Peter Bristow, born in Brisbane, Queensland in July 1938, has long been a famous figure in local and international game fishing circles. He commenced as a commercial dory fisherman off Point Lookout, North Stradbroke Island in 1959, boating large cobia, mackerel and snapper. He moved to Cairns in 1968, crewing aboard Alan Collis’ Marlan, then only the second purpose built charter boat in the region, from which he quickly learned the business of catching and boating big fish.
In 1970, Peter launched Avalon, a 38 ft. fly bridge cruiser, to enter the charter fishing business on his own account. Over the next 23 years, Captain Peter operated his boat for a host of anglers from Australia and from around the world. Such famous angling figures as Jo Jo del Guercio, Sir William “Alf ” Stevenson, Don Tyson and Mead Johnson, to name a few, benefited from Peter’s expertise.
The Avalon had boated or tagged 1000 giant black marlin by 1976, and by 1991 the tally stood at 51 blacks over 1000 pounds, the heaviest weighed being 1323 pounds. Peter had by now boated, released or tagged almost 2000 giant blacks.
In 1973, Peter had identified and proven that the grounds at No. 10 Ribbon Reef were the most productive in the entire region for giant marlin. He and his anglers, and other vessels in the fleet, experienced unbelievable fishing, stories of which have gone into fishing history. In 1981 Peter, and underwater explorers Ron and Valerie Taylor, led the successful lobbying campaign for protection of the famous Cod Hole site, ensuring that the now famous potato cod remain protected but accessible to sports divers. Captain Peter was also heavily involved in the declaration of the Michaelmas Cay seabird rookery as a protected area to reduce the damage to the nests and vegetation on this important nesting site.
The year 1992 saw Peter Bristow take Avalon north to Pohnpei in Micronesia, to set up a charter operation that he operated successfully for four years, finally disposing of Avalon in 1996 after 27 years of service. He moved to the UK and purchased the cruiser Katherine B and placed her in charter to fish the famed waters of Madeira, in the Atlantic Ocean, particularly for giant blue marlin and tuna.
He remains there to this day but he keeps in close contact with his clients, old and new and his peers in Cairns, Hawaii and USA. With over 50 years in the business, and with a reputation that is probably unsurpassed, Captain Peter Bristow remains one of the most recognisable figures in world game fishing, having helped establish Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef as the world’s big fish mecca.
- IGFA Gilbert Keech Heavy Tackle award 2008.
- Cairns Game Fishing Hall of Fame Inductee 2016.
- IGFA Tommy Gifford award 2019.
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