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Cairns giant black marlin fishery
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.
Over the years Cairns has attracted celebrities such as Hollywood movie start Lee Marvin, author Wilbur Smith, media mogul Rupert Murdoch, USA President Jimmy Carter, golfers Greg Norman and Jack Nicklaus as well as countless Australian and New Zealand anglers as well as big game fishermen from all over the world in search of a black marlin. Few have come away disappointed.
Click on the links below to go to the history era of your choice!

1950's to 1970's

Late 1970's - 1980's

History: the 1990's


Visit our significant catches library which identifies many of the most significant (and often record) catches of the Cairns Giant Black Marlin fishery since the first 1000lb-er back in 1966.