Tag Archives: cairns

My Client has taken over. 26/11/2010

For all of Billy’s fans out there who are getting a bit tired of checking the blog and finding it NOT updated (like me!!) this is for you!

Bill finished an 8 day charter with Phil, Matt, Tony and Mick and the boys all caught fish for a total of 6 for the trip.  Phil had one hit the mark and after much debate, Tony’s Blue was approx 550-600.  I know the guys had a great time with many memories made.

We started a 7 day charter and the weather gods haven’t been too kind.  Day 1, no cigar (a nice 22kg yellowfin doesn’t count!!) but day 2 provided some joy with Steve catching  a 550-600 Black with two other bites not sticking.

More updates tomorrow – I promise!

The Viking 11 refit article. "Time for a change of heart" an interesting read

12th April 2009 

 Time for a change of heart.  Author Billy Billson

Time for a change of heart!


It is hard to keep up with the pace at which the electronic world is changing our lives. It seems that as soon as you have made the decision and purchased a new electronic devise for you boat, it has been replaced by another model, with more features, and abilities than what you have just installed.


The advancement of the electronic world has also instigated the many changes that we are seeing in marine engines.  Through the seventies being trained as a marine mechanic, I saw the introduction of electronics into the outboard motor industry, with Mercury marine introducing electronics into their ignition systems, of cause it had to come with a catchy name, and many of us would remember the thunderbolt ignition logo on the front of the black outboard, and the literature marketing this new fandangle system, bragging about 40,000 volts at the new permacap spark plugs and the end to plug fouling. Before long Petrol inboard engines started switching to electronic ignition, and the start of electronics being an integral part of a marine engine had begun.


Diesel engines though, which rely on no spark to ignite the fuel air mixture, and there already renowned reliability, remained stagnant in there basic configuration. Only the enhancement of turbo charging after cooling, and indirect injection, made the common diesel engine something more than it originally was.


The slow introduction of electronics prior the now well known common rail system had its share of problems.  There were stories going around of motors just stopping for no apparent reason at all and could not be restarted, boat captains who had tickets covering all types of marine engineering had no idea of were to start to look. The computer system or black box as they were commonly called was having a  hick up, The easy fix was to just reboot it, you know turn the power off and back on again. But a little scary if you were trolling the edge of the drop off on the Great Barrier Reef, within meters of the breakers, and 25 knots of trade wind on your beam. Confidence was lost due to this fact, as a boat Captain worth his salt could normally keep a motor running, even if he did have to use a bent hook, liquid steel and a bit of 040 wire.


Just before the introduction of common rail diesel engines and electronic fuel controlled and computer controlled engines, engine manufactures were having trouble dealing with the strict emission control regulations especially in the European Market. Fuel pump dampening to restrict the fuel rack movement, until the engine received sufficient air from the turbo boost, made engines very non responsive. And driving these engines on hot fish was nothing more than frustrating. Great responsive engines such as 555 big cam Cummins, 3208 Cats, and the 92 series Detroit’s were becoming a thing of the past, and so was the smoke signals we received when these engines were given the power sometimes needed for maneuvering.


Computers are now common on all marine diesels, whether it be a common rail system engine, or one of the other combined electronic and mechanical systems.


So what is common rail, as the name suggests there is a common rail that acts as an accumulator to feed fuel to all of the injectors. Fuel is supplied to the rail by means of a high pressure pump, which can obtain fuel pressures up to 2000 bar (over 29000 psi). This pressure is regulated and monitored by the electronic diesel control (computer or Black Box) Electronic injectors are also controlled by the electronic diesel control as to the timing and amount of fuel supplied to the injector. Some injectors such as the Piezo type allow for very short and rapid fuel delivery, with up to 7 injection cycles per engine combustion cycle. All of these components are interconnected by the electronic Diesel engine control unit, and gather a seemingly endless  source of information by means of input sensors such as, engine speed, oil pressure, engine temperature, fuel temperature, throttle position, top dead centre reference, rail pressure, start of injection, charge air pressure, charge air temperature,  and fuel temperature. Well what does all this mean and what does it give me compared to my old faithful clunker? Well here it is in a nut shell, much greater fuel economy, largely reduced exhaust emissions, greater power to weight ratio, cleaner starting, less noise, and a much more responsive engine, than the dinosaurs of yesteryear.


The electronic world has also introduced variables to some existing fuel systems, not all new technology engines utilize the common rail system,  but have opted to design a system, which best suits the engines requirements.  The Celect fuel system by Cummins is one of these systems, and is used in there popular QSM11 range of engines. CELECT is a full-authority electronic fuel system. That utilizes unit injectors with high injection pressures and infinitely variable timing to improve the fuel combustion process for lower emissions while providing improved performance. Engine timing can be advanced during starting conditions to reduce smoke and improve transient response, as well as, retarded at rated conditions for overall maximum emission performance, fuel economy, and durability. The Celect unit injector design utilizes electronics as well as an optimized camshaft to increase midrange fuel pressures to high injection pressures.


My boat Viking 11 reached her 10th birthday last August and it was time that I made a very big and of cause expensive decision. To rebuild or repower! Being a charter boat operator it is imperative that I have reliability and with the sort of hours that were starting to build on my original 183TE92 MTU’S, and my projection on how long I plan to operate the boat, a choice had to be made. At first I was going to rebuild as I held many parts from another motor that were in good shape to assist in this, and I would do the work myself in the off season, definitely the cheaper way to go. But I was being bombarded on information on how great these new technology engines were, and as we all would remember the rising price of fuel last year, had us all wondering what the future would bring.


Unfortunately for whatever reason some new design engines turn out to be lemons and spend more time with the hatches up than down, spending the amount of time I do on the water I get to here the worst of these, and it often takes more hours than the average private boat does a year to bring out the inherent problem issues in some new engines. Of cause the engine companies are very reluctant to wave the flag, and you really have to have your ear to the ground to become aware of lemon models.


One motor company which I have heard very little complaints with there engines is Cummins and over the last 5 years the QSM11 Range of motors has being used in many of the Charter boats up on the reef.  O’Brian Boats of Townsville has being using them exclusively in there 47ft sport fishers which are primarily built for the Cairns Marlin fishery

These boats do the miles in various conditions to truly test an engine. And if you speak to any of the Captains who run boats with these engines, they cannot praise them enough. The big thing that kept me envious, was what I was hearing about there fuel efficiency, to me it sounded nothing more than unbelievable.


So after a couple of meetings with the sales staff at Cummins Mercruiser Diesel at the Gold Coast that big decision was made. Two QSM11 were ordered, and plans were made to pull Viking 11 out of the water for a major engine room Refit. With the help of mate Brett Alty and Crewmen Peter McRae, I would take on the project of removing the old MTU’S, retrofitting the whole engine room, and installation of the new Cummins, so that Viking 11’s engine room would again become a glamour to behold.


It was a exciting feeling, knowing I was giving this Frank Woodnutt classic custom 46ft sport fisher a new lease of life, with another 100hp a side and all the new technology that was coming with the package. One thing about a epoxy built custom boat is that they can become ageless as long as engineering, electrical, and electronics are kept to current technology, and of cause the same can be said about some of the classic production boats of the past, that in many cases are better built stronger and have better sea attributes then some of the current lightly built models of today


We had the old motors and generator out in the first day, and started the process of removing all old engine harnesses, instrumentation, fuel lines, and virtually everything that was not going to be part of the vessel anymore. As I was involved in the building of Viking 11 in 1996 and 1997, and now having a second go at the engine room, the old adage if I had the time again I would do it different came into play, and there were things that I did want to do differently. But first the fared two packed engine room had to be bought back to its original condition, over the years through necessity I have picked up the spray gun, and although I wouldn’t advertise myself as being a spray painter I manage to keep my own boat tidy. The gleaming snow white awl gripe finish set the platform for all of what was next.


The old copper fuel lines were replaced with stainless tubing and blue stainless braided flexible lines.  The Racor primary fuel filters were re-sprayed and repositioned forward of the engine room as all the service filters on the QSMII Cummins are mounted forward. The configuration of the fuel system was changed so as the rear tanks only had suction and return lines through the fuel manifolds, and a transfer pump bought fuel from the forward tank to the aft tank via the return fuel manifold, a much simpler system.


Copper bilge piping was repainted, and a new engine driven pump installed and new piping fabricated to match new engines and existing bilge manifold. The Two way 240volt oil change pump was also mounted forward close to servicing areas of engines, and a simple manifold installed to allow quick oil changes of engines, gearbox, and generator.  Flexible red Ortec hosing was used from this manifold suitable for oil and suction, contrasting the colors of the other piping in the engine room.


The Cummins electrical harnesses are have all push in male and female connections and a well marked to make it quite simple to connect. It is a tidy brilliant system that is easy to follow, our biggest hurdle was accessing the archways and getting the wiring to the bridge, overhead consul, and tower, an extra pipe to the overhead consul from the bridge consul had to be installed but this added an extra handrail as well and does not look out of place.


To keep costs down I revamped the old ZF gearboxes which were rated to 600hp which was the rating of my QSMII, It also made the fabrication of the new engine footings a simple process. All of the newly fabricated footings were also sprayed with two pack, and the Barry mounts used by Cummins were installed ready for the new engines.


My Mather’s electronic controls were still used, with no changes needed for the gearbox cables, to the boxes. Cummins supplied the adaptor components which the throttle control cables connected to, changing the mechanical movement to a electronic signal to the engines computer, as well as engine synchronization.


The generator was moved from forward in the engine room to the aft, which made all the service areas on the Cummins much more accessible, and moved weight aft, another benefit to the boat, and made the service areas of the Cummins more accessible as for the generator.


The original fiberglass exhaust system and pong box meet Cummins specifications, so as all that had to be changed there was the inlet tail repositioned to meet up with the new exhaust outlets, and the old holes blanked off.


As we were running the same boxes and the Cummins top end was 230O rpm compared to the MTU’S 2100 rpm it was calculated that only half an inch of pitch would be added to the  four blade Teignbridge propellers.


We had the QSM11 Cummins being lowered onto the mountings 3 weeks after the old motors had been removed, and after some other paintwork on the boat and general yearly maintenance, had Viking 11 being lowered back into the water one month after it was lifted out. Final engine alignment was carried out and the Cummins technicians were notified that we were ready for a fire up.


It’s a great feeling after running a boat for ten years with a certain power plant, to than have that boat repowered with more horse power, a different torque curve, and a whole new feel about the boat.  Of cause it was a exciting moment when the QSM11,S first came to life, the note out of the Two 8 inch exhausts sounded totally different than the previous engines, They almost sound like a Ford big block V8, a very crisp note, and like a petrol engine their was no smoke. The Cummins tech connected his laptop to the engine sensors, and we prepared the boat for its first sea trial.


The motors are set to idle at 600rpm and are always in sync, they also have a low idle setting at 550 rpm, 2 cruise settings, and a on off switch for the synchronization. We idled out of the marina and the boat and motors felt smooth and the boat had no low speed vibration, which was the first plus as a comparison, the distance between Gold Coast City marina and the Broadwater is a long hall at the best of times at the maximum speed of 6 knots, but my keenness to test these new engines made it seem that little bit longer. The last no wake sign passed the port side, and I pushed the hammers down, The QSM11,S  leapt to life and Viking 11 jumped out of the hole quicker than it had ever done before, no smoke no turbo lag just clean response, another big positive comparison. I was starting to see what all the talk was about.


Cummins diesels, have formed a alliance with Mercruiser and use their Smart Craft technology for engine monitoring, a daylight color screen monitors everything you could ever want to know about your engine, from the basic temperature and oil pressure, to fuel usage, engine load condition, and engine room ambient temperature, to name just a few. Viking 11 got  two 28.5 Knots into 20knots of southerly and the RPM reached 2350 at 95% load there was possibly room for a little more pitch, but as the boat is used for live aboard charters on the reef, and has to carry a fair bit of gear I thought we were on the money.


After all the testing that was required for the engines to be signed over, I was starting to realise just how different the boat felt and responded to how it was previous. My trip to the Barrier reef for the Marlin season, showed a comparison in fuel burn that was remarkable. Here are some of the statistics.


Viking 11 before refit fuel burn.                                           Viking 11 after refit fuel burn.


8.5 knots.  900 RPM  24 LPH                                             8.5 Knots 875 RPM 16 LPH


20 Knots  1875 RPM  145 LPH                                          20 Knots 1850 RPM  128 LPH


21.5 Knots  1900 RPM  154 LPH                                       23 Knots  2000 RPM  146 LPH

Cruise for previous engines                                                Cruise for Cummins engines


25 Knots 2150 RPM  200 LPH                                                    25 Knots   2100 RPM  168 LPH

Full throttle previous engines                                                       Top end cruise Cummins


                                                                                                      28.5 Knots 2350 RPM

                                                                                                      Full throttle Cummins 


Viking 11 has now clocked up over 1200 hrs since August last year, and the decision to repower was the right one. For a sport fishing charter boat operation it means I am able to do extra days on the same amount of fuel I would burn previously. Other major advantages include, Less engine Vibration at low speed, No smoke, No soot over boat or in cabin, Paint work lasts longer, minimal pollution to water and atmosphere, Happier clients.


Port Stephens late bite

26th March 2009

Viking 11 is back on the Gold coast, and available for all charters, The black Marlin season here was the best for many years and also the boats looking for the Big blues were not dissapointed. Great Marlin PicOur season in Port Stephens was a little slow compared to the double didget days, of previous years but we did manage to keep our numbers up with some big blues up to 600lb, I still have the use of a 50ft custom for fishing the waters off Port stephens and of cause as soon as I pulled out of Port Stephens The Stripe marlin bite that Port Stephens is renowned for started. We can offer very competitive rated for fishing either the Gold Coast or Port Stephens so lets get together for some great fishing for either Black, Blue, and Striped marlin.

Some nice fish for some nice Guys.

Hello boys and

Well on the Viking 11 not much to report on the marlin front, with the wind still very strong and good friend and regular client Beau Kuok happy to do light tackle for spanish mackerel and get amongest the trout before the reef closure. From the rest of the fleet Capt Jared on the Sharka let go a solid 850lber in the middle ribbons,  and New boat Watchdog with Capt Crusty at the wheel let go a very healthy 700lber on Lindon Bank, The Current is still going to the north which is not what we really need  but It is about to change. The wind is being a pest, but as we know in this game we have to take the good with the bad. Their has being some patches of small fish up to 400lb, and if in the right spot at the right time catching 3 a day is possible.  Thats all folks.

Told you it was going to be a cracker season

Hi folks,

Well the reef is doing what it is famous for, producing big fish, already their has been some giants released, up and over the Magic thousand lb mark, I started regular client the infamous Paul kelly yesterday and we had a cracker 2 hour session as soon as we put the baits in the water. Tagging 4 Black marlin to 350lb. marked the big girl but she did not interupt her smaller friends from their feasting. A lot of fish now are starting to arrive and it will be a big season

2008 Major Refit of Viking 11

Well I have a bit of news, and to be honest after 25 years af being a sport and game fishing boat Captain I was thinking about a change, But I can’t do it, I love it to much. I have recently come out of Hospital, sorting out some health issues, and very happy to say all is good, and  that I am feeling very motivated. I have decided to repower the mighty Viking 11 with new engines and give her a big birthday. Told you I was feeling Motivated, and set my goals for another 10 years at least in the industry. The re-power will not only give the Viking 11 a new lease on life, but myself included.

I have decided on Cummings QSM11 Engines at 600hp which should give her a 25kt cruise, and a much better fuel burn with the common rail engineering. It is all starting after the Sanctuary Cove Boat show.

I am going to document  the whole programe on my Blog so keep in tune Their will be plenty to lean for those thinking about a re-power. I will also be letting you all know why have decided on certain products. 


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.


The Cairns heavy tackle marlin season was again another beauty for us, our circle hook techniques are still proving hard to beat, and for the 3 rd consecutive season we have been in the top boat category.

We started our season in early September, with the Jeff Jennings Generosity Tour. Jeff is one of my regulars whose generosity and of course good business sense, shouts certain colleagues a trip to the reef. His generosity was rewarded with some great fishing off No 10 Ribbon Reef catching 10 marlin for his trip as well as Large Dogtooth Tuna up to 50kg and Spanish Mackerel up to 40kg. Jeff also picked up a few new orders for his business.

We than started our giant marlin site seeing tours, fishing 2 weeks using a mixture of fly fishing tackle, light tackle, and poppers to catch sea monsters. As usual as soon as you put out the teaser baits without hooks the big ones nailed us. My Japanese friends Moto and Hiro had some amazing stories to tell when they got home. Long fights with marlin close to 800lb on 20lb tippet, fulfilled Hiro’s dream of seeing a giant marlin eat a fly. Moto’s 4 hour fight into the early night in 25 knots plus of breeze with a 650lber hooked on a popper, was a feat in itself especially as he got washed off his feet more than once. Both boys experienced blown away fishing.

The big guns came out again and clients Malcom Summers, from the UK, Kevin Cook and his team from the Gold Coast, and Matt Sanders and his 3 mates, all chartered five days separately up to the 16 th of October and had a ball. 25 black marlin up to 800lb were tagged and released.

The Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic rolled around again, our first day was beyond belief, 3 fish over 950lb jumping on the leader, we managed to get a tag into 2 of the big fish, with the 3 rd breaking the leader just before the tag found it’s mark. A 450lber just before knock off on the first day set us up for another great start in this prestigious tournament.

The fish kept coming for Henning Hasle and Nils Christian Foss from Denmark, and again we were in contention for yet another win. On the 4 th day Henning Hasle from the USA hooked up on a nice one which had plenty of length and could put him in contention for largest fish. We elected to keep this fish, but unfortunately the fish lacked condition and only pulled the needle down to 970lb still a nice one but not beating the 1060lber already weighed.

At the end of the 7 th day we had caught the 2 nd most fish, our weighed fish could not go against our tag score, to officially put us as second, but we were still more than happy with our results. We had won two of the days and runners up for champion male angler. This makes our results over the last 4 years in this tournament quite amazing. 2001 Champion Boat, 2002 Champion Boat, 2003 Runner up Champion Boat, and the 2004 results. No other boat can come close to Viking II’s results over the years in this tournament.

While I am on the subject of the results
Our popular Sport fishing work shops are on again this April in Port Stephens, one weekend is already full so get in quick. As a special offer this year, one person from each workshop is invited to come aboard Viking II for a week during the heavy tackle season as my guest, to learn the ropes up there. THAT’S RIGHT FREE. Just have to get yourself up there. All details on the workshop can be found on our website www.australianmarlin.com

Tracy Melton from Melton International tackle again joined me up on the reef this year. Tracy has caught a 1000lb blue marlin on standup and was chasing a Black. We came close one about 900lb maybe 950lb, gave Tracy a hard time, but he did an outstanding job keeping 45lbs of drag on the whole time. Beautiful fish, swam away real healthy after the tag went in. Love those circle hooks.

Well we didn’t get our 100 fish this season, slowed a little in November due to excessive long periods of calm weather.

We topped out at 83. I think only one other boat may have beaten us, so I can’t complain too much. We were well above a fish a day. Considering the days we were playing around with light and fly fishing tackle, it was still a great season. I was more than impressed from the emails we received after the season (see below) .

We left Cairns on the 11 th December, south bound for Port Stephens. I think the best trip I have had with winds behind us most of the way, and some great fishing as well. From Lady Musgrave Island to the Gold Coast we were having consistent Marlin and Sailfish bites, mixed in with quality Wahoo and Mahi Mahi, and a grand slam down the NSW Coast.

Remember you can come on a section of these transfer trips, for only fuel and food costs, many have done it and loved it.

That’s about all for now folks hope you all have a great year, and some special fish come your way. We hope to see you soon aboard the Viking II

Capt Bill

2001 Giant Black Marlin

Season Update

The 2001 Giant Black Marlin Season will go down as one to remember. In total there were 8 marlin weighed over the magical 1000lb mark and 4 of those 8 fish were over 1200lb with one very close to 1400lbs. Congratulations to the following anglers:

Craig Caughlan 1389LB
Adam Atkins 1288LB
Norm Ennis 1260LB
Jack Owens 1256LB
Hugh Wiley 1170LB
Max Warrick 1070LB
Parke Berolzheimer 1058LB
Steve Chicolo 1025LB

But more importantly there were over 30 very large fish released. Cairns leads the world for the release of large marlin and is pioneering the use of circle hooks and sonic tags to assist in the preservation of the species.

The Internationally renowned Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic, was run over 7 days, 21st to 27th October. No other tournament on the calendar can boast the results of this tournament since its inauguration, and the 2001 classic was no exception. New president Bob Lowe did an outstanding job in the organization and running of the Classic, and with the help of major sponsors the Caughlan family and Firth Insurance put together a tournament to remember. As always the tournament promotes tag and release and it has become a Captain’s etiquette not to keep a fish under 1000Llb. The amazing highlight of the 2001 classic was the weighing of 3 fish over the magical 1000lb.

Viking II again proved that we are consistently consistent, winning the tournament for the 3rd time. With many second places in previous years, and winner of the biggest fish award twice, no other boat can boast such results in this prestigious tournament.

Over the last five seasons the Cairns’ Giant Black Marlin Fishery has seen some changes. The charter fleet is now prepared to move away from the traditional grounds, when the current and water clarity are not favourable. The walls, bay’s, points, and openings of that 160 mile stretch, on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef, from Lizard Island to Cairns, that has produced such phenomenal fishing for over 30 years, has now been extended to include vast area’s of the Coral Sea. Captains that are fortunate enough to have powerful sounders have found new under sea structure that is consistently producing quality fish. This structure which includes canyons, seamounts, and plateau’s, can be found as close as 4 to 10 miles east of the reef, and in many cases is an extension of the surface shape of the reef itself. The recently named Flattery Plateau, which produced two of the largest fish weighed for the 2001 season, and was also a big fish hot spot in 2000, is the perfect example. Another example is the grounds wide of the famous middle Ribbon reefs, between no. 3 and no. 7. East of these reefs, is prominent structure that ranges in depths from 1200 to 1900 meters. From one of these extensions at the bottom of no. 5 Ribbon Reef, the first Grander for the 2001 season was caught.

The new out wide fishery off Cairns, as well as the existing fishery is again proving that no place on this earth can compete to this destination for the size and number of quality fish. A great season at another top destination is like a good day here. I am often amazed at how little publicity the Cairns area receives. I guess some people are just trying to keep it a secret. Well the cat’s out of the bag again. Not only can you catch Giant Black Marlin out of Cairns but the 2001 season produced some large Blues, and not to mention the fun you can have with large yellow fin tuna and big eye tuna while searching for the big blacks out wide.

Viking II averaged 3 bites a day during the big fish season, and as always was one of the Cairns marlin fleets top boats.