Sweers swelling with options
  |  First Published: March 2010

Our wet season has been a bit of a quiet one with not much happening after Cyclone Olga left.

The usual scenario of some roads becoming passable as others were flooded has allowed the locals to get out there and catch some nice barramundi and king salmon off the beach without any competition.

We have had two separate prawn runs in the river and this has kept the fish biting. Most people have caught their bag limit of five barramundi within five days, which is pretty awesome.

The efforts of the SES, Police, Carpentaria Shire Council, Skytrans, Carpentaria Fuels Barge and the community in general have kept our supplies stocked with no major dramas to speak of. We were fully prepared for cyclone Olga and were happy when she went inland between Burketown and Karumba.

The cyclone left behind some very dirty water and shut the fish down for two weeks. But when they turned on it was absolutely glamour.

I went on an awesome fishing adventure with some other recreational anglers and we had a ball catching barramundi on lures with yours truly being busted off twice on big fish only to see Chris in the other boat get a barramundi to wait patiently after being hooked for him to untangle the line from around the prop before coming to the net. The fish measured 125cm.

Looking ahead, April is a great time to be up here as the weather starts to cool and the water temperature is still hot enough to have the barramundi biting theirs heads off.

Along the front of the End of the Road motel towards the windsock from the airport is great place to catch barra on live bait with the added benefit that there will be plenty of king salmon about as well.

Grunter should start to show up now and along the edge of the channel is the place to look. Remember to not anchor in the channel as that is a definite no-no. One tinny owner got a huge shock when he looked around to see the Barge coming around a bend in the channel and his fast reactions prevented a possible accident from occurring.

I would like to thank Bills Marine from Cairns for helping me out. I had my Lowrance GPS stolen from my boat in Cairns and they replaced it with the latest HDS system that is amazing. It goes to show that they really do go that extra mile.

Karumba Community Anglers Classic

Our fishing competition is on again on 10-11 April with over $20,000 dollars in prizes and gear to give away.

There are draw prizes to be won and you don’t even need to catch a fish to participate and win them. The kids are well catered for with their own sections and everyone will have an awesome time.

Book early if you’re looking for accommodation as rooms can be hard to find on the weekend.

Anaconda are our major sponsor and along with Erskine tackle from Cairns and all our business houses in town helping out it is going to be an event not to be missed.

The Normanton Barramundi competition is also on at Easter so contact the Albion Hotel for full details on 07 47451218.


It’s been a big wet season in the Gulf, with monsoonal storm activity continuing into March. Although this might frustrate those trying to get through to Karumba by road, it’s not a problem for aircraft flying into Sweers Island.

The first guests are due in late March. By April things should be well and truly underway and visitors will have plenty to look forward to.

The coastal rivers got a good flush out during the wet and this brings nutrients out to the waters around Sweers Island. Fish have been active around shore and reefs, obviously breeding up well, with tiny unidentifiable fingerlings darting around everywhere, becoming number one in the food chain.

With the barra season underway, now is your chance to catch that elusive ocean. Ocean caught barra jump and perform just like their river neighbours, but many people say barra from the sea taste even better.

The best bait to use for these, is a popper, soft plastic or shallow diving lure. You can walk down to the rocky shore just metres from the lodge, or you can go out in a boat and cast back towards the rocks where they seem to like patrolling. Mick or Tex will point you in the right direction.

Reef fishing is good at this time of the year too, with a smorgasboard on offer, including coral trout, cod, fingermark, venus tuskfish, blue salmon, red emperor, sea perch and the ever-ready little sweetlip. After 20 something years sweetlip are still Lynn’s favourite eating fish and size doesn’t always matter either (except for legal limits) as even the little sweetlip taste delicious.

The tides are still big at this time of year, so if you are chasing big jewfish or queenies at some of the fast-flowing headlands and channels, make sure to have plenty of sinkers on your line. Alternatively choose a time when the tides are slacker. With just one tide a day in this part of the Gulf, that’s not difficult to do!

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