Cairns – Year Round Light Tackle Fishing Mecca!

The great marlin and light tackle action continues through December and January !!

The light to medium tackle game fishing and bluewater sportfishing off Cairns is generally excellent year round, providing great action and good eating!

Before Cairns was recognised as the “Home to the Giant Black Marlin” more than 4 decades ago, it was an established fishing mecca for a huge variety of pelagic sportfish found in the surrounding cobalt waters.

The winter months (May to September) are best for targeting Spanish mackerel (king mackerel), sailfish and juvenile black marlin (up to 100lbs).

The warmer months (October to March) provide good fishing for wahoo, mahi-mahi, yellowfin tuna, big Spanish mackerel (up to 100lbs), sailfish and black marlin (100 to 250lbs).

Capt Ross and his crew on the Top Shot use lures, live baits and natural dead baits. Preferred lures range from bibless minnows to minnow style bibbed lures for mac tuna, Spanish mackerel and other species.

For marlin and sailfish, preferred lures are of the pusher style, such as Moldcraft and Pakula. Live baits used are yakkas, trevally, pilchards, pinkies and gobbers. The most prominent dead baits used are mullet and gar fish (ballyhoo). These are extremely effective on all species.

Tackle consists of trolling rigs with line classes varying between 6 to 24 kg depending on the size of the species sought. Four to five rigs are trolled with 1 or multiple teasers.

Light tackle equipment consists of the highest quality Penn Reels with matching custom Jack Erskine light tackle rods in all line classes.

The fishing grounds throughout our winter months are approximately 15 to 25 miles from Cairns and in our summer months between 15 & 35 miles (approximately 45 to 90 mins travelling each way).


Charter Options:

Ross offers full day private charters for groups of 1 to 6 anglers departing from Cairns. This option is definitely the most effective way to fish and enables you to maximize your fishing day.

Occasionally “shared” full day charters are put together (where you are married up with other anglers) though they require minimum angler numbers (min 5 / max 6) in order to guarantee the departure. Shared charters are often not confirmed until the afternoon prior to travel.

Overnight and extended liveaboard charters are also available and are a great way to maximize your fishing on great locations from Cairns, with meals and accommodation provided.

FULL DAY PRIVATE CHARTER: The Top Shot is an ideal game boat for day trips out of Cairns throughout the year – at 43ft she is roomy, fast and comfortable and is in survey for up to 8 passengers plus crew.

Your day charter includes exclusive charter of world class 43ft game boat, highly professional captain (20 years exp) and crewman, all quality fishing tackle & equipment, airconditioned comfort, morning & afternoon tea, lunch and refreshments. Departure 7.30 am from Cairns Marlin Marina, Returning 5.00 pm to 5.30 pm.

“LIVEABOARD” PRIVATE CHARTER: The Top Shot is perfectly set up for accommodating in air-conditioned comfort maximum 4-5 anglers and 2 crew on an extended liveaboard charter light to medium tackle gamefishing.

2-5 day liveaboard charters are a great way to experience the variety of fishing opportunities on offer close to Cairns. All meals, beverages, and linens are provided on a liveaboard charter. Anglers need only bring soft overnight bags with personal belongings. Departure 7.30 am from Cairns Marlin Marina, returning 5.00 pm to 5.30 pm on final fishing day.

Please email Ross directly for pricing & availability.



Anglers need only bring their personal belongings. All fishing tackle & equipment, morning and afternoon tea, lunch, softdrinks, bottled water are supplied. On extended overnight charters all meals and beverages (including Australian beer and wines) are included.


Recommended to Bring:

Sun protection including long sleeve fishing shirt, deck shoes, polarized sunglasses, brimmed hat, sunscreen, swimwear. On extended, overnight charters include light spray jacket, light jumper (in winter)and favorite music, camera and video.