Report & Video: The 2013 Cairns Marlin Season

I HAVE had 26 back marlin seasons as captain of Viking and Viking II, and in that time I have experienced some amazing fishing. As I cruise southbound for the Gold Coast with this season now over, I realise it was certainly up there as one of the best, if not the best season for large, and very large fish.

Seeing the first big fish of a season certainly makes you realise where you are fishing and what you are fishing for.

This happened on the second day of my first charter of the 2013 season. Normally privateers on their big Riviera, Jag, Mick and Deano had decided to charter this year. Our first day was fruitless, although a large fish mark on the sounder, certainly got my interest. Second day we headed for the Ribbon reefs with a spread of lures in tow. A 250lb fish broke the ice, and we settled in to working the opening between No 3 and No 4 Ribbon Reefs for the afternoon with some baits.

The big fish bite happened at 5.00pm. She came up from the depths fast and crashed the scaly mackerel bait. All went well until the circle hook failed to find its mark. The boys were still very excited by the action and it was nice to see our first big fish of the 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 the line came tight on a real nice fish. Deano was in the chair, and he got his first true taste of a giant black marlin on the Great Barrier Reef. Deano’s peak physical condition 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 an 800-pounder. Mick jumped in the chair and before lunch we had already had a great day, with two quality fish, and our first grander for the season.

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Regular client Lucky Dave McPherson was next up. Dave’s past record is impressive to say the least with multiple grander releases including two well over 1000lb in a day. This year Dave wanted to make a video of his trip, so he bought along Brett Richards on the movie camera (see Brett’s video below), and Chris Yu from Fishing World for the stills. Dave Macpherson’s first day on the reef resulted in 250lb and 500lb fish, and our second fish well over 1000lb for the season. Dave gets a tattoo of a large marlin on his arms or legs every time he gets a grander – he is quickly running out of room!

More action on small to medium fish took Lucky Dave’s tally for his four days to six fish.

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On charter No.6, my business partner Beau his wife Ying and friend Gee arrived from Hong Kong for six 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 seventh grander of the season.

Not to be outdone, Gee, in just another hour of trolling was hooked up to a larger than large black marlin. It was an extremely tough fight and this wise fish knew all the tricks. After two hours, even though we’d had the leader early, the 650lb leader had chafed through. It was a big effort by Gee and he was more than happy with the experience.

Charter No 7 saw past contenders Henning Hassel and Nils Christian aboard for six days. We got amongst some nice fish again, three over 900lb. The highlight of the trip was day three with a 900lb, 950lb and 650lb fish. All fish performed like you wouldn’t believe.

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 his bucket list was a black. The boys only booked four days at the end of the season, and for these lucky anglers our big fish run kicked back in. First day saw a 950lb fish, second day an 800lb and on the third day we got a monster of over 1100lb. What a way to finish!

Myself and wonderful crew, Westy and Carl, were tired but pleased with the season’s results. We had a great party that night back at the dock with the other boats that had just completed their season.

Results – Viking II Cairns 2013 marlin season.

18 marlin over 800lb
14 marlin over 900lb
Nine marlin over 1000lb

I now look forward to fishing the Gold Coast during December and January, and Port Stephens in February and March.


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