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2002 Cairns Marlin Season Quick Recap


By Anne Dalling / Reel Chase

September: Meanwhile, an angler on board ‘Sea Baby IV’ fishing at #5 Ribbon Reef successfully tagged a 950 lb giant black marlin, fighting it well into the night on stand-up 80 lb tackle.

October 3rd, and anglers fishing on board ‘Assegai’ with Captain Luke Fallon at Linden Bank tagged and released two big black marlin of 800 and 900 pounds respectively.  The Cairns Jackpot Tournament was held the last week of September and on a countback the winning boat was ‘Viking II’ with Captain Bill Billson with three black marlin tags.

The 16th Lizard Island heavy tackle black marlin fishing tournament just concluded produced fishing not seen along the Great Barrier Reef for many years and probably unmatched anywhere else in the world for that type of fishing.  The Tournament, held over the seven days from October 13-19. produced the amazing statistics of 493 strikes, 338 hook-ups and 176 tagged & released black marlin.  During the tournament 4 scientific pop-up tags were also deployed in marlin of various sizes.  There were also 3 fish weighed during the event.   Add to this the 11 fish that were disqualified by the respective boat crews because of IGFA rule violations during the fight such as the fish eating two baits or similar that can and do happen in this type of fishing.  This is testament of the integrity of the 20 competing boat crews and the attitude of the anglers generally.

Champion Team and Boat was ‘Viking II’ with 24 black marlin tagged & released.  Champion Male Angler was Peter Teackle on ‘Coocoran’ with 23 black marlin tagged & released, and Champion Female Angler was Amy Dobbins on ‘Amy D’ with 7 black marlin tagged & released.  Daily awards were won by ‘Viking II’ several times as well as  ‘New Moon II’, ‘Showdown’ and ‘Coocoran’, with up to 8 fish tagged & released in a single day of fishing – great fishing in anybody’s language.  Many giant black marlin up around the 1,000 lbs mark and over were tagged during the event including one estimated at 1,150 lbs and another of 900+ lbs which were tagged by the crew on ‘Reel Chase’ for anglers Roger Torriero and Richard Hassberger respectively on the last day of the tournament.

Initially during the Tournament, the fishing at #5 and #6 Ribbon Reefs was producing the majority of the results, but as the event went on the best fishing gradually moved further north with all but one of the 23 fish tagged & released on the final day being fought at #10 Ribbon Reef, east of Lizard Island.

The period November 12-17 was particularly good fishing. On ‘Reel Chase’ 14 black marlin were tagged in 6 days of fishing with several of these fish being in the 600-900 lb range.   On board ‘Reel Chase’, anglers so far this season have tagged & released three ‘granders’ with many other fish way up around the 700-900 lb mark.

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