Great Barrier Reef

37 Fishing Charters

Great Barrier Reef Fishing Charters

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Top Fishing Charters in Great Barrier Reef

When you think ultimate big game fishing, think of the “Marlin Mecca” down under. If catching a 1,000 lb grander is at the top of your bucket list (as it should be!) then you’ll want to book a Great Barrier Reef fishing charter. As one of the seven natural wonders of the world and covering 344,000 square kilometers, this is the only naturally occurring phenomena that can be seen from space. The cherry on top? You can fish it!

What type of fishing charter is best for me?

There are plenty of private and shared trips available, of varying lengths, for anglers of all skill levels.

If this is your first offshore fishing trip:

There are plenty of reefs that can be found well within an hour’s ride of the harbours found along the coastline of Queensland. Cairns is 26 km from the reefs, so book a trip from here to not waste any time of your trip on a long ride out. This is the reason Cairns is called the Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef.

The inner reefs are perfect for snorkeling, spearfishing (in the areas where it’s allowed) and fishing for Trevally, Coral Trout, Nannygai, Red Emperor, Sweetlip, and plenty more species.

If you’re thinking of places to go for your honeymoon, Lizard Island is a great choice. With a luxurious resort, spectacular scenery, and only a 15-minute ride to the top fishing grounds, all couples will find this the perfect destination getaway.

If you have more experience and more time:

Longer trips are needed to get to the Outer Barrier Reef, Cod Hole, and Ribbon Reefs. You’ll need to have sturdy sea legs, as one night is the minimum you’ll want to spend out here. A three-day trip is best.

You’ll be heading 60–100 miles from shore, and be able to fish loads of species, including Black Marlin, Tuna, and Mahi Mahi. Before the continental drop off are some excellent spots for diving, including multiple shipwrecks. You can dive these in the morning and fish the afternoons when the Marlin fishing is best.

What to Bring

With the temperature reaching highs of 32°C, the Great Barrier Reef gets a lot of sunshine throughout the year. Make sure you dress appropriately, with a long sleeved, light-weight shirt, white-soled shoes, a sun-hat, and plenty of sunscreen.

You should bring an esky (cooler) along with you to take your fish home in. Your packed lunch can usually go inside the captain’s esky on board.

You’ll need a fishing license before you step aboard the boat.

When to Go

The wet season is from November to April, during the summer down under. The dry season, from May to October, offers cooler temperatures.

The peak season for tourists is from May to October, so remember to book your hotel and trips well in advance. Trips running mid-week are usually quieter.

The whole family can enjoy Great Barrier Reef fishing. You can choose to snorkel, dive, fish, and spearfish at various reefs. There are hundreds of reefs to visit and thousands of species of fish to discover. Book a Great Barrier Reef fishing charter and get ready to experience fishing like no other place on earth!

Great Barrier Reef
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Either in January or February, join in with the Cairns Chinese New Year Festival on land, or catch big game out in the reefs. Blue Marlin and Mahi Mahi are hot this month.


Blue Marlin and Tuna remain hot this month, along with the weather. Expect highs of 32°C but two weeks of rain to go with it.


Striped Marlin is excellent in March. You’ll likely see another two weeks of rain with highs of 31°C.


Blue Marlin and Striped Marlin continue to bite well this month. Although temperatures will reach 30°C, remember to have layers when out at sea – it can get cold out there.


On land, watch the Port Douglas Carnivale, a spectacle great for the whole family. The rain is slowly easing up, with around 10 wet days in the month of May.


See if you can spot the friendly dwarf minke whales. These can be seen off the coast of Queensland in June and July. Nannygai is biting well this month.


From July to September, join in the events and competitions at the Burdekin Water Festival, established in the 1950’s. Barracuda and Trevally are great this month.


August hails in the light tackle season (until January). On land, visit the Whitsunday Reef Festival, for family fun, food, fireworks, and an epic street party!


Now is a great month to dust off your heavy tackle and go after some big game fish! On land, from the last week of August to the beginning of September, is the Cairns Festival.


Put your skills to the test in the Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic. On land, show your support with the Great Barrier Reef Marathon Festival in Port Douglas.


Despite the start of the wet season, fishing is still great now – just watch out for the deadly box jellyfish. Don’t miss the Airlie Beach Festival of Music!


December to January are top months for targeting Sailfish. This is the last month to catch lots of Red Emperor and Coral Trout.

Great Barrier Reef Fishing Calendar

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January fishing trip
Ivana O. fished with Out N About Sportfishing on January 20, 2020
Didn’t catch any of legal doze on the day, but had heaps of fun. Would go again and will for sure.
Morning trip with Justin
Vicki G. fished with All Tackle Sportfishing on October 31, 2019
The weather starts to get a bit rainy after October.
Afternoon half day trip on 18 Sep.
Yuk Yee Helen Leung fished with Whitsunday Fishing—Reel Deal on September 18, 2019
Everything ready onboarding, friendly crew and beautiful scenery.
July fishing trip
Trevor P. fished with Gone Fishing Cairns on July 28, 2019
Relax and have a good time learn the ways of the experienced angler like the captain
Half day trip
Kwok N. fished with Out N About Sportfishing on July 19, 2019
Don’t be cheap and pay for a full day if time permitted, you will not be disappointed.
Half day with capt paul
Gary H. fished with Out N About Sportfishing on July 15, 2019
Yes , but keep on eye on changing wether , changes very quickly
Half day trip with Adam and the legendary skipper!
Alex M. fished with Airlie Beach Fishing Charters on June 30, 2019
A little bit windy but the weather was gorgeous. Sunny and clear.
Full Day Trip with Shawry
Alex G. fished with Hook Up Fishing Charters on June 28, 2019
A tough time of year to catch barramundi, but with so many other amazing fish to catch I wouldn't get caught up on solely targeting barra this time of year.