The tradition continues

Travelling the world to put clients onto trophy fish, Capt Tim Richardson demands the best from his gear, so he’s refitted his boats Chaser and Tradition with Garmin…

As far as professional gameboat skippers go, Capt Tim Richardson is right up there. In fact, he’s one of the most well-rounded skippers – with a proven record of success from fly fishing to heavy tackle – you’re likely to find anywhere.

Thankfully, for record-chasing anglers all over the world, Tim is everywhere. He’s fished the giant black marlin season on the Great Barrier Reef for over 25 years, the past dozen or so onboard his boat Tradition; and spends the Cairns off-season in the Dominican Republic, onboard his other boat Chaser.

He’s also fished Florida, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Montauk, Bermuda, Panama, Costa Rica, St Thomas, Puerto Rico, the British Virgin Islands, Mexico and Hawaii – compiling an impressive tally of over 3500 billfish, including dozens of granders.


One of the most famous G&S boats in the world, Chaser underwent a major refit and repower in 2015/2016. The 48-footer was the first of Tim’s two boats to be fitted with Garmin and, during the 100 days he fished in the Caribbean this past season, he said the difference was “night and day” over his previous marine electronics.

“We caught 30 per cent more fish this season purely because of the sounder,” Tim said.

“We’d been running another brand of marine electronics for the past 15 years [in various boats] and the Garmin gear has already proved to deliver a huge advantage.”

Chaser is fitted with two GPSMAP 7416xsv units in the bridge, a GPSMAP 7412xsv behind and overhead, and a GSD 26 CHIRP professional sonar module paired with an Airmar PM411C-LWM 2kW transducer.
“The ultra-wide 40° beam of this transducer combined with the multi-frequency scanning technology and processing power of the GSD 26 delivers shallow-water-like target separation at much greater depths,” Tim said.

“This set-up does everything we want and is all we need to catch plenty of fish.”

Also part of the Garmin install onboard Chaser are two VHF 210i marine radios, a GHP Reactor autopilot (with SmartPump) and a GMR 1224 xHD2 radar.

The 12kW high-definition 4’ open array radar has a range of up to 72nm, even in fog or rain, and its narrow 1.8° horizontal beamwidth picks out weaker targets further off in the distance to paint a clear image of the shoreline, other vessels and impending weather.

“I don’t really use radar to find birds in the Caribbean… the thing I do like is I can set a target to see where other boats are fishing, and the ability to overlay radar on charts makes a huge difference from the gear I was using, as it saves a screen,” Tim said.

“There are no complex settings and it’s very easy to use with excellent target separation and quiet operation.”


One of the finest game fishing charter boats in Australia, Tradition was designed and built for one purpose – to catch 1000lb black marlin. That said, the 49-footer is very nimble, which also makes it a great platform for all types of sportfishing.

Following the successful season onboard Chaser, Tim also recently refitted Tradition with new suite of Garmin gear. The install includes the same GSD 26 module / PM411C-LWM 2kW transducer combination, two GPSMAP 7412xsv units in the tower, and a GPSMAP 8422 in the bridge.

“I was very happy to be able to transfer the 4000-odd marks from Tradition’s previous chartplotter to the new Garmin system,” Tim said.

“It was a really straightforward process, which was great.”

He’s opted again for a GHP Reactor autopilot (with SmartPump), although has gone with a GMR 2524 xHD2 radar. Offering the same 1.8° horizontal beamwidth, this 4’ open array delivers 25kW of power and a range up to 96nm. Topping off the Garmin install onboard Tradition are two VHF 200i marine radios and an AIS 600 blackbox transceiver, which allows Tradition to receive AIS target data as well as transmit its own information to other AIS-equipped vessels in the area.

Armed also with one of Garmin’s inReach Explorer+ handheld satellite communicators, the unit’s accurate GPS and two-way messaging capability provides an extra level of safety and peace of mind offshore, while friends can also track Tradition’s movements and whereabouts.

With the Garmin install completed just in time for the 2017 heavy tackle season on the Great Barrier Reef, Tim said everything was looking good.

“It’s been a very good light tackle season here, and my 25-plus years on the reef says that’s usually followed by a good heavy tackle season,” he said.

“We spent 80 days on the water [on Tradition] last year and 60 of those days were charters… with plenty of yellowfin tuna around and bait on the edge already, as well as a good number of bookings, this season is shaping up well.”