Imagine a trip to the Swain Reefs on a fully catered boat with excellent facilities enjoying fantastic dory fishing every single day. Well, that is exactly what we did on the Capricorn Star out of Yeppoon this year, pre-COVID lockdown. Swain Reefs trip
The trip started with a glassy sea all the way on the 250km run to our destination and finished in identical conditions on the way home. For anyone who hasn’t been to the ‘Swains’, it’s an exceptional fishing experience – even for someone who has been there many times over the years, I still looked around and pinched myself every single day of each trip. Swain Reefs trip
The experience is enhanced when you have a sensible skipper who knows the water thoroughly and is supported by a well-drilled crew. That is one of many reasons why we enjoy doing the Capricorn Star trip, and Scotty Wilson the owner and skipper has a lifetime of experience working as a commercial trout fisher before spending the past 15 years charter fishing this area for his clients. His delivery is very professional.
If the weather is good out on the Swains, then it is dory fishing every day. The dories were small aluminium centre consoles, equipped with the necessities of safety equipment, anchor, a brined icebox and plenty of cutting boards and bait. A colour sounder and VHF radio to communicate with the mother boat and the other craft in the group rounded out the package. You are free to fish the reefs within a generous range of the Capricorn Star and dead set, Scotty knows your exact location the whole time.
This year, George Baumber and I fished the dory with newcomer to the crew Andrew Baumber and we developed a great fishing partnership. Before each session we received a detailed briefing from Scotty on where the various sections of shoal, drop-offs and pressure points were around the reef he had chosen for us to fish, and we donned the now mandatory inflatable lifejackets before setting off to make our own luck.
On the first morning in the dory, we started off doing something similar to what we had done previously – working the weather side of the reef and probing the deep drop-offs for big trout, redthroat emperor, parrotfish and the elusive red emperor. We were also very happy to move about and work the fast-flowing water around the pressure points and generally do our own thing. After the first tide change, George suggested we head into the shallow edges and anchor up.
We lost a bit of gear in there initially and observed Andrew was having more success on long casts of unweighted bait. Casting a long way across the tide and watching for the bait to get smashed further down the line, as it sank into the zone where the trout and redthroat would rise up and take it, was looking like a lot of fun.