Soaring through the depths of temperate or tropical waters throughout the Pacific, Indian, and especially Atlantic oceans is the legendary Blue Marlin: potentially ‘the Mt. Everest’ of all sport fish. Anglers everywhere find joy and satisfaction in landing greater numbers of smaller, more convenient, even gamier fish. Yet somewhere in the far-away distance of imagination lurks the Blue Marlin, tempting anyone who ever drops a line to one day reach further for the greatest challenge of all. Seasonal migration following warm currents near the surface takes this fish great distances from continents and coastal regions. The Blue Marlin’s main territory encompasses almost the entire span of the Atlantic Ocean.
Coloration of the Blue Marlin is striking, especially against the backdrop of tropical sky and crystalline depths. Cobalt blue on top is highlighted with subtle lateral stripes. Shades of silver along the sides blend into white on the bottom. Pointed pectoral and tail fins darken to grayish black, while the anal fin remains white as the lower body. These fins may all be folded down for better streamlining, making it one of the world’s fastest fish. Sexual maturity is achieved between two and four years of age. Male Blue Marlin grow more slowly and usually top out around 350 pounds in weight, but females achieve much greater size, often surpassing 1,200 pounds. The heaviest Blue Marlin ever caught, off Oahu, Hawaii, weighed in over 1800 pounds!
Blue Marlin may most often be found alone, cruising current lines, following baitfish along deep reefs, canyons, and drop-off points near continental shelves. Their diet includes cephalopods (squid, octopus, cuttlefish, etc.), and a wide range of fish, like Bigeye Tuna and Chub Mackerel. No other Marlin is as efficient and successful at hunting. Attacking prey near the water’s surface, Blues speed through schools, slashing, stunning and killing with bills elongated and thin like a spear. December and January are breeding season for Pacific Blue Marlin, while their Atlantic cousins choose the end of summer and fall.
More than good looks have earned the Blue Marlin such a hallowed reputation. Strength and fortitude unmatched help make it the climax of fish tales and legends passed down and continually retold in dark waterfront bars across the globe. Since long before Hemingway’s romantic triumph, has this fish been the object of devotion and unrequited desire for untold anglers. More colorful fish there are, and many who also give as good as they get; yet no other seems able to match the Blue Marlin for such overwhelming allure and hopeful reward.