The Blue Marlin, Makaira nigricans
Coloration varies a great deal. Most common phase is dark blue, almost black on the dorsal surface, shading to whitish. Usually, several vertical stripes are noticeable. Early in the 20th century, these variations led anglers to believe several species were involved. Science eventually determined that the Black and Striped Marlins are strictly Pacific species and that a Silver Marlin is non-existent. The Blue, however, is found in both hemispheres.The feature that distinguishes the Blue from others is the pointed dorsal fin that curves sharply downward. The anal fin and pectoral fins also are pointed.
SIZE: From about 150 pounds to 500; not rare over 500.World record 1,402 pounds; Florida record 1046 pounds.
FOOD VALUE: Good, but normally released by sportsmen; protected from sale in North Atlantic.
GAME QUALITIES: Best of all for speed, power and jumping ability.
TACKLE AND BAITS: While many Blues have been caught on lighter outfits, the standard is a good, balanced ocean trolling outfit in the 50-pound or even 80-pound line class. Marlin baits fall into three cate- gories: 1. Artificial trolling lures; 2. Live, fairly large baitfish, such as school Dolphin or Bonito; and 3. Rigged natural baits, such as Mullet, Mackerel, Bonito, Barracuda, extra-large Ballyhoo (“Horse Ballyhoo”). Lures are used most often, because they allow more ocean to be covered. In somewhat limited areas, such as along weedlines or around seamounts and other well-established grounds, live bait is usually preferred.
FISHING SYSTEMS: Trolling; sometimes Drifting.
RANGE: All deep blue offshore waters of Florida, the Bahamas and the Caribbean.
HABITAT: A free-roamer that is best fished where bait is most plentiful—along weedlines; around schools of small tuna and other pelagic baitfishes; in areas where seamounts or other sub- surface structure creates upwellings and current; sharp bottom contours; temperature changes.