2016 Billfisheries of the Year – #5 Cairns

The Billfish Report is counting down its Top 10 Billfisheries of the Year and our #5 Billfishery is Cairns, Australia. Criteria for our Top 10 include fish numbers, variety of billfish species, average size of fish, length of season and number of boats fishing. With over 12,000 Billfish Reports submitted to us in 2016 from around the World, to even be considered for our Top 10 makes a fishery one of the best!

“Grander” on Viking II

Cairns, Australia – Sometimes you just run out of words to describe a fishery. Without a doubt the finest Big Marlin fishery of them all. Northern Queensland, Cooktown, Cairns or whatever or however you want to describe it, we just call it the GBR. The Great Barrier Reef just keeps supplying enormous Black Marlin. Some may be Granders, some may be not, but either way they are big damn fish.

The Great Barrier Reef produced all but one of the nineteen (19) Grander Black Marlin reported to us, accounting for 95% of all Grander Black Marlin in the World. Clearly making it the best place in the World to catch a Grander Black Marlin. This of course makes it the best place in the World to catch a Grander of any kind, accounting for 58% of all Granders, Black or Blue caught on the planet. Capt. Daniel McCarthy on Moana III had the hot hand, releasing four (4) estimated over 1,000 lbs. with one he called the largest of his career. Not many fish are weighed, with the largest from Capt. Haydon Bell on Kanahoee with a 1,104 lbs. Black Marlin.

We had 114 Black Marlin over 500 lbs reported to us in 2016, from which the GBR accounted for 58% of them. Again, making it the best place in the World to catch a Black Marlin over 500 lbs. Capt. Tim Richardson on Tradition reported the most Black Marlin over 500 lbs, with twelve (12) including a Grander he weighed at 1,054 lbs. While the vast majority are Black Marlin, Capt. Tim Dean on Calypso reported the release of an 800 lbs. Blue Marlin.

There is more variety than we will give the fishery credit for, but everyone is targeting Black Marlin so not many other species are caught. Those willing to go out wide can be treated to good Blue Marlin fishing, but the vast majority stick close to the reef. This is not a numbers fishery either, for good reason given the size of the fish, but we did see Kekoa, Tradition, Iona and Iceman all release four (4) Black Marlin in a day.

Congratulations to Cairns, Australia our #5 Billfishery of the Year.



Cooktown, Aus – Capt. Darren Haydon on Bounty Hunter released 2 Black Marlin, estimated at 1,000 & 900 lbs.

Cairns, Aus – Capt. Daniel McCarthy on Moana III released a double header of Black Marlin releasing an 800 & 1,000+.

Cooktown, Aus – Capt. Ross Finlayson on Top Shot released the 1st Grander of the Season.

Cairns, Aus – Capt. Tim Richardson on Tradition went 3-4 on Black Marlin, releasing an 850.

Cairns, Aus – Capt. Luke Fallon on Kekoa released 4 Black Marlin and a Blue Marlin.

Cooktown, Aus – Capt. Steve Ahlers on Hellraiser 2  released a 900 & 950 lbs. Black Marlin over 2-Days.

Cooktown, Aus –  Capt. Bob Jones on Iceman went 4-4 on Black Marlin.

Cooktown, Aus –  Capt. Casey Dent on Zulu went 3-3 on Black Marlin (1,005).

Cooktown, Aus – Hot Shot went 3-3 on Black Marlin, including an 800.

Cairns, Aus – Iona went 4-7 on Black Marlin.


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