Tag Archives: australian


Early in 2006 found Viking II heading south for it’s season in Port Stephens. Our ever popular cost of fuel only trip from the Gold Coast to Port Stephens where we troll the continental shelf of NSW presented some great fishing for Warrick, Tony, and big Mike. The boy’s had a ball catching all 3 species of Marlin as well as some quality yellow fin.

Port Stephens again proved itself to be an outstanding destination, my regular fly fishing clients were kept busy on the long rods with the perfect size stripers and blacks and were blown away by the odd nice blue.

Conventional tackle clients had some big days, with double figures and the odd grand slam not uncommon. But without a doubt the biggest highlight of the Port Stephens season was winning the NSW Interclub Tournament Champion boat Tag and Release. Kim, my hard working wife, was relieved of her mother and office duties to fish this tournament. And fish it she did, taking out not only champion female angler, but also champion angler over all. A feat never before achieved by a lady. I achieved a personal milestone in my career, having now won this tournament four times as captain in the capture as well as the tag and release divisions. Again a feat never before achieved.

Four of the Billson’s Blue water Sport fishing Workshops were held in 06. Two in Port Stephens and two on the Gold Coast. As always these were highly successful. Held over weekends these workshops are not only for the new comers to the sport but also for the experienced, yes I can teach some old dogs some new tricks. Click here for this years dates if you want to join the fun!

I had a break from the fishing program for a few months this year, to refit the charter boat Mauna Kea. The Mauna Kea had been purchased by good friend Jeff Jennings, well one thing led to another and I found myself back using my old trade’s tools again, refitting the whole engine room and designing and overseeing the installation of its new tower. A lot of hard work but I am more than happy with the end result.

The Viking II departed the Gold Coast in late August for my 20th Giant Black Marlin season as a Captain and the 40th anniversary season of the first black Marlin captured over 1000lb. We kicked off on the 7th September and found there was no shortage of small to medium fish to keep the clients entertained. By the middle of September we had released our first nice one. Simon Atkinson the angler was ecstatic over the capture, and the boats first nice one for the season put smiles all round.

The 40th Anniversary Tournament with its 65 boats made it one of Cairns largest ever tournaments. Anglers Henning Hassle, Nils Christian Foss from Denmark who had been so successful in a previous Lizard Island Tournament were trying there luck with me again. The boys took 3 days prior the 4 day event to get there hand in. At the end of a tightly fought tournament the Viking II came in second place to Mauna Kea. (I knew I spent too much time on that refit). Never the less a great tournament, and a good result. Congratulations to Jeff and the boys, and my team.

Robert Ell and his team from Sydney were back again, their 4 day trip produced 24 bites for 10 releases. We had a ball too Rob.

Matt Sanders, and Greg Beard, mixed up a spear fishing trip with their marlin fishing, 3 days of marlin fishing for 6 releases and no shortage of trout for the table.

Beau Kuok another regular, normally a Lizard Island guest, this year decided to experience staying on the reef live aboard. Beau enjoys fishing the reef in the mornings and employs his Chinese cooking skills to prepare the fish for lunch. His steamed coral trout or red emperor is to die for. Beau still managed to average a Marlin a day during his afternoon session and will be spending more time on the reef in the future.

The Lizard Island tournament rolled around again Murray Hansen and the boys from NZ utilized the comfort of a mother ship for the 7 days, and put there trust in me to give them a result.. I have won this gig 4 times prior but this year was not my year. The boys were great sports and we had plenty of laughs. You know what they say the sun doesn’t shine out of the same dogs arse all the time.

I had to leave the Viking to Capt Steve Haygarth ( Hoggy) to run for 10 days while I attended to some other commitments. Hoggy has done many seasons with me and he did a great job for clients Michael Hayes and friend and Jeff cooper and friends. I saw the video footage and believe some of the fish released during this time were well over 1000lb. Good Job Hogg.
John Houghton and mate Steve Woods took 6 days at the start of November. John celebrated his 50th birthday on the reef, Steve got a 900lber and John caught his share of smaller fish.

Bruce Yancey did his second trip with me, and utilized the Atlantic Princess for his Mother ship. I must say at this point that the AP’s service and food is second to none on the reef, and our 3 nights were thoroughly enjoyed. Bruce still has not been lucky with a nice fish, but wins the party animal award every time.

Richard Draper, Chris Hevelston, John Staley only took 3 days but got real lucky, 2 over 900lb and 4 in total. This started a nice little roll for us.

Roy Sayman also only took three days, but caught 8 fish including one over 800lb and one over 600lb. By 14:30 on Roy’s last day, we got an early mark; Roy was a little worn out to catch another one.

The husband and wife team of Bruce and Laurie Bosley took 6 days a wonderful couple who were passionate about their fishing. They were rewarded with 10 fish for their trip, and each achieving a dream of 2 big ones around 900lb.

Regular’s Paul Kelly Uncle Doug and Rodney, love there bottom fishing and light tackle and had a great first day with a 20lb red emperor and 40lb Spanish mackerel. When the marlin baits were put in Uncle Doug hooked up to a sea monster, the big fish took its toll on Doug who is not a big man, he looked a little relieved when after a succession of unbelievable jumps the big fish got rid of the hook. Still puffing after the first encounter, Uncle Doug, who is not a fit man. (Sorry Uncle Doug) was on again this time to a 500lber on steroids. I will say one thing about Uncle Doug, what he lacks in size he makes up for in heart. The boys each caught a marlin and plenty of other action on the other tackle.

Jim Wild and friends were to finish off my season, we were on 95 fish for the big fish season and sights were set on the three figures, alas it was not to be. I took a punt and went out wide to the sea mount, plenty of big Wahoo and Dorado and bait but no marlin, a missed opportunity on the way back in, and one fish on the edge was our finish. Jim and his mates were great guys and loved their trip.

2006 was over 82 days of heavy tackle marlin for 96 fish, I think close to top boat we had some great times with you guys and hoped you enjoyed our company and efforts. Thank you so much.

Viking II fishing report 2002

Undoubtedly the 2002 season would go down as the most amazing year that I have experienced as a charter boat Captain.

The year started off with Viking II traveling to its southern destinations of Port Stephens and Ulladulla. Our first charter was with a guy specialising in fly fishing tackle chasing world records. Tom Evans, from America, was targeting striped marlin, blue marlin and black marlin with fly fishing tackle with the emphasis on trying to achieve world records on the individual tippet classes. At the end of Tom’s charter we had achieved 2 amazing feats; the first being the largest striped marlin ever caught on fly fishing tackle. The fish weighing 104.7 kg, 231lb, blew away the existing world record and created a new benchmark for the 16lb 8kg tippet class. But the fish that got the world talking happened on the last day of Tom’s charter. We were out wide in the canyons east of Port Stephens looking for blue marlin, when the fish appeared behind the long teaser lure. The blue marlin attacked the lure and managed to get teased close to the boat. Tom did his usual perfection cast and the blue marlin engulfed the fly. After 20 minutes of the most spectacular fight between boat, fish and angler that anyone could witness the fish was gaffed. The atmosphere on the boat was electrifying as all on board knew that we had achieved an amazing milestone not only in saltwater fly fishing history but in general sportfishing achievements.

Our results out of Port Stephens were not only constrained to saltwater fly fishing; many clients caught some magnificent fish on 16kg and 8kg conventional tackle. Captures of blue marlin upwards toward 200kg on 15kg were not uncommon and striped marlin exceeding 85 kg on 8 kg line class were also caught.

Viking II returned to Cairns in June and continued operating light tackle sportfishing charters out of Cairns.

The Heavy Tackle Marlin Season which Cairns is famous for finally came around in September and from all reports up and down the reef it was going to be a great season. The first tournament for the Heavy Tackle season was held in late September sponsored by the Mediterranean Shipping Company and after 4 days of hot competition Viking II came out winners and was champion boat for the tournament. Angler Patrick Helmy from New Caledonia took out the award for champion male angler and went back to New Caledonia $20,000 richer.

This was a great start to our heavy tackle season but it didn’t stop there! All clients fishing onboard the Viking II had some outstanding fishing with many catching their first 1000lb marlin. The Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic which is known as one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world circuit was again won by the Viking II. We tagged 24 Black Marlin and weighed one fish in this 7-day tournament. Some very large fish were released, the largest of which I estimated at over 1200lbs, anglers Dave and Daniel Bedford and their friend Terry Kuzma, from Canada, could not believe the week they experienced. This was the second time in consecutive years that Viking II has won this tournament and we have now won it a total of 4 times. No other vessel can come close to these results.

A full commitment was made this season to the use of circle hooks. With more and more people keen to release even the big fish it is imperative that these fish be released in good condition. The use of circle hooks certainly assists this and we have refined our technique to achieve over 65% success rate with these hooks.

Gary Carter from America chartered the Viking II for 10 days with the emphasis on targeting black marlin on 16lb 8kg and also 4lb 2kg conventional tackle. Although the world record fish was not caught our results were staggering. Gary had 5 fish on over 800lb on 16lb 3 of these fish would have easily been over 1000lb. We also had numerous long battles on the 4lb tackle and came extremely close to capturing a 400lb fish on this tackle. With the fish only metres away and in trouble we had a control cable failure and we were not able to get the boat to the fish on time. It was Gary’s first experience of the Cairns Black Marlin fishery and to say that he was impressed would be a total understatement.

Towards the tail end of our season the number of our fish that we had released was getting into the 90’s and we were starting to think about the possibility of breaking the milestone of 100 fish for the season which has rarely been done before. When our last day finally arrived, the 5th of December, we were sitting on 97 fish for the season. An early bite and early fish put us on 98. Another fish at 3 o’clock in the afternoon put us on 99. We were thinking how long would we have to fish that day to catch the 100th fish. Obviously after an 80-day marlin season the boys and I were quite tired. So with light fading at the end of our last day of our 2002 season, the reluctant call was made to bring in the baits. Then the unbelievable happened. While the last bait was being retrieved only metres away from the boat, I thought I saw a shape under the bait. I yelled from the tower, to “free spool” and 15 minutes later a 350lb black marlin was released giving us our 100th fish for the season.

A remarkable ending to a remarkable year.

A day trip a week later resulted in a 400lb black marlin being tagged and released giving us 101 black marlin for the season.

Viking II’s Statistics

101 black marlin for the season
100 black marlin released
1 black marlin weighed
24 fish over 700lb
3 fish exceeded 1000lb
10 double headers

Champion Boat both tournaments

2000 Giant Black Marlin

Season Update

Viking 11 is currently fishing off Cairns for the 2000 Giant Black Marlin season and again proveing to be one of the top boats. With the season only half over the results have been excellent with Viking 11 again finishing in the top 2 boats in the THE LIZARD ISLAND BLACK MARLIN CLASSIC a tornerment Viking has won twice and placed in consistenlty including a 2nd place last year. This year Viking 11 came within literaly a few minutes of winning again eventualy finishing in 2nd place on countback a close and exciting result for US Anglers Rodger Torino and Rich Hassberger who tagged 5 fish during the tornerment including 2 over 900Lbs in one day!!

Other notable captures so far include a 960 pound Black Marlin caught and weighed by Bruce Morehouse of South Carolina USA and the release of a monster 1100 Lb Giant Black by a very happy David Palmer of Texas. In total Viking11 has released or captured 2 Marlin over 1000Lbs and a 5 over 900Lbs for its lucky anglers so far this season and the season still has a long way to go! Viking 11 still has good slots available for the 2001 giant Black Marlin season and remember that in the new year Viking 11 heads south to the exciting grounds off Pt Stephens NSW for the southern season with limited bookings still available
if you act quickly.

Viking II commenced fishing out of Port Stephens in the last week of January 2000. Already the fishing from the previous week’s report was red hot. We were keen to concentrate on bait and switching as this time of year produces vast quantities of striped marlin. Our hook up rate on bait and switch runs close to 90%.

The Port Stephens area has a prominent tournament season. Our first tournament we finished my good friends Alan Bridge, Dennis Goldspink and Rob Southhall. The boys normally fish on Alan’s boat however Alan’s new boat is still in production so the tournament was fished on the Viking II. The boys were happy with our results, coming in 2nd place with tag & release of black, blue and striped marlin.

Some of my Japanese anglers wanted to have a go at switch baiting but instead of switching the fish to take a live or dead bait, they decided to attempt to get the fish to take popper lures being cast just on thread line outfits. It was very exciting, we raised 11 fish, again black, blue and striped marlin. We hooked 4 but only managed to get 1 to the boat; a blue marlin around 300lb.

Other tournaments Viking II fished while in Port Stephens area were the Broken Bay Invitational, the Port Stephens Shootout and the largest tournament of it’s kind in the southern hemisphere; the NSW Interclub Tournament. We took our Champion Boat in this tournament last year and came very close to achieving this feat again but we were “pipped at the post” by just 2kg. We were more than happy with 2nd place result after last year’s win.

A 1st place in the Broken Bay Invitational, in the Light Tackle Tag & Release section, added to another very successful season out of Port Stephens this year.

Port Stephens attracted many international anglers this year, some targeting the perfect sized billfish on fly and others attempting to enter their name in the IGFA World Record Book utilizing ultra-light tackle. Some of the results were remarkable with new world claims for black and striped marlin on 2lb, 4lb and 6lb line classes. I am sure you will hear more of this remarkable fishing in up and coming fishing bulletins.