Commonly referred to as Stripies!
The striped marlin is not as large as the other two species of marlin found here in Australia but what it lacks in size the striped marlin sure does make up for with speed and agility. These light weight, energetic, speedsters are one of the ultimate all time game fish to be hooked on light to medium tackle and provide many Australian anglers with the thrill of a life time when encountered. They are typically more colourful than black marlin and tend to exhibit slightly different fighting characteristics to that of the black and blue as they continuously hurl themselves across the ocean in eye dazzling displays of both power and beauty.
Striped marlin can be located from as far south as Rottenest Island right up to the Abrolhos Island region throughout Western Australia and are also found in good numbers in Tasmania, N.S.W., S.A. and VIC.
Striped marlin are the smallest of the three species of marlin encountered throughout Australia and generally grow to around 220kg in weight and reach a maximum length of around 3 meters although a typical size stripey is around 100kg in most locations with larger fish averaging between 150 – 200kg. All striped marlin are born as males before changing gender at around 80 – 90kg in weight.
Striped 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.
Striped marlin can be easily identified by their smaller, tapered head shape, long, thin bill 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. Striped marlin also have a longer, thinner body shape than the blue and black marlin. All three western Australian marlin species will light up with bright, bio luminescent stripes and this is generally not a good indication of species.
Striped 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.
Due to their impressive looks and outstanding fighting qualities the mighty striped marlin is one of the most impressive game fish this state has to offer!
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 striped marlin to 150kg where as 37kg stand up or game chair outfits may be needed to subdue larger specimens to over 220kg. Wind on leaders of between 200 – 400lb 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 37kg line classes.
Small striped 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 striped 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. 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 striped marlin and are generally rigged on heavy 400 – 600lb nylon leaders with 12/0 – 14/0 sized stainless steel hooks.
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!
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.