Late bite

We finally got one around 300lb at 6:20pm on the last day of the trip. It was Craig’s 1st marlin and our 1st bite in three days…

The season starts to look better

With the weather still rugged, we fished Lena Reef and managed to pick up one around 400lb on our first day. However, days two to four were trying with bites hard to come by and seas uncomfortable.

Day five dawned bright and clear with winds in the 20-25kts range and very fishable sea conditions. After a productive morning's bait fish, we headed out to fish off Ribbons Reef No 3 and were joined by around a half dozen other boats. On a glorious day for a boat ride (relatively speaking, that is, after the 25-30kts we’ve become used to) the marlin decided to co-operate. It seemed at times most boats were hooked up and Shaka got her share. Around 2:15pm a nice 450lb-er jumped on and was successfully tagged and released.

Then just as those anchoring up at No 5 had departed around 5:45pm, a really nice one showed up. We called it at 850lb, tagged and released after an acrobatic show.
Photos courtesy of CP.

A Good Day for the Big Girl

On a day that saw several boats decide discretion was the better part of valour and call a lay day, Shaka braved the elements to fish the middle Ribbon Reefs and our efforts were rewarded in spades with an 850lb marlin for Ed Vander Kruk – crashing the tuna (which, incidentally, Ed had caught off the back of the boat at our mooring on no. 5 Ribbon Reef yesterday) on our last downsea run of the day. She was tagged and successfully released just on dusk.

Any day the big girl comes visiting is a good day on the GBR, no matter what the conditions...


Coral trout are great, but marlin are better! Ed Vander Kruk from Hooked-On Angling & Outdoors ( at Teewantin, has been feeding us with coral trout but today was his day...

Fishing in 30kts+ and 3m seas at the bottom of number four ribbons reef, Ed hooked up to his 1st black marlin and had a blast as it jumped all over and was finally released in great shape. Hopefully, more to come.

Hooked-on Trout

When the wind is 30kts plus and the fishing is slow, what better way to pass a few hours than throwing poppers behind the reef. And when the results include a five kilo coral trout, it makes missing out on marlin a little easier to bear…

Fierce to frightening...

It’s not always slick calm on the GBR – sometimes you have to earn a bite. Right now, with winds in the 20 – 30kts range and seas around 3m, it’s invigorating or as CP would say “sportif”...

We took advantage of a late start yesterday to pick up a couple of coral trout for dinner – barbequed Thai style with coconut rice. Every cloud has a silver lining!

2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 kg whole coral trout
2 spring onions cut into julienne strips

Preheat the barbecue on LOW to MEDIUM. Place the garlic, fish sauce, lemon or lime juice, ginger, chilli sauce, coriander and rice wine vinegar in a jug and mix well. Place the whole fish on a large double or tripled over piece of well greased foil. Pour the marinade over the fish and sprinkle with spring onion.

Wrap the fish into a parcel and cook for approximately 20-30 minutes or until flesh flakes easily when tested. Serve immediately with steamed coconut rice.

Fishing the Middle Ribbons

The fishing is looking good at the middle ribbon reefs. We released one at around 800lb and saw two other really nice ones.

Pickin' Away

With the charter out of the way and “the Boss” back in the chair we’re headed south, hopefully to better fishing. And what better way to pass the time than catching the odd marlin along the way. This one came up to say hello at the top of No 7 Ribbon Reef and was promptly brought in for a close-up.

Photo courtesy of Charles ‘CP’ Perry

Kiwi Hunter Bags 1st Marlin

Kiwi Matt Wallis heads up New Zealand’s premier hunting operation – Minaret Outfitters ( – and hunts exotic species all over the world. This was his first trip to the GBR and we were pleased to be able to hook him up to his first black marlin. This one turned up literally seconds before we called it quits on the last day of the trip – better late than never!

Persistence, hard work and luck

With the marlin hard to come by, it’s great when persistence (and hard work) pays off. Donald Nuckle’s second trip to the reef paid off today with his first fish - a real performer taken with a live bait tuna between Day and Hicks.

If you look closely, you’ll see the circle hook set from the outside in. A little luck doesn’t hurt…

Big Bait for Big Fish

Most fishermen would be happy to take home this Spanish Mackeral, but here on the GBR we believe in trading up...
This fella will be a skip bait which will hopefully entice a really big black marlin - something around the 1,100lb mark like the fish Daniel Spencer caught on a similar sized bait last year (see
Not a bad trade if we can do it!

Shaka on the Banks

There may be some dodgy banks in the US and Europe, but here on the Great Barrier Reef the banks are in good shape. At least, Linden Banks is.

Shaka’s 2008 Heavy Tackle Season got off to a flying start with 2-2-2 on our second day, including one we called at 950lb. After watching Laurie Wright on ‘Ningaloo’ and Tim Dean on ‘Calypso’ release three each on day one, we figured it was our turn and we weren’t disappointed. The 950lb crashed our rainbow runner and jumped all over the ocean during a 25 minute fight. With our number one – Charles ‘CP’ Perry - still in transit, deckie Ant Griffiths did a fine job in steering the chair, wiring and tagging the fish all by himself with Captain Jared fully occupied upstairs.

Here’s hoping there’re plenty more where she came from…

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