Swear by Sweers
  |  First Published: May 2009

Due to the awesome flood, normal fish movements have been delayed by approximately a month.

This has meant that May was firing as a big barramundi paradise with plenty of huge fish caught and released. One lucky bloke on charter with Lance Butler had the honour of catching three barra over a metre in four days.

I also had a good May session on barra with a couple of mates, except it cost be a G.Loomis crankbait rod. My mates, Big John and Andrew, snapped the rod in two pieces whilst attempting to retrieve a lure from a snag. Luckily, Rob Erskine from Erskines in Cairns replaced it through the G.Loomis Expediter system for next to nothing.

The weather in June is always fine with lovely warm sunny days making fishing a very friendly time, provided the southeasterly winds don’t blow too hard.

Spanish mackerel should be around with their smaller cousins in good numbers. These fish are a good option on bait. A pillie on ganged hooks floated out in the current with some berley will get the job done, as long as you don’t break the berley trail. I would recommend the out side of the sand island as a good place to fish and on the calm days you will have a great day. Make sure you use good gear with a decent amount of line as a Spaniard’s first run can easily be over 200m.

Going out 20km to the rubble patches is also an option for those with bigger boats. However, do be careful as the sea can become rough within a short space of time when the wind starts to pick up. You should also be able to catch grunter out there, with squid and prawns for bait.

Another option is to troll poppers and lures on the outside of the sand island for queenies and spotted mackerel. This is usually a lot of fun as you will see them take the poppers. Most people use a wire trace but I use a mono 80lb trace. Occasionally I lose a lure or popper but I believe my hook-up rate far outweighs the loss.

Please do not travel at speed within the harbour anchorage. It is not only illegal and will warrant a fine but it is also very uncomfortable to the people at anchor. Likewise, do not travel fast within 50m of slow moving or stationery boats at any time.

Hopefully people will remember to pass to the starboard side of boats going in the opposite direction. This is different from driving cars on the road where we keep to the left or portside.


It’s party time over on Sweers, with the resort celebrating its 21st Birthday on May 5.

Since 1988, the facilities have gradually improved, and the many guests who’ve been coming to the island since the resort first opened can confirm that the fishing has improved over the years. Visitors to the island in May were rewarded with fine catches of coral trout, red emperor and quite large sized sweetlip.

It was a long hot summer, but fleet master Mick confirmed a drop of 4ºC in water temperature in the last week of April, which brought the pelagics on the bite. Tuna boils were sighted off Locust Rock while the gutters round those rocky headlands made for some interesting hook-ups of queenies and mackerel. Don’t forget the big macks in the Gulf are serious fighters with serious fangs, so take care when handling them and hopefully you’ll avoid the betadine bottle.

There are several favourite spots for macks in the Gulf: along the edge of the reefs off Locust Rock; south of Fowler Island; and, of course, the 20m jew hole is always a popular place to sit and wait for them if the prevailing southeasterlies are blowing a bit hard out on the reefs.

The standard technique for locals is to lower bait to the sea floor then raise it about 3m and wait for a Spaniard to grab it on his way through the gutter. Off the reefs, the recommended tackle is a good strong trace with a fresh garfish or a sturdy lure. Colour will depend on the mood of the fish on the day, or what the salespersons favourite colour was the day you bought it…we think the fish are all colourblind anyway!

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