Trips - Cairns: Black Marlin Capital of the World!

Cairns, located off the North East coast of Australia has the best BIG Black Marlin fishing in the World! For more than 4 decades traditional game fisherman have been landing 1000 pound plus Black Marlin off the edge of the Great Barrier Reef. These enormous fish known as “Granders” are the “Holy Grail” of the game-fishing world.

In 2004 Rob Torelli and his Blue Water Hunting International team pioneered Black Marlin Spearfishing for the serious and dedicated Blue Water Hunter off Cairns, Australia.

Since then, the Blue Water Hunting International team have conducted three very successful and safe trips. On all of these expeditions at least one of the clients have landed black Marlin over 250 pounds. One 650 pounder was lost after an epic half-hour fight and a grander has been filmed at very close range. These expeditions have presented Rob Torelli with the opportunity to capture some of the most exciting blue water hunting images ever recorded.

Watch this clip below to see a Blue Water Hunter spear a Black
Marlin off Cairns.


The principal fishing grounds occur approximately 40 miles East of the Australian mainland between Cairns and Cooktown to the north. The specific areas vary through out the season but centre around the Ribbon Reefs, on the Great Barrier Reef.

110 kg Black Marlin All spearfishing is done from World-Class game fishing charter vessels varying in size from 36-60 feet. These fishing vessels stay out at the reef and the clients live on “motherships”. These are vessels that our team retreat to after a days fishing. Another option is the clients can stay on their own private vessels if available. (ie. yachts). In some instances we can stay on the fishing vessel and whilst this is a cheaper option it is much less comfortable than the “mothership” option.
Client proudly displaying a 110 kg Black Marlin.


Spearfishing expeditions for Black Marlin typically last seven days. Shorter four days options have still resulted in the landing of fish but Blue Water Hunting International strongly recommends a seven-day option to have a good chance at a shot at a one thousand-pound Black Marlin.


The waters off Cairns are typically very clean and warm. Visibility is usually between 30-40 meters on the Marlin grounds and water temperature is usually between 26-29 Degrees Celsius. The wind varies daily and through out the season but typically conditions in the open water can be choppy with around 15-20 knots of wind. Calmer days are possible but divers do need to contend with choppy seas.


Spearfisherman need to be competent open water freedivers and reasonably fit. The fight with a big Black Marlin could last over an hour. There is also a very good chance that the Black Marlin will attract various sharks including Bull Sharks. Whilst our divers do offer great protection and follow you through out the fight, this style of fishing is still risky. This type of expedition is not for the faint hearted, but nor is trying to climb Mount Everest!


The target species is without doubt Black Marlin, which does grow to over 1000 pounds. Other blue water species that occur in the open water include Wahoo, Yellowfin Tuna, Mahi Mahi and Big Eye Tuna.

In fact, on the Full Moon in November and December a Tuna Aggregation occurs when the spawning Lantern fish attracts hundreds of thousands of large Yellow fin tuna and Big Eye Tuna. Other species include Whale Sharks, Manta Rays, Oceanic Sharks and even whales. This natural phenomenon can occur twenty miles off the Ribbon Reefs or over 200 miles away. Charter operators who have encountered this aggregation have had amazing results with 200 pound plus Big Eye and Yellow fin tuna being landed.

Click here for a dedicated page on these trips.

A small Cairns Black Marlin around 250 pounds

In November 2006 we encountered a floating log offshore from Ribbon Reef 3 and this resulted in our clients landing several Mahi Mahi and Wahoo.

Some clients spend time spearfishing around the Ribbon Reefs for reef species such as the tasty Coral Trout, Jobfish, Spanish Mackerel and massive Giant Trevally to over 100 pounds.

A small Cairns Black Marlin around 250 pounds!


The Black Marlin Season occurs from mid September through to mid December each year with October and November offering the most consistent catches. Blue Water Hunting International typically runs their expeditions in October and November.


The Blue Water Hunting International Black Marlin packages are fully catered for. The package includes the charter fishing vessel, (the mothership if required), the guides, a customised DVD of your adventure, all meals and beverages, transfers, etc.

This form of fishing isn’t cheap and Blue Water Hunting International only book vessels upon the request of clients. A 50% deposit is required at time of booking.

As there are a number of various different fishing vessels and motherships available all prices are on application. Packages start from $5500 AUD per day.

Expeditions depart from either Cairns or Cooktown in north Queensland.
Blue Water Hunting International are very particular on which charter vessels we book and these tend to “book out” by early in the year for the Black Marlin Season.

Contact us for availability and costs.

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