Blue Marlin Fishing in Florida
Makaira Nigricans, or the Atlantic Blue Marlin, are extremely migratory fish inhabiting the Atlantic Ocean. This is the most tropical of all the billfish and they frequently travel between the Caribbean Islands and Venezuela; as well as from Saint Thomas to the U.S. Virgin Islands and through to West Africa. During summer months, Blue Marlin expands northward and returns to equatorial regions during wintertime. These are pelagic fish that live in deep blue waters very far from land.
Blue Marlin will eat almost anything near the surface. An exceptionally long bill is attached to their upper jaw and it is used efficiently to knife their way through a school of fish. After stunning, injuring or killing their prey in this way, they will return to eat. These fish are the most highly-prized game fish of all because they are enormous and are known to leap and jump vigorously in their attempt to fight you. Stories abound of fishing boats being pulled across vast distances of the ocean by a Blue Marlin. We stress again that these fish are massive. The biggest recorded weight is a female of 1 800lbs, measuring 16.40ft in length. That is gigantic. Females are up to four times larger than males, who rarely exceed 350lbs in weight; whereas females usually weigh over 1 200lbs.
The top of the Blue Marlin is blue-black while the belly is silvery white in color. On either side are around fifteen rows of pale black stripes that have round dots, even thin bars. The membrane of the first dorsal fin is dark blue with no markings or dots. The other fins are usually brownish-black with an occasional hint of dark blue. The first and second anal fins are silvery white at the base. When excited, a Blue Marlin can quickly change color to a bright blue. Usually this occurs when hunting. Thick, bony and elongated scales can have one, two or three posterior points; but having one is most common. Twenty-four vertebrae can be found in both sexes. Eleven are pre-caudal while thirteen are caudal.
Two dorsal fins and two anal fins are present in the Blue Marlin. These are supported by rays, which are bony spines. Between thirty-nine and forty-three rays support the first dorsal fin from front to back, while the second dorsal fin has only six or seven rays. Their first anal fin has anywhere from thirteen to sixteen rays and the in the second anal fin six or seven are present. Both pectoral fins house between nineteen and twenty-two rays, and these fins are exceptionally long and narrow (with the ability to be drawn into the sides of the body). Shorter than the pectoral fins, the pelvic fins have a poorly developed membrane and can be retracted into ventral grooves; as can the first anal fin, the pectoral fins and caudal fins. The reason for these grooves is to create a streamlined body that reduces drag. This is necessary when you consider that a Blue Marlin can swim underwater at speeds nearing 70mph.
Blue Marlins have a long bill that is very stout. The roof of the mouth and both the jaws are covered with small, file-like teeth. A group of canals in the lateral line system can detect water motion and pressure changes. This resembles a net in juveniles, but becomes deeply embedded in the skin of adults. Blue Marlins do not have many predators besides great white sharks, shortfin mako sharks and man. These incredible fish are near the top of the ocean’s food chain. They are exceptional predators that feed on a wide range of pelagic fish. These include mackerel, tuna, and squid. Extremely large prey such as white marlin, bigeye tuna and yellowfin tuna weighing in excess of 100lbs has been devoured by the Blue Marlin.
Around the world, Blue Marlins are an iconic fish. Catching one is considered the pinnacle of any sport angler’s career. These fish are so powerful that the thrill is indescribable and they are giants of the deep. Magnificent jumps and leaps out of the water are an exhilarating sight. Anglers travel to Florida for the opportunity to catch these thrilling fish. They are rare to find and catch, but they can be caught. Here are some tips to help you catch a Blue Marlin in Florida:
Tackle for Blue Marlin
A heavy tackle outfit, fluorocarbon leaders, 80lbs test, a range of circle hooks between 6/0 and 12/0, a skirt and extremely high quality saltwater rods and reels.
Bait for Blue Marlin
Small tuna, skipjacks, ballyhoo, squid, blue runners and mackerel work beautifully for live and cut bait. A number of specifically made marlin lures ranging from small to large that are outfitted with a skirt can also be used.
Techniques for Blue Marlin
There are a variety of ways to catch these elusive fish. Often they depend on weather and sea conditions, the size of those caught in the area, the size of the fish you wish to catch and even the local tradition. We prefer to rig live bait, but natural baits and artificial lures work too. This is how it is done:
- Artificial lure fishing works for Blue Marlin because they are attracted by the action, splash and bubble trail of a good quality lure. They are aggressive and will respond well to them if presented properly. Keep your trolling speed between seven and nine knots. This rule will allow you to search a wide area during the day, as well as be consistent with a Blue Marlin’s natural prey. Troll four or more lures behind the boat but keep them at varying distances. You can either fish from outriggers or straight from the rod tip.
- Natural bait fishing has been used by anglers for Blue Marlin since the turn of the decade. Keep it simple and present your bait as natural as possible. If you over-rig the bait then you run the risk of components preventing the fish from swallowing it. Cut fresh bait and put a circle hook inside it. Remember to leave the point of the hook outside of the bait. Rigged ballyhoo and Spanish mackerel are the most popular for Blue Marlin in Florida. We prefer to protect cut bait with a skirt, and occasionally we combine it with a lure.
- Live bait fishing definitely produces the best Blue Marlin fishing results. This is our method of choice for very good reason. Small tuna, such as skipjacks, work extremely well. You do need to keep an eye on your trolling speed and slow down in order to keep your bait alive. Live bait is even more successful if you can fish along the edge of steep underwater ledges. Once again, keep your bait simple. A circle hook through the mouth and a treble hook through the tail are adequate.
Call now to book your Blue Marlin Fishing Charter in Florida and uncover their mysterious secrets.
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