Bransfords Tackle Shop - Our Story
The Bransfords Tackle Shop is located in Clifton Village Shoppoing Centre, Crn Cook Highway & Endeavour Rd, Clifton Beach, at the Northern Beaches region of Cairns, in the wet tropics of Far North Queensland, Australia. You can call us 7 days a week on +61 07 4055 3918. Our ABN is 99 061 777 722
Our store is dedicated to the memory of Australia's greatest game fishing pioneer, George Bransford. George first saw the waters out from cairns in 1943 whilst stationed here during the war. He spoke to the Local mackerel fishermen who told him of marlin over 14' in length, and even though he thought they were exaggerating at the time he never forgot and vowed to return one day to explore the waters of the outer Barrier reef in search of the big breeding female marlin over 1,000 lbs.
After working his game boat 'seven days' in Florida with a partner George's curiosity got the better of him and he made a quick trip to cairns again in the early 60's. After further questioning the local mackerel pro's they told him of many marlin being caught in the 30 to 35 lbs. Bracket and George's logic told him that wherever you find good numbers of juvenile marlin there had to be a breeding ground close by where the big fellas hung out. He then got hold of some long-line charts that showed the biggest concentration of black marlin in the eastern pacific was out from cairns. George reckons he was 98% sure he could find them, but, there was only one way to find out!
George convinced his wife Joyce to move to cairns so they sold their home in Florida, put all their belongings on a ship and flew out to Sydney. They then bought an old car and made their way to cairns. The Bransfords soon settled into our tropical lifestyle and it wasn't long before George met up with local boat builder Harold Collis and between them they designed and built the 'Sea Baby' which was launched in 1964. On her maiden trip around Fitzroy Island Alan Collis caught the first black marlin and Joyce caught a 120 lbs. Sailfish. Not a bad start but George knew he had to venture further out to find the big ones.
In September 1965 they caught two marlin over 200lbs. And George was seeing bigger fish. That same month, around 2p.m. they hooked a really big black...Harold Collis was the angler using an 80lbs. Outfit. He played it for almost seven hours and then handed it over to his son Alan, then half an hour later the line gave way. Trouble was it was 10p.m. And George didn't have a clue where they were. He estimated that fish had towed them 28 miles down and out from the shelf. George worked his way back to the Euston light and eventually found his way back home. To his dying day George reckoned that fish weighed 1500 lbs. Or more.
The story that made international headlines was the capture of the first black marlin in the world over 1,000lbs. George and his Canadian deckie Richard Obach were out prospecting new waters in September 1966 when a big black latched on. Richard was the angler and he played this huge fish on old fashioned 80 lbs. Tackle for several hours before he and George managed to gaff it.
They took it back to Cairns where it was eventually weighed on a crane, as there were no facilities on hand to weigh fish of this size. A new world record on 80lbs. Tackle...and that was the start of cairns international reputation as the 'black marlin capital of the world'. Anglers came from far and wide to ply these pristine barrier reef waters the most famous of whom were Lee Marvin, Wilbur Smith, Jack Nicklaus, Ernest Borgnine, Jimmy Carter and the list goes on.
George went on to build Sea Baby 2, then opened a tackle shop called 'Bransfords'. His store was full of the rare and unusual, much as it is today. But he was restless and sold up then moved to Hawaii when he lived in Kona and built 'Sea Baby 3'. After ten years or so he and his wife Joyce missed Australia and again packed up their bags and returned to live on the gold coast where George took up hang gliding and went on to become the oldest hang glider in Australia. Sadly Joyce passed away and George decided to move back to cairns which he used as abase to explore new fishing grounds in PNG and Micronesia.
It was 1994 when George died and I will long remember a conversation we had only a few months before his passing. I asked if I could use the name 'Bransfords' for our tackle store. His reply was short and sweet: "Why not, sure as hell nobody else is using it!". He asked if we were going to give good advice, friendly service and sell at competitive prices, to which I replied that we would, so George gave his blessing and even visited our store to give us a few tips on merchandising and display.
George Bransfords never received the recognition he truly deserved while he was still with us, as the man who put Cairns on the global map. He was inducted into the IGFA Hall of Fame in 1998, and the Cairns Professional Game Fishing Association Hall of Fame at the 40th anniversary tournament in 2006, commemorating his first grander catch.
We are proud to be associated with the name 'Bransfords' and only hope we can maintain the standards that George asked of us.
Bransfords is now one of the top five tackle shops, (on turnover), in Australia and we boast the biggest range of tackle in Queensland. If you decide to give us a try I know you won't be disappointed. Our motto is "Recommendation by a satisfied customer is our greatest compliment"