Blue Marlin(Makaira nigricans)
The Blue Marlin also referred to as the Atlantic Marlin is the largest of the billfish species. There are also two other species of Marlin that can be caught off the Florida coast such as the White Marlin (Tetrapturus albidus) and Striped Marlin(Kajikia audax). The most prized billfish out of the three is the Blue Marlin due to its large size. A fully grown adult blue marlin can reach up to 16 feet and weigh as much as 1,400 pounds. The appearance of the Blue Marlin is similar to all the other billfish with a dark blue color on the back and top of the size fading into a silvery white. The largest one was caught near Panama city and weighed in at 1402 pounds. The largest one caught off the Florida coast was 1046 pounds. The Blue marlin is extremely quick and many anglers consider it the ultimate big game fish. Ernest Hemingway was known for being an avid Blue Marlin angler who spent a lot of time fishing the gulf stream for this beautiful fish.
How to catch Marlin in Miami
We spoke to several experienced fishermen and asked them the best techniques for fishing Marlin and this is what they told us. 50 to 80 pounds line. Blue Marlins travel alone. The most common method for catching marlin is trolling lures and rigged baits. As always the bigger the bait the bigger the fish. Make sure you have plenty of line because when you hook a Blue Marlin they can easily spool off 300 yards with their incredible speed. If your fishing for one of the big ones then it is customary to set up 18-inch lures to reel them in. A great way to cover lots of area is by using a spread of artificial lures. A spread of 4-6 lures at 50, 100, and 150 feet while trolling at 8 knots make it seem like there are several baitfish chasing the boat. If you’re serious about fishing then you can try out the Santos Tournament Grade Tackle Marlin Offshore Big Game Trolling Lure Pack. The benefit to using lures over rigged bait is they last longer. When shopping for a lure red/black, purple/black, and white/blue are all great color options. Roffer’s Ocean Fishing Forecasting Service is another great resource to use if your planning on going after Marlin.
Where to fish for Marlin
Blue Marlin have been caught in water as shallow as 250 feet but are more commonly found at depths over 600 feet. They can be caught anywhere between four and 20 miles offshore. Blue marlin feed during the day using various trolling techniques. The best place to fish for Marlin in Florida is 20 miles South of Key West on the outer edge of the continental shelf where the depth suddenly drops from 900-2000 feet. “The Wall” is an area that experience anglers usually fish for Blue Marlin. But you can also look for weed lines where small tuna, skipjack, bonito, and dolphin frequently hang out. Look out for frigate birds or diving gulls where there will likely be baitfish nearby. Keep an eye on your depth finder for sharp contours on the bottom as well as temperature changes.
Best time of the year for Miami Marlin fishing
The Blue Marlin is usually found in the warm waters of the Atlantic. In late August the adult marlin start to explore the outer edge of the continental shelf but anytime between early June to late August is a great time to fish for Marlin in Miami. Before, during and after a full moon is said to be the best time to fish for Marlin in Miami. Hooking a Marlin is an incredible experience because of their incredible size, strength and often display a spectacular aerial show. If your planning on booking a Miami Marlin fishing charter then you should definitely call in order to reserve your fishing adventure for the next fishing season.
The best bait to catch Marlin
Dolphin, blackfin tuna, big Bonita, and small to mid-size yellowfin tuna. They can also be caught using Artificial trolling lures rigged with natural baits, such as Mullet, Mackerel, Bonito, Barracuda, and even large Ballyhoo. The artificial lures last much longer than the rigged baits. The best method is trolling and although rare you can also catch Blue Marlin by drifting with live bait. A spread of several lures at different lengths is a great way to cover lots of area and you can also test different types of baits on each rig. It is always better to charter a fishing excursion with an experienced captain that will have all the right bait and tackle to land one of these monster fish.
Is Blue Marlin edible?
Blue Marlin are medium quality fish so most Anglers release them but they can be eaten. If you insist on eating Blue Marlin then the best way to cook them would be smoked. They can also be prepared in the same way you would prepare tuna or swordfish and has a similar texture but Marlin flesh is a little tougher. They can also be eaten raw in sushi or sashimi but we strongly suggest avoiding this method. The flavor is not as strong as sailfish but is stronger than tuna. Billfish have some of the highest concentrations of mercury and other toxins that can be harmful to humans so you might want to think twice before eating them. In general, the risk are worth the reward there are plenty of other fish that are much better dinner fair. For children and pregnant or nursing mothers, you should avoid eating any type of billfish at all cost including Marlins. Make sure you get a Federal HMS Angling Permit before catching and keeping a Blue Marlin or your tasty dinner can turn out to be the most expensive fish you ever caught.
Florida Blue Marlin fishing regulations
The minimum size limit for Blue Marlin is 99 inches lower jaw/fork length. The daily limit for catching Bluefish is one billfish per person. In federal waters, you are required to obtain a Federal HMS Angling Permit in order to catch Marlin. All landed billfish or Blue Marlin must be reported to NOAA within 24 hours at 800-894-5528 or https://hmspermits.noaa.gov/ These regulations apply to both recreational and commercial anglers. There is no closed season so they can be caught year round. A current Florida saltwater fishing license is required to fish for all types of saltwater species in Florida. You can obtain a license from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission by going online, calling or going to a bait and tackle shop.