Cairns Reef Fishing Charters

Cairns Reef Fishing Charters

Best Reef Fishing Charters in Cairns

Top Reef Fishing Charters in Cairns

Reef Fishing in Cairns

Cairns reef fishing has to be on everyone's bucket list. Located in the north of Queensland, Cairns is known as the "Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef" due to its proximity to this natural phenomenon – it's just 27 kilometers (16 miles) away from the beginning of the Great Barrier Reef! The Reef is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and the only living thing that can be seen from space. That’s not something you’ll easily forget! The fish here are varied and beautiful, ranging from small Clownfish to huge Maori Wrasse and trophy-sized Marlin.

What to Catch

Although Cairns is known as a Marlin Meccah, when reef fishing, expect to see huge Maori Wrasse, Giant Trevally reaching 100 pounds, Narrow-barred Spanish Mackerel, Red Bass, Coral Trout, Sweetlip, Nannygai, Queenfish, Red Emperor, and many more amazing species that swim in these waters. The Great Barrier Reef is the richest in marine biological diversity, and over 1,400 species make their home here – fish and coral structures rule under the water.  

Where to Go

The Great Barrier Reef can be split into different areas that should be explored fully. The further out you go, the better the visibility – great for both divers and those sight fishing. The mix of marine life is huge, from tiny fish to trophy-sized. There are many feeding sites for big predators, especially where the ocean floor drops from 100 to 1,000 fathoms. Make sure you have a packed lunch with you, it can be a long ride out to the best spots.

Inner Reefs

Around the islands, such as Whitsunday Islands, you’ll find the inner fringing reefs. These can be reached on a day trip, and offer a lot of juvenile fish species.  It’s also possible to find Giant Trevally, plenty of Sharks, and Maori Wrasse on the inner reefs. If diving here, you’ll have around 5 meters of visibility – also perfect for spearfishing and sight fishing, perfect for a day trip.

Outer Barrier Reef

A long day trip or an overnight trip are best to explore the outer parts of the Great Barrier Reef, which are over 60 kilometers from Cairns. Here, the continental shelf drops off, leaving you with some record-breaking fishing opportunities. Top spots to choose from include Bait Reef and Hardy Reef.

Ribbon Reefs

These narrow reefs, also called the Northern Reefs, need a multi-day trip to fully appreciate, due to the 96 km distance from Cairns. Remote but bountiful, not only can you hook reef fish, but game fish too. Black Marlin fishing is incredible here, and you are sure to hook a personal best. You’ll also catch Sailfish, Wahoo, Giant Trevally, Coral Trout, Yellowfin Tuna, Red Bass, and many more.

Holmes Reef

This reef is split into two sections known as West Holmes and East Holmes. There are two pinnacles here that are home to a multitude of Barracuda, Trevally, Nurse Shark, and Stingrays amongst others.

How to Fish

Reef fishing is locally called “bottom bouncing,” and with 10% of the world’s coral reef ecosystems here, you’ll be bottom bouncing to your heart’s content.

  • When reef fishing, many methods can be used with great results. Overall, use short 2 m rods.

  • The currents are strong here – to counter them, use heavy lead sinkers.

  • The fishing action is non-stop, so use a minimum 50 lb braid to prevent your line from breaking or snagging.

When to Go

Don’t forget that the seasons in the southern hemisphere are opposite to the northern hemisphere.

There is a closed season on the reefs in October and November (four days in each month around the time of the new moon) where you won’t be able to fish.

For excellent Red Emperor and Coral Trout fishing, head over between October and December.

Head down under for the ultimate reef fishing experience and dive in!

 
Cairns
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent 4.15
Based on 20,092 reviews by FishingBooker anglers

Reviews of Fishing in Reef Fishing in Cairns

Morning trip with Justin
Vicki G. fished with All Tackle Sportfishing on October 31, 2019
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
The weather starts to get a bit rainy after October.
July fishing trip
Trevor P. fished with Gone Fishing Cairns on July 28, 2019
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
Relax and have a good time learn the ways of the experienced angler like the captain
October fishing trip
Robert G. fished with Fish Hunter FNQ on October 12, 2018
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
Must book this fella had an awesome day even had home made muffins very nice indeed ! 10/10
Half day with the captain
Ric G. fished with Paradise Sportfishing Adventures on August 23, 2018
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
Take the time to check the tides and try to coordinate with the fisho.
August fishing trip
Missy B. fished with Fish Hunter FNQ on August 14, 2018
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
Bring a jacket. Can be chilly in the mornings.
Half Day Morning trip with Captain John
David M. fished with Paradise Sportfishing Adventures on August 13, 2018
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
Make sure you use Paradise Sportfishing Adventures.. A great way to see the Cairns waterway inlets and catch your live bait before you fish..
Half day estuary trip
Alan M. fished with Paradise Sportfishing Adventures on April 15, 2018
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
Go with a pro, they work hard to put in the best position to catch quality fish
Half day fishing trip
Bohdan K. fished with All Tackle Sportfishing on April 5, 2018
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
Fishing without a boat can be difficult. However, doing some research beforehand can result in some success.

Top Targeted Reef Fishing Species in Cairns