casts yielded fish, while all three of us were hooking up every second or third cast.
By lunchtime we really had our arms stretched by some tropical bruisers. Back again to the resort to refuel – boat with fuel and us with a delicious smorgasbord. We then headed out top a hole known affectionately as the 50-foot hole.
A full-on baitfishing session followed, and without any doubt I have never been busted up so quickly or fiercely before! Landing a fish was rare because of their size and the bottom of this hole was like a cheese grater.Again we returned to the resort to come up with a better game plan.
Wouldn’t you know it, we woke just in time for breakfast and headed out to try some shallow reef on the other side of the island. Again triple hook-ups were the order of the day. Everything seemed to come only in extra large sizes and our arms only got sorer. It was a sombre trip back to the resort one last time to catch our flight home.
My home waters just won’t be the same after this trip, nor will my tackle box. While on the subject of tackle, I suggest you take a selection of shallow and medium runners with a few deep runners to help cover as many options as possible. RMG Scorpions (90 and 120mm), DK Eyecons, Bounty Hunters and Koolabung live baits all proved very popular. I also suggest taking two outfits up – one with medium casting set up (if you are intending to throw lures) and a heavy troll/live bait set up.
This was my first trip to Sweers Island and it was relatively short (three days) compared to my normal sojourns. I can’t really say I know Sweers inside out, however, one of the beauties of Direct Star Services is that for no extra cost the pilot that flies you in will also show you the best fishing spots so you are not wasting time covering areas with your sounder to locate the fish.
A great advantage of fishing at Sweers is that you are treated like royalty. The boats – eight, 4.6m NQ cats – are pre-fueled and stocked with bait and basic tackle. They are decked out with all safety gear and a sounder and make for a very comfortable ride. Also, the island only ever has a maximum of 24 people, staying so there is no fighting for the best spot!Although this is probably not the five star resort the wife is after, the rooms are clean, comfortable, spacious and air-conditioned. They are serviced daily and the separate amenities block offers piping hot showers. The open style bar/eating area looks over the water and the meals are not only delicious but hearty serves for the hard working angler.
If you are keen for a trip to Sweers you can contact Bill Smith of Direct Star Services on 1300 559 995 or on the web at www.directstar.com.au or Bill can emailed at --e-mail address hidden-- - it’s well worth a visit!
1. John Coad caught this barra within 10 minutes of the boat hitting the water.
2. John was just about to cast his lure when a spotted cod took his hand line. He left the lure just in the water next to the boat – only to have this 5.7kg fingermark jump on it!Reads: 1980