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Black Marlin Fishing Cairns

Australian Game Fishing is the ultimate guide to marlin fishing, big game fishing and sports fishing from Cairns, Australia and is brought to you by Ross Finlayson Marlin Charters. Capt Ross Finlayson provides one of the most professional marlin and sportfishing operations in Australia, with more than 20 years experience marlin fishing and game fishing along the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns and the East Coast of Australia.

Capt Ross Finlayson
Ross Finlayson is one of Australia’s proven leading marlin and sportfishing captains, providing professional game fishing charters from Cairns with consistent results each year for anglers from all over the world.

With more than 20 years professional game fishing along the East coast of Australia, 38 year old Ross resides full time in Cairns and offers exclusive sportfishing charters year round on the Great Barrier Reef. Giant Black Marlin charters are run from September through to December and the rest of the year provides great fishing for Light & Medium Tackle species including juvenile black marlin, sailfish, mackerel and tunas.

The 2009 marlin season produced good numbers again all round with Ross and the boys totaling 70 marlin for the season with several fish released around the 700-900lb mark and 1 beauty estimated around 1000lbs.

The season prior (2008) Ross and his team caught a total of 61 marlin for 60 days of marlin fishing (+ 10 days fly fishing), with 2 fish estimated at 1000lbs +.. Although a slower than usual season for all boats, each of Ross’s charters experienced highlighted fishing and again finished the season amongst the top few boats for numbers of fish caught.

The season before (2007) the Top Shot team caught a total of 53 for 60 days of marlin fishing (plus 10 days fly fishing) – weighed first grander for the season on the 26th October at 1102lbs and caught 2 other fish that he estimated between 950-1050lbs (Nov) and 13 additional fish estimated between 700-900lbs, finishing the season amongst the top few boats for fish numbers caught.

2006 was another great marlin season for Ross and his crew, having caught the most marlin within the Cairns Marlin Fishing Fleet (total 103) – 3 conservatively estimated over 1000lbs and 16 estimated 700-950lbs.

The 2005 season saw them catch a total of 98 marlin (2nd most in fleet) and 2004 again with most caught and a grand total of 105 blacks.

Career highlight of Largest Black Marlin in world caught on Lure in 2001 at 1257lbs for angler and friend Norm Ennis of USA, still stands.

Other achievements include:

1998 - Winner of International Fly Fishing Black Marlin Classic (Anglers Jack Erskine & Bill McLeod - SEA BABY IV)
1999 - Champion Angler – Lizard Island Tournament (Angler Shinagawa Nawaji, JAPAN – SEA BABY IV)
2000 -Winner of Innisfail Light Tackle Tournament (Angler John Conomos, AUST – SEA BABY IV)
After 15 years on the internationally renowned Sea Baby IV (7 yrs as deckhand for the Legendary Capt Laurie Woodbrige & 8yrs as Captain) Ross is now fishing on the well known Aussie game boat, “Top Shot” - a 43’ O’Brien designed game boat fully equipped with the latest in electronics and navigational equipment.

Proudly sponsored by Penn International all tackle is of the highest standard including 3 custom built Jack Erskine 130lbs Rods matched with 3 Penn International 130lb Reels – all with drags customised by Jack Erskine. Light tackle equipment consists of the highest quality Penn & Shimano TLD Reels with matching custom Jack Erskine Light Tackle Rods in all line classes. Saltwater Fly Tackle includes Penn Fly Rods & Reels.

Cairns and its surrounding reefs North to Lizard Island is unquestionably the best Giant Black Marlin location in the world and provides some of the best light tackle action you’ll experience anywhere. If you are looking to fish with one of Australia’s best, email or call Ross directly for more details.
Top Shot - 43’ O’Brien
Well known Australian game boat, the Top Shot is a 43 foot O’Brien designed fly bridge cruiser, powered by twin 450hp C series Cummins diesel engines.

With a top speed of 30 knots and cruise speed of 22 knots, she is known for her excellent sea handling capabilities and with a dry and stable ride, she sets a benchmark for craft in her class. She is a fine fishing platform, with a wide, spacious and uncluttered cockpit area allowing ample swing room for anglers, game chair and deckhand’s access to tag pole and wire.

Electronic fit out is extensive and includes 2 radios, radar and 2 navigation systems for pin point accuracy on fishing grounds. Twin Furuno sounders with dual frequency and sea temperature sensors provide state of the art fish-finding capability.

The air conditioned cabin and saloon plan, affords anglers indoor comforts. A complete view from the saloon invites instant response to any action in the cockpit.
Accommodation forward is four V berths with the lower V forming a double berth, when necessary. The forward cabin also includes an additional double berth and single berth. The saloon has table and surround lounge seating on the port side with another lounge on the starboard side. Separate toilet and shower are housed in the cabin.

Three freezers and two large fridges provide excellent refrigeration capabilities. Full galley, water maker, hot and cold water, micro wave, T.V. video, hi-fi radio and CD player are all present for client comfort and satisfaction.

Length: 43 ft ( 22 metres)
Top Speed: 30 knots
Cruising Speed: 22 knots
Engines: 2 x 450hp C Series Cummins
Passengers: Day Trip Max 8+2 Crew / Overnight Max 4/5 + Crew

Giant Black Marlin Fishing
Giant Black Marlin Capital of the World!
Heavy Tackle Game Fishing – September to December

From September through to December, the largest black marlin in the world - many of them "granders" of over a thousand pounds, migrate to the 150 mile stretch of the Great Barrier Reef between the North Eastern coastal city of Cairns and the exclusive five star resort of Lizard Island. This is unquestionably the best grander marlin location in the world, and if you are a serious big game angler, you owe it to yourself to give it a try.

There are more black marlin caught or tagged on the GBR than in the rest of the world combined and in a hot fishing week you can encounter a bite a day from an 800lb PLUS fish.

Over the years we’ve discovered that generally the best fishing comes in the afternoon from 2.00 pm onwards (not always a hard and fast rule) and most boats fish until as late as 6.30 pm, depending on the location and the degree of difficulty getting back into the anchorage.

The fishery here is predominantly a bait fishery with usually two to three rods at one time trolled from the outriggers and up to 4 rods trolled using lures. Favourite baits include scad (Cairns No.1 swimming bait), mack tuna, scaley mackerel, Spanish mackerel, yellowfin tuna, queenfish and rainbow runners.

These baits can be as large as 15kg (30lbs) though preferred size being 8 to 12 lb for the skip baits and 1 to 5lb for the swimming scads.

My crew rig these baits on circle hooks which are trolled just under and on the surface at a speeds varying between 5 to 6 knots.They utilise short drop backs knowing that these always give the best percentage of mouth-hooked fish. Circle hooks have come into vogue over the last few years and we’ve found that they provide excellent results with fish released in great condition.

Cooktown (small fishing village located 250kms north of Cairns) is a favoured port to depart from throughout the early to mid part of the marlin season as it positions the boats closest to the middle section of the Ribbon Reefs and is a convenient location to restore and refuel. It is a short, scenic charter flight from Cairns to Cooktown (approx 45 mins) and myself and crew will meet you at the airstrip on arrival and transfer you directly to the Top Shot.

The marlin generally tend to move down the Ribbons Reefs throughout the marlin season and often we find ourselves fishing directly out of Cairns through much of November and December. The decision of where to disembark from (Cairns or Cooktown) is usually not decided until much nearer to each charter departure.

Charter Options :
The two charter options that I offer throughout the marlin season for multiple day heavy tackle charters are either “Liveaboard” charters (overnighting on the Top Shot with accommodation and meals provided) or “Mothership” charters where my anglers charter a mothership in conjunction with the Top Shot, providing additional comfort and facilities at sea. Please see details following :

LIVEABOARD: The Top Shot is ideally set up for accommodating in comfort maximum 3-4 anglers and 3 crew on an extended liveaboard marlin charters.

Minimum 4 day charters are recommended in order to maximise your fishing time and many anglers will charter 7-14 days in search of that fish of a lifetime!

All meals, beverages (a selction of Australian beer, wine, softdrinks and bottled water), and linens are provided on a liveaboard charter. Anglers need only bring soft overnight bags with personal belongings. Meals consist of a variety of freshly caught fish, prawns, steaks, chicken, salads, continental breakfasts & tropical fruits.

> Please email for pricing & availability

MOTHERSHIPS: The Ultimate Fishing Experience!!! Pivately chartering a mothership and game fishing boat together, will allow the avid fishermen and their party an exceptionally high standard of comfort and luxury on their fishing adventure. Positioned only minutes away from the fishing grounds, the motherships enable us to follow the fishing readily along the 150 mile stretch of productive water, with the comforts and services likened to that of a 4 or 5 star hotel.

Cocktails on the back deck with sunset views after a days fishing action, chef prepared meals featuring local seafood, along with the stability that the motherships provide in luxury stateroom accommodations is really what mothershipping is all about.

What to Bring :
Anglers need only bring their personal belongings on extended marlin charters in compact, soft travel bags where possible. We supply all fishing tackle & equipment, all linens including towels, all meals and beverages (Australian beer, Aus/NZ wines, softdrinks, sodas & bottled water). You are welcome to bring preferred alcohol including spirits, or let me know and I can arrange to have on board.

Recommend the following : Shorts, Tees, Long Sleeve Fishing Shirts, Deck Shoes, Polarised Sunglasses, Brimmed Hat, Sunscreen, Light Spray Jacket, Swimwear, Books, Favourite Music.

Getting Here:
Cairns is the International gateway to Tropical North Queensland, Australia. With a growing local population of approximately 100,000 it is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city with warm, sunny tropical days tempered by cooling onshore breezes. There is a myriad of accommodation ranging from budget through to 5 star and a host of restaurants, eateries and shopping options. Recommended hotels close to the Marlin Marina (inner city) include the Shangri-la Hotel, Hilton Hotel, Reef Hotel Casino and the Pacific International Hotel. We can assist you with further details and information on accommodation if required.

There are international flights that arrive directly into Cairns daily or via Brisbane or Sydney. Your travel agent will best advise. It is recommended that you fly into Cairns at least 1 day prior to your fishing departure and fly out from Cairns at least 1 day after your final fishing day (or after midday the following day).

We can assist with all Cooktown transfer flights should they be required and on most occasions we arrange an early morning flight from Cairns to Cooktown on the morning of your fishing and on your final fishing day return to Cooktown early evening, where we arrange overnight accommodation in Cooktown for your early charter flight back to Cairns the following morning.

Bookings :
The marlin seasons are always in high demand with many of my return clients booking 18 months in advance each year. Allow yourself plenty of time if you can to make charter arrangements and note that a deposit will be required to secure your fishing time along with a signed “Charter Agreement”. My season is usually made up of a selection of anglers that come back to fish the season each year and of new charters that are here to fish that “once in a lifetime experience”.

Sport & Game Fishing
Cairns, The Great Barrier Reef
Light to Medium Tackle Game Fishing – Year Round
Juvenile Black Marlin, Pacific Sailfish, Yellowfin Tunas, Spanish Mackerel, Mahi-Mahi, Wahoo, Cobia

The bluewater sportfishing and deep sea gamefishing off Cairns is generally excellent year round, providing great action and good eating!!

Before Cairns was recognised as the "Home to the Giant Black Marlin" more than 4 decades ago, it was an established fishing mecca for a huge variety of pelagic sportfish found in the surrounding cobalt waters.

The winter months (May to September) are best for targeting Spanish mackerel (king mackerel), sailfish and juvenile black marlin (up to 100lbs). The warmer months (October to March) provide good fishing for wahoo, mahi-mahi, yellowfin tuna, big Spanish mackerel (up to 100lbs), sailfish and black marlin (100 to 250lbs).

We use lures, live baits and natural dead baits. Preferred lures range from bibless minnows to minnow style bibbed lures for mack tuna, Spanish mackerel and other species.

For marlin and sailfish, preferred lures are of the pusher style, such as Moldcraft and Pakula. Live baits used are yakkas, trevally, pilchards, pinkies and gobbers. The most prominent dead baits used are mullet and gar fish (ballyhoo). These are extremely effective on all species.

Tackle consists of trolling rigs with line classes varying between 6 to 24 kg depending on the size of the species sought. Four to five rigs are trolled with 1 or multiple teasers.
Light tackle equipment consists of the highest quality Penn Reels with matching custom Jack Erskine light tackle rods in all line classes.

Our fishing grounds throughout our winter months are approximately 15 to 25 miles from Cairns and in our summer months between 15 & 35 miles. (Approximately 45 to 90 mins travelling each way).

Charter Options:
I offer full day private charters for groups of 1 to 8 anglers directly from Cairns. This option is definitely the most effective way to fish and enables you to maximize your fishing time and provides flexibility with your day. Occasionally we put together shared full day charters (max 6 / min 5 anglers where you are married up with other anglers) which require minimum anglers in order to guarantee departures. These are always confirmed the day prior.

Overnight and extended liveaboard charters are also available and are a great way to maximize your fishing on great locations from Cairns, with meals and accommodation provided.

Details follow …...

FULL DAY (Exclusive Private Charter for groups up to 6/8) : The Top Shot is an ideal game boat for day trips out of Cairns throughout the year – at 43ft she is roomy, fast and comfortable and is in survey for up to 8 passengers plus crew.

Your day charter includes exclusive charter of world class 43ft game boat, highly professional captain (20 years exp) and crewman, all quality fishing tackle & equipment, airconditioned comfort, morning & afternoon tea, lunch and refreshments.

Departure 7.30 am from Cairns Marlin Marina, Returning 5.00 pm to 5.30 pm.

>Please email for pricing & availability

LIVEABOARD (Exclusive Private Charter): The Top Shot is perfectly set up for accommodating in airconditioned comfort maximum 4-5 anglers and 2 crew on an extended liveaboard charter light to medium tackle gamefishing. 2-5 day liveaboard charters are a great way to experience the variety of fishing opportunities on offer close to Cairns.

All meals, beverages, and linens are provided on a liveaboard charter. Anglers need only bring soft overnight bags with personal belongings.

Departure 7.30 am from Cairns Marlin Marina, Returning 5.00 pm to 5.30 pm on final fishing day.

>Please email for pricing & availability

What to Bring
Anglers need only bring their personal belongings, we supply all fishing tackle & equipment, morning and afternoon tea, lunch, softdrinks, bottled water. On extended overnight charters we supply all meals and beverages including Australian beer and wines.

Recommend the following: Sun protection including long sleeve fishing shirt, deck shoes, polarized sunglasses, brimmed hat, sunscreen, swimwear. On extended, overnight charters include light spray jacket, light jumper (in winter)and favourtie music.
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Blue Water Fly Fishing
Cairns, The Great Barrier Reef
Billfish on Fly!
Fly fishing is one of the biggest challenges left on the bluewater and is certainly one of the fastest growing facets of saltwater fishing.

Black marlin and sailfish are both fly favourites and all other species targeted with conventional tackle can be caught on the fly. The world record opportunities are excellent on the Great Barrier Reef during the winter to spring months (May to November) using 8 to 16 weight tackle.

I’ve been involved in a number of world record captures on fly both as crewman and captain having also caught 4 black marlin on fly as an angler.

3 World Records – Bluewater Fly

1995 - World Record – 4kg Tippett – 17.5 kg Black Marlin - (Angler – Dr Glen Scott, “Sea Baby IV”)
1998 - World Record – 4 Black Marlin in 1 Day on Fly

Winner of the International Black Marlin Fly Fishing Tournament (Anglers – J Erskine & BMcLeod, “Sea Baby IV”
3 Marlin on Fly Caught in One Day (4 Times – “Sea Baby IV”)
2005 - 200lb Black Marlin captured for regular anglers Mr Ishikawa from Japan (Sea Baby IV)
2006 - 150lb Black Marlin again captured for Mr Ishikawa (Sea Baby IV)

We target marlin and sailfish using the bait and switch technique, giving the angler the best opportunity to make a cast to a fish that is eager to bite.
12 to 14 weight rods and quality large capacity reels are favoured, although lighter or heavier tackle may be used depending on the size of the fish, and the anglers skill. Dual hook Flashy Profile flies, large multi hackled poppers, and tube flies are all effective

Other bluewater species that can provide great fly fishing include Spanish (King) Mackerel, Cobia, Yellowfin Tuna, Longtail (Bluefin) Tuna and Mackerel Tuna (False Albacore).
These pelagics can at times be approached as they herd baitfish to the surface and attack, offering exciting visual fly fishing action. Locating schools of predators electronically then burleying (chumming) with live or cut bait produces consistent results.

Flies that imitate the baitfish or chum are cast off intermediate or fast sinking lines into the bait trail attracting the attention of switched on predators. 9 to 12 weight rods with large capacity reels are standard, however some anglers like the challenge of ultra light rods (2 to 6 weight), quality reels with plenty of backing are essential, definitely no place for Trout reels.

Charter Options
FULL DAY (Exclusive Private Charter): The Top Shot is an ideal game boat for day trips out of Cairns throughout the year – at 43ft she is roomy, fast and comfortable and is in survey for up to 8 passengers plus crew.
Your day charter includes exclusive charter of world class 43ft game boat, highly professional captain (20 years exp) and crewman, all quality fishing tackle & equipment, airconditioned comfort, morning & afternoon tea, lunch and refreshments.

Departure 7.30 am from Cairns Marlin Marina, Returning 5.00 pm to 5.30 pm.

>Please email for pricing & availability

LIVEABOARD (Exclusive Private Charter): The Top Shot is perfectly set up for accommodating in airconditioned comfort maximum 4-5 anglers and 2 crew on an extended liveaboard charter light to medium tackle gamefishing. 2-5 day liveaboard charters are a great way to experience the variety of fishing opportunities on offer close to Cairns.

All meals, beverages, and linens are provided on a liveaboard charter. Anglers need only bring soft overnight bags with personal belongings.

Departure 7.30 am from Cairns Marlin Marina, Returning 5.00 pm to 5.30 pm on final fishing day.







Black Marlin Fishing Cairns
PO Box 2739
Cairns Queensland
(+61) 7 4055 2490

Web Link

http://www.australiangamefishing.com



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