Between September & December, Great Barrier Reef / Cairns

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Without question the 150 mile stretch of the Great Barrier Reef” between Cairns & Lizard Island” provides the finest fishing in the world for very large marlin.

The International Game Fishing Association (IGFA) keeps records of fish over 1,000 pounds captured utilizing equipment within the IGFA Rules. 70% of all marlin over a 1000 pound are caught off the Great Barrier Reef between Cairns and Lizard Island.


You have a better chance at catching a grander marlin in Australia than anywhere else in the world (by a significant margin). In fact, for every grander caught in the worlds big marlin destinations combined; the relatively small Australian fleet captures two. And the conservation ethic is very strong in Australia, so top-notch boats like Viking II release more1000lb marlin than they kill these days.

One can take day trips from the tropical tourist city of Cairns or from the exclusive resort at Lizard Island, and grander’s are caught each year by anglers on day charters. In fact a 1,218 lb beast was taken by an angler on a split day-charter out of Cairns on the Viking with Capt. Bill Billson.

But you increase your chances at the biggest fish by chartering a multiple-day trip and living on the reef, snorkeling, reef fishing, and popper casting, before your day of Marlin fishing, and relaxing amidst the beauty and solitude of the reef at night.

Anglers can either live comfortably aboard the game fishing boat or charter a mothership from 60 to 120 ft and live in luxury comparable to a 5-star hotel.

This allows anglers to follow the fish with the freedom to move where the fishing is best on the reef at the moment.

Generally fishing is better to the north near Lizard Island early in the season. Then the main ‘bite’ moves south towards the Cairns area the latter half of the season. Names like the 10 Ribbon Reefs, Linden Bank, Agincourt, Opal Reef, St. Crispin’s Reef, Onyx Reef, Euston Light, and Jenny Louise Shoals are legendary to the anglers lucky enough to have hooked into the giant marlin that populate the area.

The large fish are of course the main attraction, but Cairns are also famous for its diversity in light tackle sport fish. The morning’s bait fishing can give the anglers great enjoyment on light tackle catching such species as Wahoo, King mackerel, various tuna species, Giant Trevally and mahi mahi. This ensures fresh fish for the table and fresh baits for the big marlin. Of course, there is also a chance of a small black marlin or sailfish even while bait fishing.

In a typical season, a charter of one week generally provides a very high chance of catching a marlin over 800 lbs.  Chartering one of the most productive boats and Captains increases the odds in your favor, and Captain Bill Billson’s Viking II has proven itself as one of the top big-marlin boats in the world