CAIRNS DELIVERS BIG GIRL SEASON
By, Captain Billy Billson
26 Giant Black Marlin seasons as Captain of Viking and Viking 11, yes I have experienced some amazing fishing, and as I rekindle the memories of the season just completed, south bound for home to the Gold Coast, the realisation that it was certainly up their as one of the best, or if not the best season for large and very large fish I have fished, became aware to me.
Seeing the first big fish of a season, certainly makes you realise were you are fishing and what you are fishing for. This happened on the second day of my first charter of the 2013 season. Normal privateers from the big Riviera “Jag” Mick and Deano, decided to charter this year, and left Jag in her berth.
Our first day was fruitless, although a large fish mark on the sounder, certainly got my interest. 2nd day we headed for the Ribbon reefs with a spread of lures in tow, A 250lber broke the Ice, and we settled in to working the opening between 3 and 4 ribbon for the afternoon with some baits, the big fish bite happened at 5.00pm, she game up from the depths fast and aggressive and crashed the Scaly Mackerel bait. All went perfect except she managed to blow it out, without the circle hook finding its mark. The boys were still very excited by the action, and it was nice to see our first big fish this season.
Some more small fish action kept us entertained, until the start of the boys last day. The baits were in the water less than half an hour, when we came tight to a real nice one, Deano was up, and he got his first true taste of a Giant Black Marlin on the Barrier Reef. Deano’s peak physical condition from years of training drinking the amber fluid, soon took its toll on the fish. It is always entertaining to see unbelievably fit anglers like Deano doing battle with large fish. Our first fish over 1000lb for the season was released, and congrats all round was halted as the bait being put back out got eaten by a 800lber, Mick jumped in the chair and before lunch we had already had a great day, with 2 quality fish, and our first grander for the season on the board. Cooktown for changeover and a toast to Deano’s first grander.
Regular lucky client Dave McPherson was next up. Dave past record is impressive to say the least. Mutable Grander releases including 2 well over the mark in a day. This year Dave wanted to make a movie of his trip so bought along Brett Richard for the movie camera, and Chris Yu from Fishing World for the stills. Dave Macpherson’s first day on the reef resulted in a 250lber a 500lber and our second fish well over 1000lb for the season, Dave gets a tattoo of a large marlin on his arms or legs for every time he get a grander, he is quickly running out of room. More action on small to medium fish took lucky Dave’s tally for his 4 days to 6 fish.
Charter No 3 and our three Texas clients got what they had travelled all this way for, on day 4 of 7 a truly big girl left a hole in the water as if a bomb had exploded on top of the stinger bait, this was a very fat and healthy fish and I had no trouble calling her over 1100lb a tough fight with magnificent jumps, and our 3rd Grander for the season was released.
The Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic was next with my regular clients Jim Wild and Rick Pollock on Board from Canada. Jim and Rick have experienced the pleasure of being the anglers one of the 5 times I have been fortunate enough to win this prestigious tournament. Day 4 of the 7 day event was our day, Heart break corner on No 10 Ribbon reef again proved to be a great fishing hole. A Double header in a heavy tackle tournament can make a quick adjustment to the score, but with heavy tackle everything has to go your way. One angler has to fight a fish with a heavy duty stand up harness with a 130lb chair rod, while we try and catch the fish with angler in the chair as quick has possible. The double header we hooked at Heat break was not going to give us the break we needed this time, Jim lost his balance and the rod touched the covering board, now that fish would not be a legal capture, the call came to cut him off so we could get after Rick Pollock’s big fish, another great fight and another great fish released our 4th grander for the season. Our day was not over and an 850lber for Jim Wild had us in the hunt with smaller fish caught on previous days. But day 4 was ours for Champion boat Day 4. Another 850lber for Jim Wild on Day 7 which was the last fish in the tournament put us in the top 10% for placing, with our big fish results we were more than happy. .
Charter No 5 Newcomers Paul Harper and Matt Smith joined us for 3 days, Day 1 the score is a 350lber and a 850lber, Day 2 and Paul releases our 5th 1000lb plus fish for the season, this trip was already a mind blower for the boys first time on the reef, and the performance of Pauls fish had us all overwhelmed. It looked like our luck took a big turn for the worst when the port motor just stopped for no reason the morning of their last day. We had to fish on one motor until the fault was realised. Yes Murphy played his part and yet another very large fish created a large blue tube of oxygenated water as it ate the mackerel tuna being skipped on the left rigger. One engine a very large marlin it was time to put the 26 years of practice into play. Fortunately the fish made all the wrong moves and we made all the right ones and we had our 6th fish over 1000lb for the season what a cracker 3 day trip for Paul and Matt. I did a MacGyver on the Port engine and got it back to life, and yes back to Cooktown for another debriefing and cocktails.
In 26 years as skipper of Viking and Viking II in the Cairns Black Marlin Season, I have never had a run of big fish as I have had so far this season. We have fished 25 days so far and have caught 10 fish over 800lb and I totally believe 6 of those fish were over 1000lb.
Charter No 6 my business partner Beau his wife Ying and friend Gee arrived from Hong Kong for 6 days. I was happy to have a rest from the cooking chores utilising the mother ship Aroona. Beau and Ying enjoy reef fishing in the mornings and light tackle, so the marlin fishing is kept to the afternoons. I could not have been more pleased when my Good friend Beau released our 7th grander of the season. Not to be outdone Gee in just another hours of trolling was hooked up to a larger than large black marlin. It was an extremely tough fight and this wise fish new all the tricks, and after 2 hours even though we had the leader early, but could not get the release, the 650lb leader had chafed through. It was a big effort by Gee but he was more than happy with the experience.
Charter No 7 past contenders Henning Hassel and Nils Christian were aboard for 6 days, and we got amongst some nice fish again, 3 over 900lb, the highlight of the trip was day 3, a 900lber a 950lber and a 650lb fish, and all fish performed like you would not believe.
Charter No 8 I was joined by my mates from the Gold Coast, Joel, Stuart, Colin and a laugh a minute, Ashleigh, for 4 days. The action finally slowed and the boys managed 3 fish for the trip, great reef fishing, and of cause good mates having a few cocktails in the evenings. The last day was the highlight we got a double header on fish around 700 lb, one of these managed to escape, and when we got the other alongside, we were amazed to see the other identical fish swimming with his mate, both fish lit up like Christmas trees, a wonderful sight.
Charter No 9 Back for a second trip this season is my business partner Beau and we settle into the same pattern as we did on Beau’s first trip, plenty of reef fish trout, red emperor etc, the marlin fishing had slowed for the whole fleet, we went wide with the lures searching, and got a blue marlin around 350lb the last day Suzy a young female friend of Beau’s family had allot of fun on a active 500lb Black.
Charter No 10, some more close friends from Brisbane arrived, Ben Gripski, Dad Paul and business colleges. Again the fishing was not red hot but considering what was happening 4 fish to 450lb not bad, the boys also love to spearfish and had a ball in the mornings.
It finally came around the last trip of the 2013 season, Herve and Daniel from Abidjan Ivory Coast, Daniel had weighed a Blue Marlin over 1000lb in his younger days and on the bucket list wanted the black. The boys only booked 4 days at the end of the season, and for these lucky anglers our big fish run kicked back in again for the finally . First day a 950lber second day an 800lber third day the monster over 1100lb and last day well a rest. What a way to finish, myself and wonderful crew, Westy and Carl, were tied but so pleased as to the results, The anglers who spent so long in the plane to get a crack at a large black, were so impressed they are already looking at next season. A great party at the dock with other boats that had just completed the season that evening followed, and we were rewarded by many great comments on the special season we had just completed.
Big fish results Viking 11 Cairns 2013 season.
18 marlin over 800lb
14 marlin over 900lb
9 marlin over the magic 1000lb