Swell fishing at Sweers
  |  First Published: June 2009

Wow what a month June was, with Karumba and Sweers Island both firing after the great flood.

July will fish well for most species, with Spanish mackerel numbers improving as the water temperature hovers around 18ºC. The winds have taken a while to adhere to the normal pattern of southeasterlies in the morning and northwesters in the afternoon, but by July winds should be more predictable. This will make the mackerel fire out the front and grunter and blue salmon great targets in the systems.

With the wind sometimes blowing for long periods, targeting grunter in the river is a great option. Grunter can be found near the Wreck just past the port site or further up near the Power Lines.

Barramundi can be hard to catch at this time of year but they are a viable option if you know where to look. When searching for barra, I head up the coast to different systems. I have found the key to success is to head up the system until you find warm water (24ºC) and then start trolling. The barra will be around so you need to be patient and keep changing your lure until you find one that works. Robert Erskine from Cairns turns up occasionally and he knows how to catch the big ones. He can be contacted at Erskines Tackle in Cairns and is always willing to help.

Another productive fishing lcoation is the old bridge over the Norman River at Normanton. The best time to fish is after dark, as the lights on the bridge attract the bait, which the king salmon and barramundi then follow. It’s good to let the lights work for a couple of hours before turning up. Live bait is the go in this spot but prawns can work as well. There are facilities there to fillet your catch so come prepared.

The markers out to the fairway are always worth a try for golden snapper but remember to keep out of the channel and away from the big boats and their wake. Bait and lures will work, but lures are my choice in this location. Try Halco gold Scorpions and Classics in the 120/125 versions.


In June I spent some time on Sweers Island with Tex and Lyn Battle and was blown away with the awesome fishing. The huge flood has had a positive effect at Sweers with fish willing to be caught in big numbers. I have never had such hot sessions – you only had to drop a line in the water to start catching heaps of quality fish.

We caught black jew up to 1m, golden snapper to 75cm, nannygai to 55cm, sweetlip to 53cm, tuskfish to 48cm and various cods and more. I also chased some Spanish mackerel on lures with one caught and three released prematurely.

Glen Grams from Baysports boats and Alan Blake were also at Sweers and they caught some nice red emperor as well as the usual species. My suggestion is if you are planning to go fishing this year then make it Sweers Island as the place is red hot after the flood.

There were some early teasers in April, with the first Spanish mackerel weighing in at 10kg. Since then there seem to have been two average sizes – the 6kg brigade and the 10kg brigade. That was topped in late May by Rodney Peters from NSW who bagged a 12kg beauty.

July is the true mackerel month so most fishos are concentrating on the heavy gear, hoping to land one of the 20kg plus monsters that were so prevalent last season. The weather has generally been good, with extended periods of light winds enabling boats to get right out to the reefs on the eastern side of the island. It’s a complete contrast to the foul weather on the east coast of the continent!

Lots of regulars have been coming to help celebrate the resort’s 21st birthday. The great fishing of Sweers hasn’t changed over the years, and this year is no exception with good catches of red emperor and sea perch, parrotfish and some really big black jew and sweetlip.

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