2017 Billfisheries of the Year – #3 Cairns

The Billfish Report is counting down its Top 10 Billfisheries of the Year, with #3 Cairns . Criteria for our Top 10 include fish numbers, variety of billfish species, reports, average size of fish, length of season and number of boats fishing. With over 9,000 Billfish Reports submitted to us in 2017 from around the World, to even be considered for our Top 10 makes a fishery one of the best!

Cairns, Queensland, Australia – If the Great Barrier Reef is up or down, it is still probably better than almost anywhere you can fish. I think we are going to stop trying to call what is a banner season versus a down season as they are almost always great. Big Black Marlin in a concentrated period of time that nowhere on earth can or will replicate. A perennial Top 10 Billfishery, the Great Barrier has never left our Top 10 and it is unlikely it ever will. 


We had a total of eighty-eight (88)  Black Marlin reported to us over 500 lbs. placing it easily the best in the World on large Black Marlin and 2nd in the World on all Marlin (Black & Blue). We had two (2) Blue Marlin reported to us over 500, including a beautiful 870 lbs. fish on the Moana III. This fish was the Australian Record at the time of the catch. (We will concede that given some unique communication issues we can’t account for every Black Marlin caught.) With that said, we did receive 222 Reports, either single day or trip reports so we still covered plenty of water. 

In the Grander category is is not even fair, with Northern Queensland claiming thirteen (13) on the season. That mean this fishery accounted for 61% of all Granders caught Worldwide and all but two (2) Black Marlin granders. The largest weighed Grander came off the Absolute at 1,188 lbs.

We did not receive any reports of 5+ Black Marlin caught during heavy tackle season, but we had get eight (8) reports of 5+ Black Marlin (juvenile). The most Black Marlin caught in a day came off the Black Label, going 10-13.

While there is plenty of variety in these waters from Black Marlin to Blue Marlin to Sailfish, the large black marlin are the prize and thus the most targeted. Even though our formula is very generous for large fish, one of the categories that holds this fishery “back” in the ranking is the short season. That is probably a good thing as I think we would all die from a prolonged adrenalin rush if this bite was year round.

Congratulations to Cairns and the entire Great Barrier Reef our #3 Billfishery of 2017.

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