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North Queensland Day and Liveaboard Reef Fishing

Northern Conquest Charters cater for 12 hour and extended liveaboard fishing trips from Townsville, Cairns and in season Princess Charlotte Bay.

A 20% discount applies on 24 hour trips purchased in December and January.

The Catch

We are proud to offer what we believe could be the most versatile range of live aboard options in the country!

  • Standard reef fishing for coral trout, red emperor and numerous other species
  • Coral Sea wilderness fishing (Flinders Reef) which includes species such as marlin, huge dog tooth tuna, XOS GTs, dinosaur coral trout and much more
  • Specialized guided trips utilizing methods such as deep sea jigging, poppers, soft plastics and trolling techniques for dog tooth tuna, amberjack, Spanish mackerel, dolphin fish, wahoo, GTs and other highly respected sports and game fish.
  • Mud crab and Barramundi tours in the pristine Hinchinbrook Channel
  • Option to snorkel pristine locations on the reef as a means of breaking up long trips and giving your arms a much needed rest
  • Island and sand cay stop overs to stretch the legs if clients are keen
  • Choice of dories on offer if required

We think a more relevant question would be what won’t I catch? There is literally a plethora of diversity on offer out there. Commonly we would base our night fishing on targeting iconic Australian sports fish such as red emperor and large mouth nannygai. Of course that’s not to say you won’t tangle with a whole host of other species as well. Species such as spangled emperor, cobia, cod, green job fish, mangrove jack (reef jacks) are a common and most welcome by-catch during these dedicated sessions.

When day dawns, the focus soon becomes targeted to the legendary and splendid eating, coral trout but due to the shallower shoaly/reefy country, it is common to catch the highly prized red throat emperor as well. On most occasions, we would opt to run some floating baits for a Spanish mackerel or two which is a high speed pelagic speedster in these parts.

Whilst steaming out and back to/from the reef, our clients are welcome and encouraged to tie on one of our high speed trolling lures as these will quite often result in a mackerel, wahoo or even a sailfish (which has happened before!). These fish are just icing on the cake and are a great way to close out a trip where a bunch of red fish have been caught.

Our experienced and helpful deckhands will gut, gill and bag up your fish so your prized catch is ready for you upon return to port.

Deep Sea Jigging

After the prized plate catch? Our guides have marked every bounty hole where you can sink a heavy line right to the bottom, where some fast-paced jigging can land you the stunning Red Emperor, Nannygai and our favourite; the Coral Trout. Be prepared for a arm workout bringing your catch up to the surface!

Plastics and Poppers

Jump onboard the tender and head to the shoals and bommies in any of the pristine reef lagoons for some fun on the light tackle! Flick about with your tempting lures to bring in Dog Tooth tuna, Mahi Mahi and even Wahoo!


Whilst heading out to and back from the reef, or moving over the shelf, we will let out baited or lured lines as we motor along. This is a popular method for catching those pelagic species such as Wahoo, Spanish Mackerel and even a Sailfish if you’re lucky!


We are proud of our association with Shimano and use their rods and reels exclusively.

T Curve Rods matched with Tiagra, Torsa and Talica overhead reels as well as Stella and Saragosa spin reels ensures that if you need to use our equipment then you can rest assured you are using the very best equipment available on the market.

For our bottom fishing, we supply good quality glass rods teamed with Spheros, TLD, Tekota and Tyrnos reels. If our clients have their own gear, they are welcome to bring it along.

It is worth noting that all terminal tackle (swivels, sinkers and hooks) and bait is supplied on these trips, along with any high speed lures or prepared swim baits trolled for pelagic fish.

Big Merv Hughes and Northern Conquest Charters


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Extended Liveaboard Trips

You can't beat night fishing on the Great Barrier Reef and whether you have 24 hours or a week ,Northern Conquest Charters offers a range of scheduled trips you can snag a seat oon r charter your own trip with mates.

24 Hour Trips

These are our most popular trip option due to the balance of both night and day time fishing. Normal scheduled departure times are between 4.00pm and 6.00pm and returns occur 24 hours later. For your convenience “Sir Reel” has air conditioned cabins if a rest is required (trust me, you will need a rest after a solid day of pulling red emperor and nannygai from the depths). If you have the stamina, you can most definitely opt to fish all night. Unlike other operators, we crew our boat so if the fishing goes off the boil, we simply shift spots at any time necessary through the night. This enables maximum opportunity for our clients to capitalize on the exceptional fishing on offer. The whole boat booking can also be worked on a pro rata system for passenger numbers between the guidelines.

3-7 Day Liveaboards

We target a large range of fish on these trips including Marlin both Black and Blue, Huge Dogtooth Tuna, Giant Trevally, Mahi Mahi, Wahoo and much more. Trolling, popper casting and jigging are covered.

These trips go out to around 140 nautical miles. This is out to either Flinders or Holmes Reef in the Coral Sea. Travel is outside fishing time and the trip is 5 full days fishing.

A normal day would see 4 of our guests leave at first light on “Reelistic” to troll the 1000m drop off. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the place the big marlin call home. Another 3 guests would be boarding our tender vessel Beechey for a morning of serious arm stretching, throwing poppers and stick baits for car doors with fins – XOS GT’s along the reef edge and numerous bommies. Hooking them is the easy part due to their aggressive nature, but landing them is another “kettle of fish” (pardon the pun) all together. The rest of the party would then head off to jig the pinnacles that abound in this area on “Sir Reel”. Dog tooth tuna, coral trout, green jobfish and the like are the targets from this cavernous terrain. The groups then rotate through these options over the coming days to their hearts content.

By no means are these options set in stone. If our clients have a preference for one particular type of fishing above all others, then we are more than happy to cater for this request. Our vessels and crew are adaptable and tailor to suit the requirements of our clientele.

If getting up close and personal is what you are after, we also have two 4.2 metre Quintrex (aluminium) dories which we utilize for shallow water fishing in the lagoons and inside the reef edge. Some truly epic light tackle popper and plastic sessions can be experienced in these locations.

This fishing is nothing short of tremendously exciting here. The visibility through the gin clear azure waters allows the angler to see fish rise from the bottom to smash your surface lures. In our opinion there is nothing more exciting than watching your surface lure disappear in an eruption of foaming white water. Its visual and addictive, but warning, a spare change of underwear may be required on occasion!

Liveaboard Pricing

Prices are dependent on multiple factors, some of which being group size, whether exclusive use or shared use are required and also on what day you may require your trip. The whole boat booking can also be worked on a pro-rata system for passenger numbers between the guidelines. All individual bookings include insurance. This insurance can only be obtained if a booking is fully paid for 2 weeks before trip departure. If a trip is inside this time frame a free rebooking is offered. Unfortunately we cannot offer this to corporate groups so we offer a free rebooking service for these clients. Corporate groups will receive a discount please enquire. We also offer Defence discount. Payment terms are 25% at time of booking with the balance 2 weeks before trip departure


  • Air port Pick up
  • Breakfast- Bacon, Sausages, Omelettes, cereal, fruit and yoghurt.
  • Morning Tea- Cakes, biscuits and fruit
  • Lunch- BBQ, cold meat, Caesar salad, green salads. Sometimes the cook will do dishes like spaghetti bolognaise and others
  • Afternoon Savouries-Savour platter’s, chips and dips.
  • Dinner- Roasts, BBQ’s and speciality dishes. Also vegetable and salads. Also fish will be cooked if our clients prefer.
  • Dessert- Apple Pie, Sticky date and ice cream
  • Tackle- All terminal tackle supplied for bottom fishing. This includes sinkers, hooks, line, leader and trolling lures.
  • Bait- Quality squid and pilchards along with fresh cut baits at sea.
  • Ice

Not included

  • Rods and reels: We do not supply free of charge. We do however have a hire service and these are at $15.00 per day. 
  • Alcohol: Not supplied but you are welcome to BYO. Please bring cans if possible. We can also have alcohol delivered for the bigger groups.
  • Speciality Lures: We do not supply jigs, soft plastics, poppers etc. If you would like advice on these lures please don’t hesitate to contact us and we can recommend types.


Looking for group transfers from regional Queensland to Townsville or Cairns? Northern Conquest Charters and L&F Coach Transfers  have partnered to deliver on such a need. Ask today.

Coach Transfers

12 Hour Trips

Whether you fancy fishing the day or the night, these trips can be tailored for either scenario. Trip times are 6.00am to 6.00pm for the day or 5.00pm to 5.00am for the night time scenarios, and let’s face it, we all know those big red fish bite harder during the low light periods. We offer some flexibility around arrival and departure times for full boat bookings.

We generally fish at around 20 nautical mile mark. This takes about 45 minutes travel each way.   The Fishing- We target a large range of fish on these trips including Red Emperor, Large Mouth Nannygai, Cod, Spanish Mackerel and Trevally.


  • Rods and Reels
  • Tackle- All terminal tackle supplied for bottom fishing. This includes sinkers, hooks, line, leader and trolling lures.
  • Bait- Quality squid and pilchards along with fresh cut baits at sea.
  • Ice

Not included

  • Food and drink
  • Speciality Lures- We do not supply jigs, soft plastics, poppers etc. If you would like advice on these lures please don’t hesitate to contact us and we can recommend typ es.


At Northern Conquest Charters, we have a range of boats and locations.
All vessels provide passengers with the opportunity to experience cruising, snorkelling and fishing on the
Great Barrier Reef in total comfort and safety. 


Day and Liveaboard Reef Fishing Charters

Choose your own adventure

Barra Fishing, Hinchinbrook
Why not add some Barra fishing and crabbing to your reef adventure
Princess Charlotte Bay
From Febuary to May to north to PCB after both Barr and reef fish
Event Charters
Ask about charters for bux night, corporate events and special occasions


From time to time we offer special rates on shorter lead trips and joining our email database is the only way to be first in line.

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