Swains Reefs

Capricorn Star charter

19 - 26 July 2003


I had been looking forward to this trip with a mixture of eagerness and trepidation. Being a new boat and crew, and a mainly new group of guys I hoped there would be no problems and everyone would get along well. Then as the date approached, forecasts of 25-33 knot southeasterlies compounded my concerns.

I am pleased to announce my worries were unfounded, the boat and crew were great and everyone had a ball. Yes, it blew hard most the week and we were restricted to the Swains but the skipper found us some great sheltered reefs where plenty of good fish were boated.

The usual trout and sweetlip in good numbers and sizes, a big variety of other reef fish including several smallish red emperor, some huge chinamen, blue maori cod, tomato cod, green jobfish, longnose emperor, spangled emperor, etc etc. Pelagics included quite a few spanish (up to about 16kg) and shark mackeral, trevally, northern bluefin tuna and several dogtooth tuna up to an impressive specimen of 20kg or so, which were the first I'd seen from the Swains.

James, one of our small group of spearfishermen lost a speargun to a big dogtooth. The spearos made many fine captures including a great catch of crays, which, with some big calamari taken on line, formed the basis of a seafood banquet we enjoyed on Wed. night. Thursday we enjoyed an absolutely windless day, it seemed like a token gift from the weather gods before it began blowing hard again on Friday.

Thursdays lunch was had in a calm clear lagoon where we could appreciate an aquarium like view of the reef and a huge resident groper that cruised around the boat continually. The wind eased Friday night and we enjoyed a comfortable trip home.

Our skipper Tony worked hard all week in adverse conditions to find us comfortable fishing and diving and came up trumps, as well as cooking us delicious meals amid his myriad other duties. He was well supported by his great deckies Gavin and Mark who were on the go all day, but never stopped smiling. The boat was very comfortable and well fitted out although our group of 16 was possibly a little larger than ideal. All in all a great week and happy faces all round.

Above from left. Max with a couple of nice shark mackeral. Our deckie Gavin with a big chinaman. Gary, James and Pete with mixed pelagics including Pete's nice dogtooth tuna. (click to enlarge)


Above from left. Tyson and Dave with 3 types of coral trout. (footballer, leopard and bluespot). Simon and one of his several spanish mackeral. Trent and a nice jobfish (click to enlarge)


Above from left. A fine catch of crays which, with some huge calamari we caught, formed the basis of a seafood banquet we enjoyed on Wednesday. Some other delicacies were Gary's red emperor and Geoff's tomato cod. (click to enlarge)


Above from left. Matthew and Max with some little dogtooth. Jeff and his blue maori cod. Ross and a nice spanish mackeral. (click to enlarge)


Above from left. Red throats and coral trout made up the bulk of the catch. Ian with a nice example of each. Another glorious Coral Sea sunset. Simon and a couple of great spangled emperor.