Recently I was invited by Wilson on a 10 day trip to the Swains Reefs on board Big Cat Reality Fishing Charters. This was a product testing exploratory trip into the middle and upper regions of the Swains where we would self-guide our way around 25 plus different reef systems. We had Mark Berg and winning member Phil on board filming a TV show and also a great bunch of talented fishos to share the trip with as well. Being a 10 day trip with 6 days fishing it would be impossible to cover the highlights over one article so I will break it into 2 parts so I can go into a little more detail.
The 30 hour trip out from Bundaberg was a little rough but we woke up in glorious conditions for our first day of fishing around East Cay. This trip I was teamed up with Dane Radosevic from Fisho’s Tackle World Hervey Bay which was great as we both had similar ideas and plans of what we wanted to achieve.
We headed off in one of the 4.3mtr tenders supplied by Big Cat and went looking for pressure points where the current hits the front leading edges of the reefs. This is where bait often congregates and GT’s love to inhabit. It didn’t take long to find what we were looking for and in no time at all we caught some nice GT’s, got busted up and had an awesome aerial strike from a spanish mackerel all on 220mm Zerek Zappelin stick baits.
When the top water action slowed up we got into the coral trout on mustad wingman jigs before heading to another reef in perfect glassed out conditions. The next reef looked even better and we could see bait being pushed up against the leading edge of the reef and predatory fish feeding on them. The next hour was insane and a moment both Dane and I will never forget. We had GT’s and Mackerel swimming around and under the boat in crystal clear calm water. Dane nailed a nice gt second cast and it wasn’t long before the 220mm Zerek Zappelin stick bait I casted was smashed on the surface by a really big gt. I had the pe8 venom popping rod loaded right up as the fish pulled plenty of line against a heavy drag so I had a feeling this was a special fish. When it finally hit the surface we saw its true size and celebrated with cheers and high fives. I was well and truly worn out and with 0 knots of wind it was easily the hottest conditions we had ever fishing in so catching big gts really took its toll.
Once again we moved to another reef to get some air flow and find a fresh spot to fish. More Gt’s were caught on Zerek Zappelin stick baits and also some coral trout around the reef edges on Mustad jigs and Zerek Shrimps. One trout I was pulling up got eaten by a gt under the boat which made for a long fight on the lighter tackle I was using. Unfortunately a shark took a big bite out of the gt right under the boat before I can land it. Talk about fish eat fish moment.
The next day we were fishing another new location and I had marked out an area that I thought we be suited to red emperor. It was a fairly large area of flat looking country in deeper water of around 60 odd mtrs. After catching some trout, rte and green job fish around the main reefs we went sounding in our chosen area. After a couple of hours I found a great show on an isolated rock and I was confident we found what we were looking. I had caught a hussar on a jig earlier and decided to take some fillets off it and drop it down on a paternoster rig. Dane opted to use a mustad wingman jig and it wasn’t long before both of us were hooked up on some big fish. Unfortunately Dane pulled the hooks on his fish but soon hooked up again only to be sharked not long after. I was still pulling mine up but unfortunately a shark bit its tail off under the boat but I was still happy we got majority of the fish back and confirmed they were indeed nice red emperor. Unfortunately that’s where the fun stopped as every red we hooked got eaten by sharks and after several attempts we decided there was no point wasting good fish and had to drive away from them.
The afternoon was spent chasing Trout, red throat emperor, green job fish, coral cod on plastics and jigs around the reef edge but once again the sharks found us and ruined all the fun. The first 2 days fishing was crazy on so many levels and this would continue for the remainder of the trip which I will cover in part 2. Click the link for part 2 – https://wickedfishing.com.au/2022/03/18/part-2-gt-reef-fish-mayhem-on-the-swains-great-barrier-reef-with-wilson-fishing-big-cat-reality-charters-feb-2021/
If you’re interested in doing a trip with Big Cat Reality Charters jump on their website and have a look what’s on offer. I promise you it will be a trip of a lifetime. https://www.bigcatreality.com/
You can find all the products we used on this trip at Wilson Fishing. Find the product and part number and get your local tackle shop to order it in for you if they don’t already have it in stock. http://www.wilsonfishing.com/
Full video of Part 1 below