Blue Marlin (Makaira mazara)

Blue Marlin distributes themselves throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. They are rarely encountered in shallow near shore waters, preferring blue, oceanic waters. The Blue Marlin is the largest of the Marlins species, common to 11 feet and known to exceed 2,000 pounds. It is cobalt blue on top shading to silvery white on bottom and the lateral line is reticulated, making it difficult to see in large specimens. The upper jaw is elongated in form of a spear, dorsal fin pointed at front end with no spots, and pectoral fin and anal fin are pointed. The body of the Blue Marlin is covered with imbedded scales ending in one or two sharp points. Blue marlin feed primarily on tunas and other pelagic fishes and to a lesser extent on young reef fishes and squid. Blue Marlin are highly migratory, surface water fishes which are closely tied to warm waters (21 – 31 C).

A free-roamer, the blue marlin is best fished where bait is most plentiful – along weed lines, around schools of small tuna and other pelagic baitfishes, in areas where seamounts or other subsurface structure creates up welling and currents, along sharp bottom contours and near water temperature changes.

Techniques

To be successful at targeting Marlin you need the right teasing equipment as well as fly tackle. As most Marlin do their fighting in a spectacular airborne manner as well as sounding you are going to need a rod with plenty of lifting power. Match the rod with a high quality large arbor reel with a smooth drag that has the capacity to handle a large amount of backing and you are half way there.

Intermediate-tip, sink-tip or full sink fly lines all work well in different conditions. The important things to remember is never use a shooting-head, always use a full length line. The reason for this being, as the fish takes the fly you should allow it time to turn before setting the hook. In order to do so you have to give the fish a little time and line before striking. With all this going on you don’t want to end up with backing or braided running line in your hand while trying to set the hook as it will cut to the bone. Secondly, the fish will tire far quicker whilst tail-walking and dragging the fly line around. A full length fly line creates more drag and will allow you to beat the fish quicker and reduce its stress before releasing it.

When teasing the FlyCastaway guides have found that trolling skirts or softheads in Black and red, hot pink, green and chartreuse or blue and white with a belly-shine works best. As the Marlin will mouth the teaser while you entice it closer to the boat, the fishy taste of the bait will bring a “hotter Marlin” to the boat and allow you more time to get your cast in. Please note that the switch should be way quicker than that done when fishing for Sailfish.

Combine all this with one teaser being trolled on the starboard outrigger (rigger line), a second teaser (flat line) in the third to fifth wake on the port side and a bird and daisy chain (teaser line) on a cord slightly starboard from the of the middle of the boat. The rigger line should be further out than the flat line and the teaser line shorter than the rigger line. The optimum speed will vary between 9 and 10 knots depending on sea conditions and current speeds.

As Marlin are largely a migratory species it is very important to know when these fish will be in your area. Working to structure like drop-offs, pinnacles and entrances to atoll lagoons while concentrating on bird life and baitfish chases will often prove successful.

Tackle

  • Fly Rod: Quick action 15 weight fly rod.
  • Reel & Backing: A large good quality saltwater series reel loaded with 800 or more meters of 50 60 lbs braid. A Bimini Twist to Double Surgions should be tied into the braid, following which the fly line and backing should be joined using the loop to loop method.
  • Fly Lines: Billfish intermediate tip, 450 to 600 grains or any sink-tip line with 50lbs braided loops nail knotted on both ends.
  • Leaders: 100 – 120 lbs Fluorocarbon or Monofilament Shock. We prefer to always choose heavier class tippets as to reduce the fighting time and stress on the fish.
  • Knots: Fly to leader – Improved Homer Rhode or Perfection Loop; Leader to Braided loop – Perfection Loop. NB mono has a stretch factor and a tendency to slip before seating. When tying your knots make sure you leave a tag and seat them properly with the use of pliers. In saying this ensure you do not stress the knot.
  • Flies: Cam Seigler’s or Large Flashy Profile’s on tubes with tandum rigged hooks. Flies tied in hot pink and white or Chartreuse, green and white have consistently been the most successful.
  • Sunglasses: Dark amber or blue mirror grey lenses.

    Before leaving on your trip you will be briefed in detail by the FlyCastaway guides as to exactly what fly patterns you are going to need and how you should prepare your tackle. For all our destinations we have compiled a comprehensive tackle list.

    Destinations 

    Seychelles – CosmoledoProvidence, Astove and Farquhar Atolls
    Mauritius – St Brandons
    Kenya – Manda Bay and Kingfisher
    Principe – Sao Tome
    Madagascar