Marlin, Blue

(Makaira Mazara)

Commonly referred to as Blues!

The blue marlin has earned its reputation as being the toughest of all billfish with its solid, robust body and small, slender head shape allowing it to empty large reels of heavy line in staggeringly short spaces of time. Leaving most anglers with the thought of reinventing a heavier line class to manage their tremendous strength and power. Since the day Ernest Hemingway described the shear power and beauty of these magnificent creatures the mighty blue marlin has inspired anglers from all over the world to experience the feeling of just being connected to one. The blue marlin is most definitely one of the most powerful and amazing creatures in the ocean!

Distribution

Blue marlin can be located from as far south as Rottenest Island right up to the Abrolhos Island region throughout Western Australia and also throughout southern Queensland, N.S.W. and Tasmania. The occasional blue does show up down in S.A. and VIC but are generally a rare encounter for most southern anglers.

Growth

Blue marlin can grow to around 1000lbs in weight and reach a maximum length of around 4 meters although a typical size blue is around 150kg in most Australian locations with larger fish averaging between 200 – 250kg. All blue marlin are born male before changing gender at around 120kg in weight.

Habitat

Blue marlin prefer offshore continental waters and oceanic currents with depths of over 300 – 1000 meters with large numbers of bait fish such as tuna, mahi mahi and flying fish present. Water temperatures of 22 – 27 degrees and higher are also preferred as are steep ocean floor structures such as canyons etc.

Identification

Blue marlin can be easily identified by their smaller, tapered head shape and flat folding pectoral fins. All smaller marlin species under 100kg will have folding pectoral fins making the identification of all three Australian marlin species quite difficult for the inexperienced. Blue marlin also have a large hump which their anal fin is located and a much thicker and deeper body at larger sizes than the striped marlin. All three Australian marlin species will light up with bright, bio luminescent stripes and this is generally not a good indication of species.

Taste rating

  • Zero Taste Rating
    0%

Blue marlin deserve the respect of all who target them and in my opinion should always be released immediately upon capture unless the fish had died throughout the struggle or it is the anglers first.

Sport rating

  • One hundred Sport Rating
    100%

Due to their impressive looks and outstanding fighting qualities the mighty blue marlin is one of the most impressive game fish this state has to offer!

Tackle requirements

Medium to heavy lever drag trolling outfits are required for this substantial style of game fishing. They must have large line capacity and high quality drag systems capable of battling large fish in uncomfortable to rough sea conditions. Stand up outfits rated from 15 – 24kg are ideally suited for targeting small blues to 150kg where as 37 – 60kg stand up or game chair outfits are needed to subdue larger specimens to over 800 lbs. Wind on leaders of between 200 – 600lb need to be connected to plaited doubles via a cats paw knot and then attached to the lure or bait trace with a quality stainless steel snap swivel or cork screw style snap for heavier 60kg line classes. 1000lb wire is often used when bait fishing for larger blues to 1000lbs but is not necessary for smaller fish.

Recommended baits, lures and rigs

Small blue marlin to 100 kg will eat a variety of small bait fish such as garfish, mullet, blue mackerel, tuna, milk fish and queen fish. Small to medium skirted lures around 6 – 10 inches in length are also suitable for blue marlin in this size range and should be rigged with 8/0 – 10/0 sized trolling hooks when using 15 – 24kg line classes. Trying to drive in hooks larger than this whilst trolling lures is not recommended on these light line classes. Trolling hooks are generally made from high quality stainless steel and have a straight rather than off set gauge. The anodes on most vessels will eat away at chemically sharpened hook points making them blunt in minutes, this does not occur with good quality stainless hooks. Larger blue marlin of 200kg and bigger prefer to eat larger baits such as 10 – 15kg shark mackerel, yellow fin tuna and yellow tail scad. It does take a fair amount of skill to rig these baits for presentation to large billfish with skirted lures proving to be a much easier and popular option for chasing billfish here in Australia. Large to extra large skirted lures are preferred for larger blue marlin and are generally rigged on heavy 600 – 800lb nylon leaders with 12/0 – 14/0 sized stainless steel hooks.

Handy hints and tips

Place lures or baits onto the bottom two thirds of the pressure waves following the vessel whilst trolling for billfish as these waves act as large mirrors to approaching game fish such as marlin making your lures or baits much more visible!

Preferred fishing times and tides

Most pelagic game fish species prefer low or high tide changes and new moon phases although some studies have proven the best feeding times for marlin to be two weeks before and after a full moon.

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