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Charters › Blue Water Heavy Tackle

The Cairns region has long been recognized as the Black Marlin Capital of the World with the area stretching from Lizard Island in the north, to just south of this beautiful modern tropical city, the envy of many fisherman.

Black Marlin More 1,000lb+ black marlin are caught in these waters each season than all the other known grounds put together. The region is regularly rated the number one gamefishing region on the planet. For the full story on the movements of these monsters have a look at the target species pages.

With such a diversity of gamefish right on our doorstep, its no wonder that a thriving charter fishing industry has developed using Cairns as its home port.

Billfish Many years ago the famed Lee Marvin (American actor) returned year after year to target giant black marlin off our coast. It was guys like Lee, Col. Tom Parker -Elvis Presley's manager, local Aussie identities Bob & Dolly Dyer and fishing "Hall of Fame" members Jack Erskine and Laurie Woodbridge that helped proved the reliable existence of these monster fish.

They discovered that giant black marlin, some in excess of 1,000 lb did in fact return to our waters each year around mid September to spawn. The fish first connect with our waters around Lizard Island, approx. 300 ks north of Cairns.

They disperse down the ribbon reefs, past Cairns and Dunk Island and feed on the plentiful supply of tuna and Pacific gamefish here to do the same thing.Around mid December they head back out to the Pacific Ocean and head to far off waters.

Black Marlin Note: Juvenile marlin begin to appear inside the reef around April / May (stock from the previous years spawning) and average about 10 kg's. These fish follow the warm currents down the east coast of Australia and can be caught as far south as Sydney or even Bermaguie by February the next year and average 30-40 kg, aged one year old.

What makes our region so special however is the relative reliability of their return each season and the fact that the Great Barrier Reef, the largest fish attractor on the globe, is at its closest point to the mainland right off our region.

The Heavy Tackle season runs from mid September to mid December - it coincides with the return and departure of the giant black marlin as described above and it is also prime tournament time here in the Tropics.

Many vessels are booked out months, some even years in advance, and if your prime goal is to target one of these much sought after fish you had better be quick with your decision.


  • Heavy Tackle Black Marlin: From September to December the giant black marlin (up to 1000lb!) return to the waters off Cairns. Chase these exhilarating gamefish in comfort, with modern fully equipped vessels, quality equipment, and some of the most knowledgeable skippers found anywhere. Full day and extended live aboard charters are available.

  • Heavy Tackle Blue Marlin: The fairly recent discovery of blue marlin on the wide grounds has extended the above Heavy Tackle season by two / three months. These monsters (fish to 700lb have been landed off Cairns) can be targeted from December to March using similar techniques - the distances involved however in steaming to the offshore sea mount and various shoals means that this option is an extended live aboard charter only.

  • GT Popper Charters: Available year round but the best months are September through to March. One local operator boasts the impressive figures of 37 releases in a day (average size 15Kgs), by two anglers. The most released on a 2-day charter 59 and on a 3-day charter it is 74. Now that's backbreaking and exciting fishing in anyone's language, guaranteed to put a smile on your dial and a thirst in your throat.

Full day and extended live aboard charters are available. Please contact us if you would like some help in arranging a charter or an 'Up North' fishing holiday.

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