Atlantic Blue Marlin

Blue marlin are an apex predator and ideal game fish.
Nick Honachefsky

The blue marlin is the bad ass of the Atlantic.

The Atlantic blue marlin (Makaira nigricans) represents the premiere target for offshore anglers. The blue marlin is fast, agile, beautiful and tends to live in gorgeous, tropical places. The fight of a blue marlin is punctuated with bursts of explosive power, greyhounding jumps across the ocean and vicious head shakes.

A member of the Istiophoridae family, this migratory billfish is known to make massive migrations. In the 2011 Great Marlin Race, a 575-pound Atlantic blue marlin traveled 4,776 nautical miles in just 120 days, swimming from Puerto Rico across the Equator and ending up near the coast of Angola, Africa.

You can find blue marlin in subtropical waters ranging from 45 degrees north to 50 degrees south.

In the western Atlantic, blue marlin are known to follow the warm waters of the Gulf Stream as far north as George's Bank and the canyons along the continental shelf off of Cape Cod. Brazil and the area of Charlotte Bank in particular are home to some of the larger populations of blue marlin on the southwestern side of the Atlantic. Across the pond in the eastern Atlantic, blue marlin tend to travel along the Algarve coast of Portugal, southward toward Madeira and the Azores. Their range is known to extend to Angola on the west coast of Africa. Blue marlin travel mostly in small packs or as individuals and rarely gather in large schools.

Blue marlin congregate along deep-water edges and seamounts where bait is prevalent. They've been known to feed on a wide range of bait but their diet consists mostly of finfish and squid. Some top menu choices include mackerel, anchovies, sardines, small tunas and flying fish.

Atlantic blue marlin prefer water from 22 degrees Celsius (71 degrees Fahrenheit) to 31 degrees Celsius (88 degrees Fahrenheit).

Blue marlin are said to grow in excess of 1,500 pounds. The standing all-tackle world record for Atlantic blue marlin weighed 1,402 pounds and was caught in 1992 off the coast of Brazil. The larger fish are females and are often flanked by smaller males.

The blue marlin's coloring is blue-black above and silvery white below, with about 15 rows of pale cobalt-colored stripes. This coloring changes as the fish feeds. Blue marlin can flash vibrant colors along their lateral lines that can fluctuate from silvery blue to dark purple. The blue marlin has a pointed dorsal fin that is one-half to two-thirds the body depth at that point. Blue marlin can also be identified by their retractable pectoral fins.

* Bait and Switch
* Trolling Lures
* Trolling Dead Bait
* Slow-Trolling Live Baits

TOP 10
1) St. Thomas
2) Cape Verde Islands
3) Bermuda
4) Bahamas
5) Caribbean
6) Carolinas
7) Azores / Madeira
8) Gulf of Mexico
9) Ascension Island
10) Mid-Atlantic Coast

Atlantic blue marlin tend to congregate along deepwater edges, seamounts and drop offs in water from 71 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit. Artwork by
Trolling skirted lures is one of the more popular ways to target Atlantic blue marlin. Photo by Charlie Levine
Crews fish for blue marlin up and down the East Coast of the United States, often targeting  and warm-water eddies. Photo by Charlie Levine
The standing all-tackle world record for Atlantic blue marlin weighed 1,402 pounds and was caught in 1992 off the coast of Brazil.

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