Ribbon Reefs

The Iconic Far northern Great Barrier Reef – A Sportfishing Paradise

  • Excellent GT fishing
  • Light tackle lurecasting the reef flats for groupers, red bass, emperors, and much more
  • Micro jigging and soft plastic fishing the reefs is spectacular
  • Big Spanish mackerel trolling the reef edges
  • Great reef fishing for coral trout, emperor and other reef fish
  • Black marlin, Yellowfin tuna, wahoo and dogtooth are possible on the outside edge of the reef
  • Incredible snorkeling and scuba diving, and spectacular sand cays to explore
  • Accessed on a Mothership Drive out trip

Ribbon Reef Location Information

The Ribbon Reefs were the scene of the iconic and groundbreaking video by Malcolm Florence titled “The Great Reef Exploration”, filmed in the late 1970’s. Back in the seventies, this area was considered the ultimate in remote Sportfishing locations – incredibly remote, pristine reefs that could only be accessed by large vessels with significant fuel capacity.

Not much has changed really….And the fishing is just as good as it ever was. It’s still very remote, and rarely fished.

The Ribbon Reefs are famous for the incredible fishing for giant black marlin, and this 100 mile stretch of reef is the single best place in the world to catch giant black marlin. But it’s not just marlin that find these waters incredibly appealing. This stretch of reef is home to a massive variety of species, with big GTs, yellowfin, coral trout, red bass, yellowfin tuna, wahoo, sailfish and many other species calling this place home. So no matter what bluewater species you want to catch, the Ribbon Reefs offer an amazing fishing experience.

Ribbon Reefs Species Guide

The chart shows how the Ribbon Reefs compare to our other locations in terms of the main sportfish that we target. Cast the reef edge for GTs, pull a coral trout from a shallow reef or troll the reef edge for big mackerel, yellowfin and wahoo. So many options, the hardest part is choosing what to do on the second day!

Every day on the Ribbon Reefs brings new possibilities, and with such a variety of fishing styles and species available, this location is perfect for anglers wanting to experience all the possibilities that a remote reef area can offer.  There’s lots of GTs here, and at certain times of the year they are consistently in the 25-35kg range, with the occasional monster fish thrown in. The soft plastic and light jigging around the reefs is spectacular at times, with a mix of reef and pelagic species. The light tackle casting over the reef flats is also spectacular, and expect to lose lots of lures when fishing the reef flats in 2-4m of water. And then there’s trolling for mackerel, sailfish, yellowfin and marlin.

We’ll work our way between different anchorages each day, and you’ll fish a large area of reef, meaning plenty of options for different types of fishing along the way. And of course if you have a group of 3 anglers, your group will all fish together on one of our sportfishing boats and you can choose exactly what you want to do at any time.

When do we fish the Ribbon Reefs?

The Ribbon Reefs provide excellent year round fishing, and we access the area as part of our Coral Sea Lagoon Explorer trips , offering 3 and 4 day packages, starting at $3100/person + flights ex Cairns. Please check the Rates and Dates page for more information.

Getting to The Ribbon Reefs

The Ribbon Reefs are a remote area of reef, but we’ve made access simple and time efficient by flying you into Lizard Island at the northern end of the Ribbon Reefs.

You’ll start your trip at 10am on the first day with a 70 minute flight from Cairns to Lizard Island, and then board the mothership at Lizard Island for a quick lunch and safety briefing and then be fishing by early afternoon. The mothership will follow the fishing boats to the outer reef, and you will spend your first night on Odyssey anchored on the Northern Ribbon Reefs.

You’ll then have another 2 or 3 full days fishing, depending on the trip you have chosen, followed by another morning of fishing on the way back to Lizard Island for a 2pm flight back to Cairns. This then leaves plenty of time to catch a connecting flight home to most Australian capitol cities that evening.

You can also customise a Ribbon Reefs trip if you want to book the whole boat, just contact us for more details on a customised charter option for your fishing or corporate group.

Available Dates & How to Make a Booking

It’s Easy! Just Contact Us and tell us what species you are interested in catching, or which trip you like the sound of, and we’ll get back to you with pricing, available dates and all the info you need. Because we have so many trip options available, we like to either talk to you or chat by email before you make a booking so we can be sure that you’re doing the trip that best matches the species you want to catch and the styles of fishing you want to do.

Alternately, you can choose your own trip dates and location from the Rates & Dates page, and then Contact us to confirm availability and trip details.

For full information about all aspects of  a Ribbon Reefs trip, or any other trip, please call or email us and we’ll be able to send you a detailed information booklet that covers every question you’ll ever have about any trip, as well as a brochure, and a 2 hour promotional DVD that highlights all of the locations we visit.

Rates&Dates Contact Us Booking Form Information Booklet