The group flew into Cairns on October 18, 2016, and then headed to Cooktown on the following day. That’s where the six boarded Bounty Hunter with Capt. Darren “Biggles” Hayden and Capt. Tim Dean of Calypso.
Mark Davis and his group of anglers experienced first-hand why Australia is one of the premier black marlin fishing destinations in the world. A one-week trip to the Great Barrier Reef netted 16 black marlin releases, quite a feat for the American anglers. Davis and his wife Wendy were accompanied by Ed and Lori Garrett, and David West and his girlfriend, Katie Hurta.
From there, the group headed for Ribbon Reef No. 5 to meet their mothership, Phoenix One. Most of the offshore fishing was between Ribbons No. 5 and 7, where the bite was hottest. In addition, the weather was beautiful and winds were light. “This year was a stellar trip,” Davis says.
A big reason he feels that way is the 900-pound black marlin the group hooked and released, which was the largest black marlin they encountered. That was one of four blacks that were over 700 pounds, with the group releasing two in the 800-pound range and one more between 700 and 800 pounds.