Part 2 – GT & Reef fish mayhem on the Swains – Great Barrier Reef with Wilson Fishing & Big Cat Reality Charters – FEB 2021

Hi fishos, last month I covered part 1 of my Swain Reefs trip on board Big Cat Reality Charters with Wilson Fishing. This month I cover part 2 which was filled with more epic fishing and great memories. With an action pack 4 days fishing that was to follow part 1, it would be impossible to cover everything in this article so I will cover a few of the memorable moments that stood out.

Day 3 we found ourselves situated at Centenary Reef on the upper northern area of the Swain Reefs region. It was blowing a solid 20 knots so we opted to try something different and fish the top of the reef flats on the morning high tide. This would give us an opportunity to test out the new prototype Venom surface lures to see how they would perform.

For this style of fishing we were using a combination of ATC Virtuous spin reels and Shimano saragosa spin reels with 50lb line. These were matched to venom 40lb-60lb Stick Bait rods which are one of the most versatile rods in the range and purposely designed for this type of fishing.

Over the course of the next few hours we caught heaps of red throat emperor and coral trout which made for some excellent fishing and great fun. When you’re only fishing in a couple metres of water or less, the fish fight extremely hard and it doesn’t take much effort for them to go straight back into the reef and bust you off.

Satisfied with our results on the reef flats we decided to look at the front leading edge of the reef to see if could entice a GT. Soon as we arrived we could see good amounts of bait showering out of the water so I positioned the boat for Dane to cast a 220mm Zerek Zappelin Stick bait straight into the zone. Within a few seconds of the lure landing, the water erupted and the Stick bait was absolutely smashed. The fish headed straight out into deeper water which a surprise and Dane soon had a healthy GT boat side which was quickly released. By now it was time to head back to Big Cat for some lunch and also welcome the arrival of Wilson owner Graeme Wilson and general manager Kord Luckus. Due to commitments they couldn’t join us for the first half of the trip so they flew in on a seaplane to ensure they didn’t completely miss out. That’s commitment.

The next couple of days consisted of the same ordinary weather but we continued to chase GT’s on stick baits and poppers which produced plenty of good sized specimens before chasing reefies around the main reefs. One morning we had an awesome session on the edge of reef line in 20 to 30mtrs. I was using the 6” Zerek Live Cherabin and 5” Zerek Live Shrimp and more often than not they were getting smashed before they reached the bottom. I was pulling nice coral trout one after another with some nice coronation trout and red throat emperor also in the mix. The outfit I was using for this was an ATC Virtuous spin reel on a Blade N Tails 15 to 30lb rod which was an awesome match for this style of fishing. Dane was using the 80 gram Mustad wingman jigs with a slow twitch technique close to the bottom. This was also resulting in nice trout, red throat and spangled emperor one after another.

Using these techniques around the reefs is really effective and can out fish bait at times for a few different reasons. You have less by catch of smaller unwanted species, more of a natural presentation, you can catch fish faster and you tend to get a lot less snags. One important factor I should mention is the importance of positioning the boat directly over the top of where you are working your plastic or jig to maximise the lure technique and action. This means putting the boat in and out of reverse to keep the boat in a stationary position or so that you move at a similar speed to the current.

Throughout the coming days we continued to move south through the swains with our last destination being Turrum Reef. Along the way we fished a heap of new reef systems and pulled heaps of arm stretching gts and reef fish including a nice cobia on the mustad wingman jig.

On the final day we headed off in the tender to a reef we had not fished yet. It looked great for gt’s with heaps of current running over it and loads of bait present. The next couple of hours was something I won’t forget in a hurry. Not for the fact I caught heaps of huge gts but for the fact I had my butt handed to me as gt after gt made me look silly with multiple bust offs. The strong current running hard up over reef and bombies made it difficult to extract them in this location particularly when some of these fish were true monsters. We kept persisting and managed a couple around 25kg before it went quiet so we moved out into deeper water to try our luck one last time for some red emperor.

After sounding around for a while I found some nice small isolated rocks in 40mtrs of water in the middle of nowhere. This was prime red emperor country and we both dropped down mustad jigs to see what we could extract. A couple of twitches off the bottom and we were both hooked up to quality fish. I think we barely got to 5 to 10 seconds into the fight before both of our fish got sharked which was so frustrating. We rigged up and tried again but unfortunately the same thing happened again which was hugely disappointing and knowing we would only waste more fish to the sharks if we kept trying it was decided that we would drive away and make our way back to Bigcat to load the boats and head home.

A huge thanks to Wilson for organising this epic trip and also the crew of Big Cat Reality Charters for working tirelessly day after day to look after us and ensure everyone had a great time. 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.

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.

For Part 1 our trip click here –

The video to Part 2 of our trip is below: