Hey everyone, maybe you have seen these though never fished for them or caught a big one. What is it? The Marlin. Let us see if we can help you.
First what is a Marlin?
A marlin is a fish from the family Istiophoridae, which includes about 10 species. It has an elongated body, a spear-like snout or bill, and a long, rigid dorsal fin which extends forward to form a crest.
Blue marlins live in the deep, blue water of the ocean. However, they’re known as “surface fish” because even though the water’s deep, they prefer hanging around in the warm water near the surface. They’re native to the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans.
Black Marlin and their cousins the Blue Marlin are the largest game fish in the world, with large specimens sometimes exceeding 1,000 pounds. There is no sight more awe-inspiring in fishing than the sight of these massive fish leaping into the air right behind your boat when they are hooked.
Black Marlin are found primarily in tropical portions of the Indian and Pacific oceans but can stray to other seas as well.
Blue Marlin roam the oceans looking for fish and cephalopods to feed on. They rarely congregate in any numbers, so there is often a lot of time spent looking for them. Fish over 300lbs are nearly always female.
Best places in the world to catch Marlin
- Cairns, Australia
With over eight hundred grandeur Marlin to have been caught since the 1960s, this one Down Under is officially one of the best places in the world for bill fishing, especially in chillier months between September and January. Its unique location on the Great Barrier Reef (dozens of miles from the continental shelf) makes this tourist town the ideal breeding ground for giant Black Marlins (a.k.a the ‘Black gold’).
- Kona, Hawaii
It’s the best spot in the world to land those mighty Pacific Blues, and has been, since the sixties, a highly popular coastal region where anglers have been able to land more than eighty Blue Marlins weighing over 450 kg. These numbers don’t even consider any Marlin that might have been released! The stretches and stretches of white sand beaches in Kona are ideal for Marlin hunting any time of the year– though it has been said that it is during those warmer months from April to September, that the largest Hawaiian fish can be found.
- Madeira, Portugal
Though the peak seasons for Blue Marlins continue to change on a yearly basis on this Portuguese island, it truly is one of the most promising spots in the Northern Atlantic Ocean to catch some of those ‘ocean gar.’ Most charter Captains who have fished these cold waters have claimed to have caught a thousand-pound Marlin out of every ten they haul in! The best months to go about Marlin fishing in Madeira tend to be May to August, though good Marlin seasons have also crept into the month of September over the years.
- San Juan, Puerto Rico
Just a short couple hour hop from most eastern U.S. cities, this American territory in the Caribbean hosts some of the greatest blue marlin bite each summer, especially from June to October. Since it lies at the other end of the Puerto Rican Trench (just some sixty or so miles from St. Thomas), there’s not only some seriously deep waters, but also a booming Blue Marlin population. The great Blues in this hotspot often reaching epic proportions size-wise, especially with The San Juan International Billfish Tournament that runs in town every August– it’s the longest continually running billfish tournament in the world and holds the record for the most blue marlin caught in a four-day tournament!
- Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
n these deep blue Pacific waters, striped Marlins are readily abundant during the months from September to March, while Blue or Black Marlins swim freely about the ocean waves from June to October. This Mexican island getaway is also just great if you’re looking to hook into some dorado, wahoo, yellowfin tuna, yellowtail, sailfish, mako, or even a couple of hammerhead sharks.
- Los Suenos, Costa Rica
Humongous Marlin can be found from all along the southern part in the Golfito area all the way up to the North and Central Pacific Coasts. Los Sueños is one of the top places to start at, with Black marlin popping in and around the waters during April and May, and smaller striped marlin available to be caught all year-round.
How to catch a Marlin
Marlin fishing is one of the most exciting challenges facing any angler. Marlins are fast, they’re athletic, and they can be huge.
Once hooked, all species of Marlin display an acrobatic showdown worthy of a ballerina – or perhaps it would be more accurate to compare them to a bull fighter. They dance, skip and leap through the air on the end of your line, often giving the angler the fight of their life. And somehow, Marlins manage to pull off these lightning speeds and aerial maneuvers despite their humongous size. It’s little wonder that fishing for Marlins has almost legendary status amongst anglers the world over
You could write a book about how to catch a Marlin, but here are some basic Marlin fishing tips.
Consider fishing for Marlin with artificial lures…
Marlin are aggressive, highly predatory fish that respond very well to the splash and trail of a well presented artificial lure. The question of which the best lure is to use when trolling for Marlin is a divisive one: friendships have been broken and enemies made as a result of criticism over which lure you use. Not wanting to cause a virtual riot, we will leave the question of which specific brand of artificial lure to use up to you.
It is recommended to use live bait only when the fishing area you’re covering is quite small, as trolling with live bait requires the boat to travel slower to keep the bait alive. Areas such as those near buoys and steep underwater ledges, where fish congregate, are the best places to use live bait. Live bait can be a good alternative to artificial lures if you’re in a dense fishing spot and want to limit damage to your lures caused by Wahoo, Mahi-mahi or Spanish Mackerel.
It might sound obvious, but you don’t want to spend all your hard-earned pennies on a Marlin fishing holiday only for your tackle to let you down just as you feel the pull of a big Marlin on the end of the line. There are no right or wrong Marlin fishing rods and reels to use, but make sure your tackle is heavy enough to withstand the pressure it will go under. Reels at size 50 are good for this job. Charter fishing boats will supply tackle, but make sure you check to ensure that everything they supply is in good shape.
Marlin baits fall into three categories: 1. Artificial trolling lures; 2. Live, fairly large baitfish, such as school Dolphin or Bonito; and 3. Rigged natural baits, such as Mullet, Mackerel, Bonito, Barracuda, extra-large Ballyhoo (“Horse Ballyhoo”).
When the marlin grabs the bait, it’s best to slow the boat to idle or take it out of gear; then, depending on the size of the bait and the style of hook, it’s up to angler or crew to call the shots. Circles need far more time at the strike than do J hooks before the angler increases drag.
After a Marlin is hooked, it’s game on. Sometimes, the battle can last hours—so being physically capable is definitely worth consideration. Smaller marlin of 100 to 200 pounds can be battled with a stand-up belt, but larger Marlin over 300 pounds sometimes require an angler to sit in the fighting chair. The key to gaining line on a Marlin is to pump and reel in short, quick strokes of the rod, by sliding back in the seat raising the rod tip to a 60-degree angle, then reeling down to put line back on the reel. Repeat that process gaining 5 feet of line at a time. When the fish runs and jumps, let it do its thing, don’t try to reel when it runs—you’re just wasting energy. Slow and steady wins the race. Once the Marlin gets worn out, if everything works in your favor, you’ll have him boatside where the mate will wire the fish to control it, then dislodge the hook from the marlin’s mouth.
Again, there are books written about how to catch a Marlin due to the fun and excitement of catching one. So, tons of information on this.
If you’ve never been out “deep sea fishing” before, your only reference point may be popular TV shows like Deadliest Catch or Shark Men. For those of us that are “regulars” on the boats, part of the allure of going fishing in the ocean vs. freshwater fishing is you never know what might come up at the end of the line. More often than not though, your day on the water is going to be much more relaxing than what you see on those shows (and it should be!).
Great charter boats, crewed by dedicated professionals who truly love to take people fishing, exist in just about every corner of the known marlin fishing world. Only thing we would recommend if chartering a boat to go Marlin fishing, so do not charter for just a half a day, go the full day to increase chances of landing a Marlin.