see + do
Concierge.com's insider take:
The outer reef—particularly Lizard Island —is home to some of the world's best game-fishing sites. Giant black marlin, sailfish, wahoo, Spanish mackerel, and tuna—as well as barramundi and the picturesquely named sooty grunter—are all plentiful here. Closer to shore, your catch might include red emperor, coral trout, sea perch, and mackerel. Regardless of what part of the reef you're on, the fishing is best between August and December.
If you're game to spend several days hunting down your prize catch, it's hard to beat a charter aboard the Port Douglas–based Phantom. This 65-foot Precision Cruiser (owned by Aussie pop icon John Farnham) is tricked out with all the bells and whistles: state-of-the-art tracking equipment, dual live-bait tanks, top-notch gear and tackle, and a 20-foot tender craft for exploring estuaries. Up to eight people can stay on board at once (you must charter the entire boat); at the end of the day, you can lounge with your friends in the opulent saloon below deck while chef Greg Bull cooks your catch (61-74-094-1220; www.phantomcharters.com.au).
Day-anglers can board the 60-foot luxury Norseman, based in Port Douglas (night charters also are available). Work up an appetite hauling in red emperor or coral trout with rods and hand lines, or use float lines to lure giant trevally and tuna. Then tuck into a smorgasbord lunch while the crew cleans and chills your catch (61-74-099-6668; www.mvnorseman.com.au).
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