Marlin Grander Slam - My first Try!

Great Barrier Reef 2011

After my Marlin Grander in Cape Verde Islands in May 2011, many of my fishing friends said: "Now you have to catch a Black Marlin Grander as well." I wanted to know, of course, in advance if any angler had already caught these three marlin Granders. My investi-gation revealed: to date, no angler had caught a Pacific Blue Marlin and a Atlantic Blue Marlin and a Black Marlin Grander weighing over 1,000 lb (453.56 kg). Now I was sure I had to seize this unique opportunity. Where have the largest marlin been caught? That's why I chose the Great Barrier Reef as my fishing destination. I searched for a very good boat at the Great Barrier Reef and found Capitan Tim Richardson – currently the best captain. Tim’s TRADITION sets sail from Cooktown. My trip was as follows: departure from Frankfurt, stopovers in Abu Dhabi, Sydney and Cairns, then continuing to Cooktown with the bush pilots. My trip (Frankfurt to Cooktown) took 36 hours! My partners for the next 14 days were: Tim Richardson, Australian captain and owner of Tradition; Scuba Steve Hall, USA, Decki; Carl Copeland USA, Decki; and the professional photographer, Scott Kerrigan, USA. The Great Barrier Reef is located approximately 50 nautical miles from Cooktown. Our desti-nation there was the "Ribbon No. 10 " sector.

The guys had caught a 1,103 lb Grander three days before my arrival – great marlin fishing was in our midst!

But alas, bad luck for two fish in the same year – perhaps it simply wasn’t to be? That did not mean that my fishing trip to Australia was unsuccessful: 29 Black Marlins behind the boat, 19 hook-ups and 9 that we caught. The boys valued the fish from 150 to 600 lbs. Two of the 700-class fish freed themselves from the hook. Unfortunately we lost another big fish after a 35 minute wrangle; this was also the only fish that may have weighed than 1,000 lbs! Other boats had more luck. Some of their (released) marlin were estimated heavier than 1000 lbs. I was also a bit unlucky with the weather. The first week it weather was very nice and the sea calm. However the second week it was quite the contrary: squalls up to 38 knots, waves up to four meters and torrential tropical rain.

Here’s how we fished for Black Marlin

130 lb lines and reels; the rods were extra strong. We trolled at a distance of about 30 meters on the surface with two dead bait fish over the outriggers. Our speed around seven knots. There was a constant drop back (slack line) of about twenty meters outboards as well. After a hook-up, the angler has to get the marlin to the boat as fast as possible; otherwise the risk increases that the fish will be eaten by the many sharks around the reef. I increased the braking force occasionally to 65 lbs – which levered me out of the chair three times!

Our bait fish: kingfish, mackerel, skipjack, yellow fin tuna, and rainbow runner with weights up to 50 lb. Catching fish with a light rod every morning was great fun for me!


Organizing such a journey is a major logistical challenge. Without Martina's help, I could hardly have done it. Fishing on the Great Barrier Reef was a great time for me - even without a Grander! Still for me, its the only place where there is real opportunity for a big Black Marlin catch. But even there the fish don't jump voluntarily into the boat!

We were a great team, had a lot of fun together and lived some exciting fishing adventures – that’s the most important thing! Again my thanks and best wishes as I cross my fingers for the rest of the season. Until next year for the next try!

More information about Tim Richardson and his TRADITION:

More information about the photographer Scott Kerrigan:

Stephan Kreupl in November 2011