Tips and Techniques for Catching a Blue Marlin

Without a doubt, the Blue Marlin is one of the most exciting fish species to catch. In fact, many fishing tournaments around the world will focus specifically on this titan of the sea. Anglers will travel far and wide for the opportunity to hook a grander and put their name in the record books. However, if you ask any fishing tournament attendants, they’ll tell you that marlin fishing can be a pretty boring activity at times. People will spend hour upon hour trolling with nothing to show for it, until BAM! There’s a strike. To ensure you don’t waste your time and money on one of these expeditions, it’s important to know the techniques for catching a Blue Marlin.

Hunting Grounds

First, you will need to find a marlin, which is not easy. Blue Marlins are migratory and will travel the vast expanses of the open ocean; however, they will follow warm currents for hundreds of miles. Blue Marlins prefer the waters of the Pacific, Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean and reside at depths of 250 to 600 feet. They spend the majority of their lives far out at sea feeding on bait balls of smaller fish they herd together toward the surface. Suffice to say, you will need a boat to catch a marlin, as you cannot reach them from shore.


Use the time spent traveling to the fish’s hunting grounds to catch some live bait. This includes tuna, mackerel, mullet, squid, and more—Blue Marlins eat almost anything. Artificial lures will also attract a marlin, so either one will do if live bait isn’t available. As you sail through the water, pull several bait lines in a “V” pattern behind the boat. This will ensure the lines don’t become tangled. The longest line is usually around 150 feet long and is right next to the fighting chair. Fishermen typically catch Blue Marlin during daylight hours—trolling for marlin can take hours, so patience is key.

The Battle

The moment a massive Blue Marlin strikes one of those lines, the fight is on. Once you strap into the fighting chair, start reeling as fast as possible. You’ll need to keep constant pressure on the line so the fish can’t spit it out; one shake of their head on a slackline and the fish is gone. Many boat captains will continue ahead to help keep the line taught. This can be a real challenge, as male Blue Marlins can reach 300 pounds, and their female counterparts four times that size. If the angler reeling can’t keep the line tight and the rod bent, they’re fighting the fish and the boat, making the whole process more difficult. A typical battle between the fisherman and the fish can last around 45 minutes, so prepare for constant reeling and pulling.

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