Well I am home after another huge year traveling the world chasing marlin in exotic destinations!!!
It was great to be back on the TRADITION after an incredible 6 months on the AMBUSH, starting in Panama, and then the full season in the Dominican Republic and a bit of time in Puerto Rico as well. I am heading back over in a few weeks for another full season in the DR, starting Feb 10 to May 25 in Casa De Campo for the incredible light tackle blue marlin FAD fishing, then moving up the coast to Cap Cana for the white and blue marlin fishing through August. If you have always wanted to see a lot of fish in a day, DR is the place, email me for more information. Tim@TraditionCharters.com
My crew for this year was Eric and Justin, and we kicked off our season out of Cooktown with long time clients Peter and Lydie. Lydie has become well known amongst Cairns regulars since she started fishing every season on the TRADITION in 2005, and this year we were back chasing the 50lb IGFA Women’s world record.
The trip started well with good conditions and a couple of mid range fish the first couple of days on the middle Ribbons, then fishing slowed for a couple of days as we made our way up to No: 10 Ribbon Reef with a nice 400 lb fish on 50. The next day we caught a little one and then around 5pm hooked a big fish at 2nd corner and began a tough fight on 50, on a potential world record sized fish. She new all the tricks and only showed herself on the bite before going down a couple of hundred feet and moving out away from the reef. Lydie did an amazing job and we had the leader a few times in the dark after almost 2.5 hours. While working hard on the leader to lift the fish up for a better look, the 650 leader parted and off she swam!! Definitely a nice big fish and quite close to what we needed for the record, but not to be. The next few days saw us tag some good fish up to 500 lbs on 50, averaging a fish a day, which considering we only fished in the afternoons was pretty good, we spent the mornings snorkeling, light tackle fishing and enjoying all that the GBR has to offer, especially some great food fish.
We had a couple of mates from the US join us for an extended trip of 18 days, and we spent a lot of time in the water spearing coral trout, as well as a multitude of other good fish. The marlin were a bit slow for the first week, with the only bite being up the top during the Lizard island Tournament, and we stayed away from the boats and had the middle Ribbons all to ourselves, but the fish didn’t know it!! And we had some slow days. Around October 22 things turned around and we missed a good fish around 600 lbs on the circle hook, and the water improved greatly, and we were rewarded with an awesome fish on the shotgun lure, a great big fish, around 1100 lbs in the middle of #5 Ribbon, and the bite was good all the way south to Linden Bank for the fleet. With good water and only a couple of other boats, I stayed in the middle and we had a really good day, I saw 9 fish, we had 4 bites and tagged a 700, 750 and 850 in a few action packed hours in great conditions!!
The next day I fished the same spot for 2 more good fish of 700 and 800 lbs!!! It was the end of the trip and we bait fished back to Cooktown for changeover.
Helmut fished with us for 5 days on his first trip for big marlin on the GBR, and came all the way from Austria, and the reef turned it on for him!!
First day we caught 2 fish, up to 400 lbs, another similar one the next day, then we marked a bunch of fish on day 3 but couldn’t get the bite even fishing till way after dark, but day 4 was a different story. I worked down to the south bait fishing and we fished the afternoon at St Crispin’s all by ourselves and caught a nice big fish around 900 lbs that really put on a show for us and showed Helmut what big fish can do!!! An awesome day for sure. But there was more to come, on the last day fishing the same area, we caught 2 fish, a little one and then a really nice fish, right up there around the mark, but after a bunch of big jumps, she just didn’t quite make 1000 lbs in my book. An incredible way to finish his trip and is already working out dates for 2014.
Laura and Chris joined us from Florida, along with the aptly named mother ship Laura J, with Capt Mitch and crew. We had 6 days of luxury, great food, friends and fishing out off Port Douglas and fishing from the Agincourt’s thru to the Linden Bank. The fishing was not as good as the previous couple of weeks, but we did see some good fish, and caught the right one!! The first few days we raised some big fish, but had some lazy bites before we caught one about 450 for Laura, and then the next day back at the honey hole in the Agincourt’s where we found the one that so many people come all the way around the world for, a beautiful big fish, well over 1000 lbs, and close to 1100, quite a quick fight for a big fish, and we let her go in excellent condition. This was our 2nd fish over 1000 lbs, and a really impressive one at that!!!! It was a big final night on the Laura J.
Another regular on the TRADITION, Brady joined us along with long time friend Erik, for 9 days out on the reef. Leaving Cooktown I headed back to No: 5 Ribbon and we experienced an incredible afternoon with no other boats in sight!!! From 2.30 pm onwards we saw 6 fish, had 5 bites, fought 3 and tagged 2, the biggest being 650 lbs, unfortunately the other big one fell off close to the boat, it was great to see some numbers back on the edge with great water and current. With high hopes, the next day wasn’t quite the same, and as had happened a few times this season already, the water had changed rapidly, moving the fish with it, so it was off searching to the north for good water. A few bites from small fish, but not too much to report. Luckily Brady and Erik were well into the spearing program, and this week was no exception, with some of the best spearing I have seen on the reef for a long time, and its always ok!!
Lots of trout around, beautiful conditions, and some big trout as well, with all of us getting plenty of nice big fish for the table. As well as some more exciting visits by some big whalers, and we had a great look at a Leopard shark, which was very cool!! We did manage a few more fish up to 400 lbs, but nothing like the first day, but plenty of wahoo, yellowfin tuna and big spaniards to make appetizers out of.
With the Ribbons slow we moved south and started a 3 day trip with Greg and his son Keith, who are definitely experienced with marlin fishing on their own boat, and excited for their trip on the GBR. We fished Linden Bank and out a little wider and the first day had 3 bites, fought 2 and tagged one about 350 lbs in flat calm seas. The next day we had a swim at North Opal Reef before heading out offshore where we managed to get the bites, but could not convert on a 500 and 600 lb fish, but ended the day with a smaller one so not too bad overall.
Our last trip of regular clients, the Gath’s came as a family this year, with the goal of showing mum Leah, why we all love to fish, and especially the GBR. In the 5 days we caught everyone a fish, with the first one for Leah, who was a bit overwhelmed by the whole experience!!! She caught a nice smaller fish that fought way beyond his size and put on quite a show.
The November weather was back, and afternoon thunderstorms were the name of the week, so a few different anchorages were had by the fleet with westerly winds. We went back up to the Agincourt’s for a couple of days, and saw a real nice fish that we couldn’t get to eat, that someone else did later in the day, so that was a bit of a bummer. But a nice dinner and evening was had while we watched the storms onshore from our anchorage.
The last day, which has always been the one for these guys, did it again!!! Last year we caught the biggest fish of the Cairns season for Mark and Leah’s son Stetson, a massive fish of 1220 lbs. Everyone wants to catch a grander black marlin, and who wouldn’t, but it doesn’t happen every trip!! But these guys must live the good life, because Mark was in the chair on a nice fish. Coming down towards where we had caught quite a few fish already this year I marked a big fish, down deep, and was waiting, looking, waiting. As I started to turn to go back around she climbed all over the shotgun lure, and decided to take it away from us. She didn’t really know what was happening and swam back inshore. We just slid back with not too much drag and got ready; it was going to be a show when she woke up. Sliding back we pushed the drag up to get her up on top and then she realized the lure was the problem and started on the surface like a blue with big rapid head shakes and lunging jumps. She was a big fat fish, with lots of girth all the way back, and I said to Mark that she’s big enough to go the grand no problem. The boys hung on the leader, we tagged her and let her go. The odds of the same guys catching granders a year apart to the day is pretty wild, in 2 trips they have a father – son combo of 1220 and 1100 lb black marlin!!!
It wasn’t over yet, as we fished thru the remainder of the fleet towards Cairns we tagged 2 more fish for the boys, both around 350 lbs each. A really incredible day and week of fishing out the front of Cairns.
Our last trip in December with James from Melbourne was pretty quiet, but we had a few bites and lots of fun, and that’s all we can do when the fish don’t want to play the game. Ant the boys have already booked for next season to come earlier.
Over all it was a great season for big fish, with pretty much the whole fleet catching granders, and many big fish, for us almost half our fish were over 650lb, with 3 well over 1000 lbs, and a few more right up there.
We had unusually calm weather in September and parts of October, which we paid for at other times, but overall it wasn’t particularly rough, and bait fishing was better for us than the last couple of years. http://traditioncharters.com/cairns-season-2013/ http://traditioncharters.com/cairns-season-2013/ http://traditioncharters.com/cairns-season-2013/A big thanks to my crew Eric and Justin, who worked hard to make the most of everyday and every fish for our great clients and friends who fish with us, many who fish year after year with me, and I thank them for this!!!
2014 is going to be another big one for TRADITION, with half our season already booked, so if your thinking about making the trip, let me know so we can sort out the best times, and live aboard or one of the many great mother ship options we have available for 2014.
On the other side of the world I will be back in the Dominican Republic from early February, and with the moon in the middle of each month, from around the 7th till the 25 of each month thru August is the best time to come down. I have a wonderful 3 bedroom condo in the marina with the boat right behind it, so we can all have a great time together.
Thanks for a wonderful 2013, and next year can only be bigger and better, and I hope you can join me!!!
Capt Tim Richardson