Want to know more about the AUSTRALIAN MARLIN FISHING hot spots? The new destination guides are here:

Read the guides

Destination guides are here:


Get the latest offers and news every month direct to your inbox. Subscribe to the Black Marlin Blog Newsletter:

Sign Up Now

Join the newsletter mailing list

Sign Up
Larva Lure - Change it, lock it, catch it

Now we’ve all heard about the fabulous fishing at Gamex in Exmouth this year (yes 100 billfish tags a day!), and the planning is already going full steam ahead for Gamex 2015, but there are still a several events on their billfish calendar for the year (coming up in the next month, the Australian Masters Billfish Tournament 12th-14th Sept and the Betta Billfish Bonanza 31st Oct –2nd Nov). And the fishing is HOT HOT HOT!

EGFC’s Jeni Gates shared with me some fantastic fishing that Eddy Lawler from Peak Sport Fishing has been enjoying this week which was *three grand slams in three consecutive days of fishing!*

The scores were: Day 1 – 1 stripe, 1 blue and 4 black marlin! Day 2 – a black, a blue and a stripe and Day 3 – a black, a blue and two stripes. As Capt. Eddy says, “(This is) some of the best fishing we have ever seen in Exmouth. The water looks great, the fishing is incredible, blue marlin season is just around the corner and we can’t wait for it. If winter is fishing this well what does the summer period hold in store?” Awesome!

Meanwhile off Dampier, Blue Lightning’s Capt. Chad Mills is back after a trip out to the sea mount off Montebello Islands and reporting lots of yellowfin in the 12 kg bracket as well as some very aggressive sails! They went 11-10-8 including a 5 way hook up all – with all 5 successfully released.  They sails were in the 25-40 kg range.

On the last day they did half a day off Dampier on the way back in, ending with a 1-11 sailfish and 4-3-2 on black marlin with the weather in the 0-5 knot range rounding up a great trip (photo).


Pakula Lures

As many of the North Queensland club members will already be aware, there is currently a satellite tagging pilot study underway as part of the GFAA’s Research and Development Foundation and the QGFA. The aim of the study is to identify the best sat tags to use on these smaller fish (there are three slightly different versions being tested) so in the long term the sat tags can be used to find out more about the migration patterns of the fish.

(Read on below for several more Townsville Tournament pre-fish black marlin reports.)

Before I get off topic, the reason for this post: Mick Meiers, who is our North Queensland GFAA Executive Officer, has asked NQ fishers to be on the lookout for these tags which will have ‘popped’ off their hosts, and to return to the association so that the very valuable data can be best collected.  If you have any questions at all, Mick’s contact information can be found on the QGFA contacts page here. This is what the tags look like (all three versions look quiet similar):

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It’s all terribly interesting if you’re a marlin geek like me (hang on, if you’re reading this page I suspect you are too ;-) As a result of Sam Williams/Dr. Julian Pepperell’s recent fin sampling genetic study, we already know that there are 3 distinct bio-masses of these fish which the migrate down the east and west coasts as well as into the Gulf of Carpentaria.  (The three separate bio masses that have been identified are the Cairns (Ribbon Reefs), the Western Australian bio mass and a third Taiwanese region spawning).

The information which can be gained from the tagging will be most valuable and so trying to identify which tags will give the best results at this stage is important. Due to the size of the tags, as we know from yesterday’s report, the tagging team are trying to tag fish bigger than the 15kg mark but as the pics show, these are still pretty significant sized adornments for these juveniles!  The tags are all due to pop off by December.

The Townsville Mike Carney Toyota Billfish Challenge starts fishing tomorrow morning and I will be blogging the event as per usual as we participate on KEKOA with naming sponsor Mike Carey and his Toyota team fishing with us once again. You can follow the daily updates each morning on the blog, I will also be Insta-gramming here and there.

Team Tomcat had the pick of the day at Bowling Green yesterday with Luke reporting a micro-sail and a black (and more dolphin fish too – seem to be a regular feature at Bowling Green this year.) Photo below in less than ordinary conditions for the small boat in the morning.


Capt. Chris “Sharky” Miles on Levante also headed out yesterday for his first chance to check out conditions since coming down from Cairns, and released one from one.

I also received the gorgeous action pic from Jason McKenna on Chapel from a few days ago which is at the very top of the report. What a beautiful looking fish! They also caught a larger size model (they estimated at 100lbs) amongst the mix as well as aforementioned dolphin fish.

And lastly, Allan Craperi on his Keywest went two for two earlier this week in the good weather. Allan also noted it was much quieter on the water – but already on the way back, right in time! Here’s another great shot, this one of one of Allan’s fish.


Well Spring has officially sprung and so it’s time for the little blacks to give their last few weeks hurrah before we turn our attention to the big fish.


In Cairns, after watching older brother Jet shine during the recent Cairns Bluewater Billfish Tournament, 6 year old Koda was chomping at the bit to have his go on a black marlin.  Jay tells me that that mission was accomplished yesterday with the 6 year old catching his first (pictured) in pretty short time. After jumping one off only 5 minutes after start fishing he was onto another about half an hour later.  This time both Koda and the fish did everything right.

They followed up with another first marlin for Cairns estuary guide Brendan Curry – giving the guide a chance to be on the rod for a change! They ended the 3 and a half hour session with a 5-3-2.

silverbackMeanwhile off Townsville, who do you think I found in this picture from Sunday on Silverback? I must admit to surprise, as not knowing that they let Goughy on the rod, but obviously as this photo shows, he is the star of the show (not the fish) ;-)

It was a quieter week on the water off Bowling Green last week with only a few fish reported. With Townsville definitely fairing the better for the weather than Cairns over the last few days (and I hear the same ‘lull’ was experienced off Cairns – cold water!) the good weather seems to be warming things up with several more fish and encounters reported over the past couple of days.  Boats are out for their last chance to pre-fish for the Mike Carney Toyota Billfish Challenge which starts (fishing) on Friday.

Chapel returned to port last night with three tag flags flying for their two days on the water while the boys undertaking the juvenile black marlin sat tagging project also released two yesterday (smaller than the desirable size for the juvies, so not sat tagged). John McConky’s Maximus also reported several encounters with rubber hook syndrome (and some patches of warmer water!)

Several more are out today so we look forward to hearing how they go.


As we enter September, the countdown is well and truly on! There are only a couple of short weeks until the fleet start fishing and the reports start getting bigger. Several of the southern members of the charter fleet have already begun their journey’s north to Cairns. One of which is Capt. Tim Dean’s Calypso from whom I have two angler interviews for you today!

Both speak high praise of Capt. Tim who reminds us he has some days open for this season (Oct 9-11, Nov 20-26, 27- Dec 1, call Tim 0411 111 476) as well as several other members of the fleet – check here and get in fast – time’s running out!

Angler Zack Sotiropoulos

Can you give us a brief description of angling history?
Rockfishing for black marlin Jervis Bay( 7 in one day Jan 2002 ), Gamefishing Sydney,Jervis bay, Port Stephens.. Sportfishing Botany bay, the hacking and Sydney Harbour.

When was the last time the you fished in Cairns? 2011

What was your best memory of any Cairns trip to date?
2011 trip had us see the Biggest  fish to date, Billy Red in the chair.. A modest Tim Dean still yet to estimate her. His comment as I recall–  “one of the better real ones I’ve let swim away”.. a credit to Tim and his dedication to sustaining the GBR fishery. 5 trips total aboard Calypso, 5 granders (real ones as Timmy calls them)  to date and counting..3 or 4  close to the mark and lost count of how many others

What are your hopes/bucket lists items/goals for your trip to Cairns this year?
Good weather to start, good company a given, enjoy good food as always, hopefully
See a rookie tangle with a real one

When can we expect to see you here this and how long are you staying who are you fishing with?
We’ll be fishing 7 days aboard Calypso 2nd to the 8th October 2014

Angler Zac “Hollywood” Henderson

Can you give us a brief description of angling history?
Most of my angling history comes from filling in as a backup on other people’s boats.  I was a mate all through college in a small Texas port called Port Aransas on a boat called Cherokee, so most of my bill fishing has been in the cockpit as a wireman or gaffman.  I’ve caught a handful of blue marlin, a couple white marlin, and several sailfish (both pacific and Atlantic).  I’ve caught 5 black marlin with Captain Tim Dean over the course of 2 trips.  2 in 2010 and 3 in 2013 estimated at 350, 900, and 950 lbs respectively.

Read the rest of the report…

After a few days of hit and miss fishing off Townsville pre- Mike Carney Toyota Billfish Challenge (which starts next Thursday) the cold water has pushed through and it might be on its way back.  Capt. Luke Fallon’s KEKOA and the private boat Chapel both getting into fish yesterday after crews struggling in the days prior.  Several teams will be making the most of the last weekend to pre-fish and I’m sure they’ll be getting into them again!

Message from Grant Thompson’s Cjig and the big boat who were heading out from Hamilton Island yesterday but the weather kept them in check and in closer. They released a little black off the northern tip of the island and will be heading out wide for a look today!

Plenty of billfish action over in Exmouth in the leadup to another event on the WA billfish calendar.  The brand new annual tourney, the Australian Masters Tournament, specifically for the over 55-ers, will be hosted by the club on September 12-14 (do you have an event to add to the calendar?) Sounds like a fair bit of fun will be had with the local charter fleet reporting blues, blacks and stripes in play.

Lastly, another billfish species in the ‘wild’. Phtog Al McGlashan captured this footage of a recently killed swordfish and post stalking by the mako shark. Not so cool for the sword of course (so will link rather than embed and you can choose to watch) but some awesome footage non-the-less with the help of the drone!

Is the the way of the fishing footage?  I think so! (note to self, learn how to drive a toy airplane..or is it a helicopter!?!)

Check out the clip here!