Thinking of fishing this fabulous fishery? This page lists profiles of the very experienced captains who contribute reports to this blog and offer marlin charters across the country! Any one of these professional captains would love to welcome you on board for a marlin fishing or sport / gamefishing charter.
For more information about amazing boats in the fleet, please visit the BMFB Boat Directory which includes links to each boat’s website directly.
*Profiles are listed alphabetically (by surname).
*best contact via telephone.
Haydon Bell grew up with the Great Barrier Reef as his playground. He has more than 25 years experience in the sport and gamefishing industry and is one of Australia’s top light and heavy tackle skippers.
Daniel’s passion for fishing began as a youngster, tagging his first black marlin at age 12, he was hooked. In 2007 at the age of 18 he and three young mates won champion boat capture at the prestigious NSW inter club Tournament in Port Stephens.
In September 2007 he worked on deck aboard Mistress and in 2008 joined Captain Kim Anderson on New Moon for a bumper season, the highlight of which was a massive 1324lb black marlin.
In 2009 Daniel seized the opportunity to captain Little Audrey and excelled as captain in his first season tagging 19 black marlin from 20 days in Cairns. 2010 began with a bang with 22 billfish from 14 days, highlighted by winning the prestigious Australian International Billfish Tournament with 7 Billfish in 2 days.
Owner and skipper, Damien Colette, has worked in the fishing industry for many years in all facets of the game as skipper and deckhand, and knows exactly what the angler is looking for in a charter.
Based in Port Douglas and also fishing out of Cairns, Saltaire offers –
- Light tackle stand up marlin fishing.
- Heavy tackle marlin fishing
- Giant Trevally (popper fishing using Shimano Stella and Yamaga rods)
- Reef fishing
Capt Brad Craft has spent over 30 years in the gamefishing and diving fleet and has over 25 years experience as a captain. Having worked with world renowned Captains Peter Bristow and Laurie Wright and run boats Sea Strike, Diamond Girl, Shoki, Silvery Moon and Reelistic.
In 1999 he designed and built a series of 34ft sportfishing boats under the PIRATE name, all of these vessels are still active charter boats today. In 2004 he and angler Jay Teeter weighed the 10th heaviest fish in Cairns history 1304lb, a strong advocate for tag and release this fish was the last fish to be weighed.
As past president of the Cairns Professional Gamefishing Assosciation he fought tirelessly to remove foreign owned longliners from Australian waters and was instrumental in the introduction of a ban on the commercial take of Billfish in the Australian fishing zone. This was passed by Parliment and introduced as law in 1995.
Capt. Tim Dean has been fishing the East Coast of Australia almost his entire life, starting out at the age of 5 years old with his father John. After setting up ‘Calypso Fishing Adventures’ in Port Stephens in the summer of 1992, Tim began his illustrious career as much sort-after big game captain.
A major part of Calypso‘s season is dedicated to big game fly fishing from Port Stephens, of which they do more than any other vessel in the country. Tim is also a 16 year veteran of the Cairns Giant Black Marlin season and has made many significant catches at the helm including 1280lb black marlin his biggest fish.
Traveling the entire east coast of Australia each year Tim meets/knows fishermen from all areas, commercial and recreational. Tim is extremely passionate about the Marine Park issues around Australia and their impact on small coastal communities and fishing people everywhere.
Craig “Sparra” Denham
Captain Craig “SPARRA” Denham has over 25 years experience in the charter industry on the east coast of Australia and numerous international destinations. Learning from some of the worlds best captains and crews has giving him a great foundation in the charter business.
Being a captain for the past 15 years, he has lead his anglers to numerous ultra light tackle and fly fishing world records including a 733lb black marlin on 6lb line. His main passion is still heavy tackle fishing, catching many 1000lb black marlin for clients including the largest black marlin caught in the last 30 years weighing in at a whopping 1389lbs!
Our professional Levante captain and crew can offer you a customised charter to suit your requirements, and always provide their guests with a very personal experience, wherever your preferred fishing destination. They are familiar with all aspects of deep-sea fishing in North Queensland.
Captain Casey Dent is a fully licensed skipper and has extensive experience in running fishing charters including seven heavy tackle seasons out of Cairns. He is also a qualified and experienced boat mechanic, and the right person to have on board if you opt to head into the more remote areas of the Outer Reef.
An experienced deckhand is available to rig up your lines and take care of the bait and dirty work… The crew will also clean and fillet your catch to take home with you. The captain and crew love to share their passion for deep-sea fishing with enthusiasts from Australia and all over the world.
Captain Luke Fallon’s dream of a life on the sea started while day dreaming in the school classroom, and now 28 years on Luke has carved out a career, which has seen him become one of the most respected and successful captains chartering the East Coast of Australia.
Luke started on deck as a 16 year old for many of the regular Cairns heavy tackle captains such as Jim Dalling, Greg Edwards and Terry Parker. His eye for detail, strong work ethic and enthusiasm left such an impression on the fishing fraternity that they had no doubt that Luke Fallon would start the next generation of successful skippers to fish the Great Barrier Reef.
Luke’s captain’s resume includes being at the helm of The Warrigal, Reef Hunter, Reel Easy 2, 5 years on the Assegai and now 9 years on the KEKOA (starting with the KEKOA 47 in 2006).
Career highlights include catching 9 giant black marlin in a single day and landing many fish close to and over 1,000lbs–the biggest a staggering 1,298lbs.
Ross Finlayson is one of Australia’s leading marlin and sportfishing captains, with more than 25 years professional game fishing experience, providing exclusive marlin and game fishing charters directly from Cairns year round on the Great Barrier Reef for anglers from all over the world.
After 15 years on the internationally renowned Sea Baby IV (7 yrs as deckhand for the legendary Capt Laurie Woodbrige & 8yrs as Captain) Ross has been fishing on the “TOP SHOT” for the past 8 years. The “TOP SHOT” is a 43ft O’Brien game boat, fully equipped with the latest in electronics and navigational equipment and refitted in July 2011 with brand new twin Yanmar engines.
Highly experienced in all facets of game fishing – heavy tackle, light tackle and bluewater fly, with tackle of the highest standard including custom built Jack Erskine 130lbs rods matched with 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.
Giant Black Marlin charters are available from mid September right through to mid December, followed by Blue Marlin Fishing through to April. The rest of the year providing good Light and Medium tackle fishing for species including juvenile black marlin, sailfish, Spanish mackerel, mahi mahi and tunas.
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 and medium tackle action you’ll experience anywhere.
Corey Hard grew up fishing the reefs surrounding Bouganville Island, P.N.G. On returning to Sydney, Australia at age 10 he continued his passion for fishing from his “tinnie” around Sydney.
At 24 years of age Corey headed north to pursue his dream of catching giant black marlin out of Cairns. He gained valuable commercial experience on prawn trawlers, longliners and mackerel fishing before getting a start as game boat deckhand. The next 5 years were spent on the great boats such as Kananhoee, Desperado, Sea Baby and Viking II before going on to captain Desperado, Inya Dreams and Iona. Corey was winning captain on Mauna Kea in the Cairns Black Marlin 40th Anniversary Tournament before achieving his dream of skippering the Assegai 55 custom Askari in 2009.
Darren “Biggles” Haydon
Captain Darren Haydon started his career crewing for legendary captains Laurie Woodbridge and Dennis (Brazakka) Wallace. He has spent 25 years fishing the waters of Cairns south to Townsville and north to Lizard Island with his favourite area being the beautiful Ribbon Reefs off Cooktown. Darren is one of the regions most experienced captains, 2013 is his 20 year at the helm.
Darren has fished many destinations around the world including Hawaii, Mexico and New Zealand, he has also fished many of Australia’s hot spots but still his number one destination is Cairns
CAREER ACHIEVEMENTS INCLUDE
- 7 I.G.F.A. billfish world records captained
- 3 I.G.F.A. billfish world records crewed
- Winner champion boat in 3 Cairns light tackle tournaments
- 2 Champion anglers in the Lizard Island Classic
- Catching 7 big black marlin in a day
IGFA certified Captain Alex Johnston began crewing as a ‘third’ deckhand on his fathers marlin fishing boat at the age of 9. His young passion for this sport grew throughout his teenage years. He broke 17 junior and small-fry World Records. He accomplished his dream record at 14, a 1093lb Black Marlin.
Alex has learned many of his talents and techniques from some of the worlds best captains and crews. Alex has now commenced running a charter fishing operation, skippering the legendary “Shikari”. He can offer you a great selection of fishing, from heavy tackle black marlin and light tackle sportfishing, to giant trevally popper casting and reef fishing.
Alex is also a highly qualified diving instructor, which enables him to offer the complete Great Barrier Reef experience to visiting anglers.
Adam’s interest for game fishing began 12 years ago fishing the Newcastle and Port Stephens waters for black, striped and black marlin. His need to catch the illusive 1000lb black marlin and the opportunity 8 years ago to do a trip north to Cairns for the Giant Black Marlin Season from September to December got the former rugby league player hooked on big game fishing! His passion for his new sport and for boats made the decision for Adam to purchase the 43ft O’Brien Iona in 2005.
He employed the experience of world renowned Captains Trent Visscher and Tim Dean to refine the knowledge and practical expertise that Adam had already acquired in his 12 years of game fishing. This experience with Capt Tim along with his proven results has gained Adam respected recognition in the Cairns Fleet — and his results have been rewarded with clients worldwide rebooking for the upcoming Cairns Giant Black Marlin Season.
Capt. Daniel McCarthy is qualified as a Master Class IV Captain and MED II (engineering), has been fishing since almost before he could walk and skippering sportsfishing and marlin boats since the age of 21, 1st taking the wheel over 18 years ago!
He has extensive knowledge of the fishing waters around Cairns, Coral Sea, Cape York, Gulf of Carpentaria and New Guinea for black marlin fishing, sports fishing, reef and deep sea fishing. As President Cairns Professional Game Fishing Association, Daniel, his crew and the Association are committed to conservation of a clean ocean environment and continue to lead the world in Tag and Release Game Fishing.
Share Daniel’s expertise, experience and passion for this sensational part of the world. Come and join Daniel and the crew of Moana III for the ultimate fishing journey in the best luxury private charter boat style.
Chris “Sharky” Miles
Capt. Chris (Sharky) Miles has had a passion for fishing from an early age, graduating from land-based to boats, taking to the water every spare chance, in all types of vessels. By the age of 16, he had started his marlin fishing career on deck with Capt. Frank Thompson (93-94), Capt. Dave Pemberton (95), Capt. Bob Jones (96-02).
In 2002 he accepted the offer from Captain Peter B Wright to crew in the Canary Islands, Dominican Republic and Bimini in the Bahamas, fishing for the giant Tuna in the DUYFKEN. In 2003 he took the helm of Tenacious winning the Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic back to back in 05/06 and in 2007 was picked up by Maritimo to promote their new Sportsfisher 550 for the Cairns Season which proved to be a successful venture for both parties. In 2008 and 2009 Sharky Skippered the Mauna Kea. 2010 found him at the helm of Sea Baby IV starting his season off on top with a win at the Townsville Billfish Challenge.
In 2014 for the Cairns Giant Black Marlin season, Sharky will be hosting his guests and fishing from on board the 44.5 ft custom built Assegai fly bridge cruiser Levante.
Capt Tim Richardson and Tradition have earned an envious reputation for
their ability to find fish for their clients consistently year after year. Capt Tim Richardson has fished the Reef for 18 seasons with 23 granders caught or released, and it shows with his number of repeat clients that come back each year to fish on a beautiful boat with a hand picked crew by Capt Tim.
Tradition is a 49 foot custom boat built in Cairns by the legendary Dick Ward and has been constantly updated each year including a major refit in 2010.
Fully air conditioned with accommodation for up to 4 guests in great comfort, she is available for liveabord, mothershipping and also working from Lizard Island. Tradition also has a full set of video cameras to record all the action.
Capt. Ashley Wallis captured his first marlin at the age of fourteen, and since then has tagged over 800 billfish. Ashley’s had some great fishing. One week for instance; his anglers tagged 61 marlin in seven days.
Ashley started skippering professionally in 1998 on a boat called OB1. During the four years on OB1 Ashley fished the waters off Batemans Bay and Bermagui and then, in 2003, Ashley began skippering the Ultimate II and extended his fishing range to include the waters of the world famous Great Barrier Reef.
Throughout Ashley’s successful game fishing career he took many anglers to victory in over a dozen tournaments, such as the prestigious Australian International Billfish Tournament, but it is not only in tournaments where anglers can triumph, one lucky angler achieved a personal best of tagging 14 marlin in one day and he has also helped many anglers accomplish the dream of catching a marlin of over one thousand pounds! After seven years of skippering the Ultimate II and achieving his best season of tagging, 132 marlin, Ashley is now skippering the Kalira and will be specialising in game fishing on the Great Barrier Reef. Ashley can tailor a trip to suit your requirements.
Lockie comes with a wide variety of commercial fishing experience. Taught from a very young age by some of the best in the industry, he started charter fishing at the age of 15 in Forster, NSW. From the age of 17 he fished commercially for coral trout out of Cooktown where he then moved to Hamilton Island operating a large, successful commercial charter boat for paying clients.
Lockie has just completed his fourth season in Cairns chasing marlin in 50′ plus game boats.
Along with Lockies’ vast game and reef fishing experience comes his fun, outgoing, wacky personality and can do attitude. Guaranteed to entertain you, you will never leave Watchdog without having had an epic day on the water.
IGFA Certified Capt. Laurie Wright has been fishing these waters for 30 years, and in that time has guided his clients to numerous, large Black Marlin, world records, light tackle and heavy tackle tournament wins and hot fishing. Whether you want to fish heavy tackle, light tackle or enjoy the thrill of fly fishing, we have an exclusive charter available for you.
A long-term commitment to his clients and the game fishing industry has seen Captain Laurie Wright’s guests return to fish time and time again. Captain Laurie Wright has steered his anglers to many world records, and the men’s world record black marlin on 8# test line (462#) and the women’s world record black marlin on 30# test line (814#) are still standing.
Laurie is a long standing member and a past President of the Cairns Professional Game Fishing Association. You are invited to share Captain Laurie Wright’s love of marlin fishing and the Great Barrier Reef.
The Black Marlin Fishing Blog began in 2005 and is the brainchild of Kelly Dalling, daughter of one well-known Australian skipper Jim Dalling and now wife of another, KEKOA’s Luke Fallon.