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History Late 70’s and 1980’s

Significant catches included, big fish on ultra light tackle with Mike Levitt taking the Men’s 12lb world record with a 732lber in 2981.

Jack Erskine also started fishing seriously with the light tackle in 1982. In 1984 he lodged three world record claims for marlin on 2kg, the heaviest being 20.425kg.

By the start of the 80s the trend of tag & release was increasing with an estimated 800 marlin ‘allowed to swim again’ after being caught during the 1983 season. Meanwhile, 36 black marlin over 1000b were weighed the same year!

The 9 boat professional charter fleet in 1972 had expanded to 20 boats by the mid 80s.

During the 1980’s, anglers from all over the world traveled to enjoy the fabulous fishing here and during this time the association was actively involved in local issues and promotion (clip from such a promotional video). In 1980, Vince Vlasoff led the association in a fight against foreign long-liners in the Coral Sea.

In the mid 80’s, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park was formed, and the association was very involved in the zone planning and associated fishing issues.

Another familiar face on the scene from the late 70s and 80s was Malcolm Florence – Malcolm pioneered fishing adventure movies paving the way many to come. Malcolm did everything, and made us want to do it too!

Mal Florence Big Fish Down Under

Capt. Jim Dalling, later a nearly 30-year veteran of the Cairns marlin season himself, first fished the Cairns marlin season on his boat Jac-Kel, camera boat for the filming of Mal’s Big Fish Down Under series on the Ribbon Reefs in the late 70’s, early 80’s.