Experienced anglers from as far afield as Russia, Japan, Canada, USA and the UK are set to join their Australian counterparts on Lizard Island later this year with just one thing on their mind: to fish for giant black marlin and qualify to join the prestigious Lizard Island 1000 pound Tag and Release Club.

The 24th Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic – from October 16th-23rd – is one of the last bastions of gentlemanly sports, where the objective is not the prize money, but the physical and emotional challenge of catching the black marlin which return to the warm waters of the Great Barrier Reef off Lizard Island every year to spawn. This area of the Coral Sea is one of the only known spawning areas on the planet for black marlin.

Award-winning Lizard Island is Australia's northernmost resort, 150 miles north off the coast from Cairns and 16 miles off the coast near Cape Flattery, right on the spectacular Great Barrier Reef, fringed with colourful coral reefs and postcard perfect beaches.

A constant favourite in the 'world's best' lists, Lizard Island was recently voted as having the Best Leisure Facilities by Conde Nast Traveller Magazine UK, in addition to making regular appearances on the Conde Nast Traveller Gold Lists.

Black marlin weighing a massive 1000lb plus have been caught and released off Lizard Island feeding off the plentiful tuna and mackerel populations found in the tropical waters. The waters off Lizard Island area are one of the very few areas in the world where you have great chance of catching one of the giants of the species. And you don't need to be a seasoned fisherman, as your chances of catching an elusive giant black marlin are arguably the best in the world. Little wonder the waters off Lizard Island are called the black marlin capital of the world.

By the early 1970s more than 90 per cent of all 1000lb-class black marlin (otherwise known as the Holy Grail of angling) came from this region off Lizard Island, which helps attract big name fishermen and celebrity anglers the world over. However, by 2006 the tournament became tag-and-release only, meaning no fish are deliberately killed and weighed. The tournament kicks off with the Calcutta Boat Auction on Saturday 16th October, where the entered boats will be auctioned off to the highest bidders, with the successful bidder of the winning boat receiving the total prize pool, less 10% donated by the Lizard Island Game Fishing Club to research and development, conservation and charity.

The following day, all vessels assemble for a 'sailpast' in Anchor Bay which starts at 9.15am with the fishing tournament starting at 11am. Whether you're an experienced angler or a complete novice, watching the annual 'sailpast' is a spectacular event, with more than 40 fishing vessels sailing past Anchor Bay in some years.

The civilised start time every morning means there is plenty of time for anglers to enjoy the many activities Lizard Island has to offer, including an early morning dive or snorkel directly off the beach; or perhaps a leisurely spa or a run to the top of Cook's Look.

Fishing off Lizard Island is not just limited to the months of September to December. It is available year round thanks to the luxury Fascination III vessel which is operated exclusively for guests on Lizard Island and is available for private fishing or diving and snorkelling charters. A 51ft Riviera Platinum Model Flybridge Cruiser, Fascination III has a cruise speed of 20 knots and can take up to 10 passengers (including crew).

Lizard Island Game Fish Club president Bob Lowe has been fishing the waters off Lizard Island every year since the 1980s, and lobbied the Howard government to stop commercial boats killing the black marlin which eventually led to the Marlin Bill, which was passed about six years ago, protecting both blue and black marlin from commercial exploitation by long-liners.

“I once spent two months on Lizard Island during the black marlin season. It's the very best in angling tournaments and what better place to host it than a world-class location like Lizard Island,” Lowe said.

About Lizard Island:
Lizard Island is Australia's northernmost resort, located 150 miles north off the coast of Cairns, right on the Great Barrier Reef. Activities include hiring a dinghy, a gourmet picnic and heading to one of 24-white powder sand beaches. Or trying your hand at some Big Game fishing, or diving the world-renowned Cod Hole.

Lizard Island is owned and operated by Delaware North Australia Parks & Resorts, owners of iconic Australian resorts including Wilson Island, El Questro Wilderness Park, Lizard Island and Kings Canyon Resort.

Globally, Delaware North's tourism portfolio includes iconic properties in North America, such as Yosemite, Sequoia, Yellowstone and Grand Canyon national parks; Kennedy Space Centre Visitor Complex; Tenaya Lodge; Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa; Niagara Falls State Park; Jones Beach; The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake; Holiday Inn West Yellowstone; and Gideon Putnam Resort.


Louise Longman
Longman Communications
+61 488 215 983
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