If you’re going to take a shot at catching a marlin, you’re going to be investing a lot of time, money, and effort in the endeavor. These fish live far from port, are tough to fool, and even tougher to keep on the line once hooked. Catching one is a complex feat that in truth can’t be boiled down into a short blog post. Once you’ve established a base of knowledge, however, these three tips will help you bring more billfish up to the boat.
Bringing marlin up to the boat is no small feat.
Watch the spread at all times, and when you see a marlin, tempt it into eating. If it’s focused on an artificial like a spreader bar or bird rig, crank on the reel to pull it away from the fish, which will get it excited – dinner is escaping! At the same time, take a rigged bait (which marlin are more likely to eat) and drop it back to the fish. In most cases, it will switch focus from the artificial to the real thing and eat. If it’s swiping at a rigged bait but not eating, throw the reel into freespool and let the bait sink back. The marlin will think it’s stunned the baitfish and usually then will chow down.
When a marlin is spotted in the spread but not yet on a line, remind everyone aboard to keep their cool and most importantly, not to shout. The human voice travels through the water and those fish can hear the yelling. Have you ever noticed that sometime a billfish appears, bedlam ensues in the cockpit, then the fish swims away without ever eating? This is likely the reason more often than people realize.
If you’re on the throttles, remember that less is often more. It’s common for a captain to back at or turn towards a fish too quickly, and slack gets into the line as a result. You know what happens next, when that occurs…