• Sparkling gold game fishing gear
  • Bird view of Port Douglas with game fishing boats leaving marina
  • Bird view of game fishing boats in one row heading out to the Great Barrier Reefs
  • Game fishing boat Saltaire heading out to the Great Barrier Reef
  • Game fisher grabbing fishing line to draw in jumping marlin fish during tournament

Tournament Debrief 2023


The 14th Annual Port Douglas Marlin Challenge 2023 was deemed a tremendous success by all involved.

Nine of the country's best Marlin Fishing Boats competed for the coveted Leon Thomas & Brett Thomas Memorial Trophies for tagging the most Black Marlin over 4 days from the 15th - 18th November.

Club President Lynton Heffer said, 'with a combination of sensational weather and with the billfish on the bite it surpassed all previous tournaments. This year 35 Black Marlin were tagged and released eclipsing the previous best of 26 tags. It put Port Douglas well and truly on the world map as the best marlin fishery in the world once again'.

Tournament highlights were a plenty but the stand out moments included the Iluka game boat tagging a 900lb black marlin, Gorilla game boat with a double hook-up resulting in a 750lb black marlin and the Weapon vessel catching a 700lb black marlin on 80lb stand up gear which took 3hrs to complete the tag.

Club President locally known as 'Heff' further commented, 'we had competitors from Switzerland, Germany, and from all over Australia, with our furthest vessel coming from Sydney. We also had a strong contingency of local vessels and crew from the Port Douglas and Cairns region. This is the absolute Formula 1 of Fishing, basically the Grand Prix of Angling in the world and we produced it in spades. We are so proud of those who competed and the conduct in which the tournament unfolded'.

He also went on to thank its small hard working local committee, sponsors which accumulated over $20,000 in prizes and for the skippers and crew which kept all the punters safe and sound in what can be a very dangerous sport at times. It was celebrated on the final evening at the Port Douglas Marina at the appropriately named Lure Restaurant, where 85 participants shared their stories and congratulations accompanied by legendary local band Seachange.

Tournament Results

Champion Team

Iluka - 8 tags
Gorilla - 7 tags
Weapon - 5 tags
Miss Nic - 5 tags
Shaka - 3 tags
Freedom Shores - 2 tags
Wild Turkey - 2 tags
Aspro - 2 tags
Saltaire - 1 tag

Champion Angler

Ben Atkins 5 tags - Weapon

Champion Boat

Iluka 8 tags

Champion Skipper

Reg Moore - Iluka

A huge thanks must go to our club sponsors: Tackle World Cairns, Shimano,  Above Grade Marine Services, Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina, Big Boat Shed, Fishing Port Douglas, Wine Divas, BME Boat Builders, Seakeeper and ICIT who without their backing this tournament would not be the success it is.

And of course a big thanks and congratulations to all the boats that entered. We hope to see you all again next year.