Marlin is a fantastic sports fish and there are several international billfish Tournaments in Fort Lauderdale and the surrounding areas every year. I have always been extremely lucky and have won many of them and placed and showed in others. We took first place at the Walkers Cay Leg of the Bahamas Billfish Championship in 1997. This was my most memorable blue marlin – it was a trophy and weighed an astonishing 545lbs.
What makes Marlin fishing in Fort Lauderdale so exhilarating?
Their size, power, challenge and rarity make them possibly the greatest game fish in Fort Lauderdale. They take huge runs and literally shred the ocean's surface with their impressive jumps and aerial acrobatics; and they can reach incredible speeds nearing 70mph underwater. Among the best fighters, they can resist you for hours.
What do Marlin look like?
They have extremely long bills and elongated bodies; dark blue or dark brown backs and silvery white bellies. The white marlin is much lighter than the blue marlin.
How big is Marlin?
Marlins are gigantic beasts. White marlin is roughly the size of sailfish and significantly smaller than blue marlin; they average between 40lbs and 70lbs but often exceed 100lbs. Male blue marlins rarely grow bigger than 350lbs but females are much larger.
Where do you find Marlin in Fort Lauderdale?
We occasionally catch blue marlin and white marlin in water as shallow as 300ft, sometimes 500ft. The main body of fish are caught in the cobalt blue waters of the Gulf Stream. This is much farther offshore in depths between 1 500ft and 2 000ft. As with swordfish, they love underwater structures such as sea mounts.
What baits are used for Marlin?
Usually lure/bait combinations work best for marlin. They can be caught on live baits, large lures and small lures. You can use dead baits as well and if you combine them with skirts it helps to keep the bait protected.
What tackle is used to catch Marlin?
We typically use a heavy tackle outfit between 50lb and 100lb test, circle hooks, fluorocarbon leaders and quality rods and reels.
What methods are used to catch Marlin?
The best results come from trolling mixes. We troll different sized lures or lure/bait combinations at higher speeds of around eight knots or more. This allows us to cover a bigger area. Often marlin is caught trolling kite baits, strip baits and small live ballyhoo intended for sailfish.
What are the regulations for Marlin fishing in Fort Lauderdale?
A licensed angler may harvest one marlin a day. White marlin must measure at least 66in while blue marlin must be a minimum size of 99in from the tip of the nose to the fork of the tail.
Do you have a favorite recipe for Marlin?
Their value as food is very poor and I do not recommend eating them. They are highly sought-after prized game fish and we strictly practice catch and release. The only exception to this rule is if we are fishing a kill tournament.