Saumarez Reef '02
23rd - 30th March 2002
Shane with a nice wahoo from the Swains (thanks Jason for the pic)
I was feeling a little apprehensive toward the weather in the days leading up to this trip. A slow moving high pressure system was sitting over Victoria pumping up south easterlies up to 30knots and still hadn't budged much by Saturday our departure date. I was expecting a change of plan. Saumarez Reef was looking doubtful. Bruce, our skipper was more optimistic and as it turned out his predictions were pretty well spot on. We headed straight to the Swains Reefs, a vast reef system which provides shelter from any wind.
The 160km overnight trip was a long one for a couple of our less fortunate sailors who were seasick but overall it wasn't too bad. Kanimbla being a big cat was very stable in the sloppy seas. The Swains, as promised, was a perfect sanctuary and all had their colour back in time for breakfast.We fished and dived several different sections of the Swains managing quite a good catch of reefies such as coral trout, redthroat and a few red emperor by line and spear while those who chased pelagics took spanish and shark mackeral, yellowfin,mack and longtail tuna. By night our anchorage was always perfectly sheltered and those who had tired of fishing enjoyed socialising in the lounge or back deck. Sleep usually comes easy and most hit the sack before midnight but special mention must go to Paul and Dave, our 'night watchmen' who set some sort of stamina record.
The awaited lull in the weather finally came Tuesday night so we took advantage and made the 100km run out to Saumarez. We would only have two days but nearly everyone had been here before so knew where to go and what to do. The fishing was good as always although the pelagics were a bit quiet. The current was flowing quite differently to usual and I think this had significance. We still caught dogtooth, yellowfin,cuda,jobfish, GT and wahoo on the troll and various reef fish on the bottom. The one full night at Saumarez was spent anchored over a small pinnacle of reef that had produced phenomonally for this group a couple of years ago. Once again it was on for young and old. Green jobfish and big japanese sea bream bent everyone's rod and kept the crew busy filleting for an hour or two before we had tired of the action. We could have pulled them in all night but I think everyone respected that we had plenty and left them biting.
Back to the Swains Thursday night. Friday saw some good fish taken by all. Shane went to the trouble to rig some small tuna as troll baits and was rewarded with a good wahoo and dolphinfish. His wahoo and one Maurie caught at Saumarez were probably the best fish of the trip, Grant boated a good GT, I took a 20kg+ spaniard which would have been PB were it not for it's propellor being nipped off by sharks during the fight.
Overall the trip was a big success. The weather was the most restrictive I've yet experienced but we still enjoyed great fishing in comfort. The party, for most of whom this was their third consecutive voyage, are from all over the country but now have become well acquainted and the trip has become a reunion of sorts. Socially it was excellent, made even better by the efforts of deckies Adam and Cameron and our chef Jason, who on his first trip showed he knew his stuff by preparing many delightful meals and snacks. And the skipper. Bruce as always highly professional yet easy going. Little wonder that we all will be back next year.
Above (from left) - Andrew with a pair of nice trout taken spearing. Enjoying lunch between fishing. Adam and a good jobfish. (click to enlarge)
Above (from left) - Geoff with almost a big spanish mackeral. Buddha's excellent coral trout. Pete with a nice spangled emperor. (click to enlarge)
Above (from left) - Maurie was pleased with his wahoo. Paul with a bait stealing triggerfish. Jason and a yellowfin that made delicious sashimi. (click to enlarge)