Basic Tips for Your Cairns Fishing Trip

No doubt about it, Cairns in Australia’s Northern Territory is one of the best destinations in the world for anglers. Whatever type of fishing environment you prefer, from estuary to deep sea, you’ll have the time of your life when you travel to this lovely NT city.

Barramundi, marlin and yellowfin tuna are among the most sought-after targets in this tourist spot. And to help you have the best chances of catching these species, check out some local information about each of these creatures before heading out into the waters of Cairns.


Anglers come over to this city in NT often to have bragging rights about catching the elusive barramundi. You’d just love to catch this creature, because it not only is an ultimate fishing challenge but also makes for a tasty meal.

However, if your agenda is to bring it to your table, stay away from the barramundi breeding period, which differs according to location. During this closed season, you can only practice catch-and-release. After your efforts of catching a monster, you won’t have any choice but to make sure it’s returned to the water in perfect condition. On the East Coast, this is strictly imposed from November to February every year. But if you’re on the West, you have to check it before you make your trip. The barramundi’s closed season in this area varies annually and sometimes starts earlier and stretches longer than in the east.


When you go to Cairns, you shouldn’t be looking for just any marlin, but a black marlin. It is, after all, known now as the Black Marlin Capital of the World.

And if you want to see the reason for the city owning this title, you should plan for a trip anytime during the last quarter of the year. Fishing charters will most probably take you to the Great Barrier Reef area, where the black marlin thrives. It’s during this time that you’ll have a good chance to catch a marlin monster from 800 to over 1,000 pounds! But you must also keep in mind that since this is the big fishing season, you need to book months ahead from charter boat and other necessary transports to accommodation.

But you can still catch a good-sized marlin from January to March. Light tackle fishing at this time can also give you other species like sailfish, tuna and barracuda.


Expect a 50-kilo tuna as the average catch in Cairns waters. But you should aim for the big yellowfin ones if you travel between December to May. Don’t be surprised if you get one that’s over the 100-kilo mark. You can also chance upon a sailfish or a giant trevally when hunting for tuna.

You’ll find many fishing charters in Cairns. If tuna is your target, you can save costs through a share charter that does a mixture of reef and light tackle fishing. Each boat of this type will take in a maximum of 6 anglers.

As mentioned earlier, you can also catch barracuda, sailfish, trevally and so much more in this coastal city. You can be sure that once you’ve got your trip booked including your charter, all you need to think about are your personal belongings, such as change of clothes and toiletries. Most charters will provide you with fishing equipment, meals and beverages – including beer and other alcoholic drinks. But of course, it’s always best to check with the charter company about the inclusions in your trip.

About the author

Sofia Angeli is a PR & communications consultant for companies in various industries. In particular, she brings her writing skills and passion for culture and travel to the online world, including

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