Nothing that happened at Cairns and off the Great Barrier Reef in relation to the now famous black marlin fishery would have been possible without the remarkable pioneering efforts of this remarkable man. George was a visionary who, having studied the area whilst on active service during World War 2 with the US Army, moved his family from Florida, US to Cairns. He had a firm belief that there was a future for game fishing in the region and for a successful boat charter operation. His investment in the building and commissioning of “Sea Baby” was a leap in faith that most of us would not even contemplate.
That he did so and moved on to prove the wonderful grounds off Cairns is the stuff of legend. We salute Captain George and note that had he been alive today he would have been abashed by all the attention as he was a somewhat retiring man who did not particularly relish the limelight.
All of us salute the memory of George Bransford.
Cairns Commemorative Sculpture Committee:
Birth of an IndustryBirth of an Industry – Captain George Bransford first visited Cairns in 1943 as an American Paratrooper and was fascinated to hear the locals’ tales of enormous billfish along the Great Barrier Reef that smashed the professional fishermen’s gear and stole their catches. Bransford sold his fishing charter business in Fort Lauderdale and moved his family to Cairns in 1963 and had the 32ft, single engine Sea Baby built.
After 3 years of heartbreak looking for ‘that one big fish’ and losing many, on 25 September 1966, Bransford made world fishing history when he and deckhand Richard Obach landed a 1064lb black marlin, the first grander ever landed in Australian waters.
The fleet grew and many more big fish followed. Cairns boomed and has ridden to prosperity as the undisputed black marlin capital of the world. All thanks to the one man with a vision, and his big fish – Captain George Bransford.
- Cairns Game Fishing Hall of Fame Inductee 2006.
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