Fishing the Great Barrier Reef

‘Granders’ notwithstanding, fishing the GBR is an experience in itself. During the heavy tackle season the fleet works out of Cairns or Cooktown, depending on fish location. The run out to the reef from either port is around 35nm, however much longer runs may be required if the bite changes. This is where the flexibility of "liveaboard" boats compared to day trip and mothership combinations is a big advantage.

Prime time for marlin is late afternoon, leaving plenty of time for morning activities which can include a leisurely breakfast, snorkeling on the reef and some light tackle fishing for fresh bait, sport or table fish.

Impatience for the fray sees most boats with baits in the water around noon, fishing the open ocean literally around the corner from their anchorage. The standard rig is one large skipping bait - tuna or mackerel - and one smaller swimming bait.

Knowing that at any time a monster fish may appear produces an almost unbearable tension as the day progresses and when a giant black marlin finally strikes, pandemonium erupts.

As day turns to dusk, it’s a short run back to the sheltered waters behind the reef to relive the excitement over drinks in the cockpit against the backdrop of the setting sun.