Striped Marlin

The Striped Marlin can be found cruising the tropical, subtropical, and temperate surface waters of the Indo-Pacific oceans. They range on the west coast of the United States from July through October as far north as Oregon, but achieve greater numbers as they continue south to Point Conception, California. Cabo San Lucas has the reputation of being a consistent home to Striped Marlin, with schools migrating through these waters and the Sea of Cortez. Impressive numbers attend northern Mexico, where they spawn from May to July, becoming less common further south towards Acapulco. These fish also inhabit the lower Pacific and Indian Oceans from southwest of the Hawaiian Islands to Kenya, Mozambique, and New Zealand.

Metallic blue-black on top with generally 15-20 narrow vertical stripes – usually lavender or a purplish hue – along the side, this fish is silvery-white below. A long sword-like bill extends the upper lip. Their fins are dark blue-black, and the first dorsal fin is tall, sloping quickly to a much lower fin that continues to the tail. Their pectoral fins can be folded back flat against the body, which is elongated and compressed, giving the Striped Marlin great speed and agility. The all-tackle world record is 494 pounds, taken off Tutakaka, New Zealand.

Striped Marlin are highly predatory and feed on a wide range of supplemental snacks, like crabs, cephalopods, shrimp; but their main courses include fishes, especially tuna. Like other marlin, they use their bills to stun and kill their prey, before moving back in to polish off the meal. They are believed to spawn in the northwest Pacific and migrate eastward when young. This would explain the number of smaller examples found near Hawaiian waters.

Intense commercial, as well as recreational, fishing has been blamed for a notable decrease in the Striped Marlin population. Thankfully, a number of conservation organizations have taken up the cause, helping to urge them back to fruition. It is no wonder these are such popular targets for anglers. They do not grow as large, but are more acrobatic than their Black and Blue cousins. Striped Marlin have been known to spend almost as much time in the air after being hooked than in the water. Acrobatic leaps are combined with violent shaking and thrusting, causing them to often tire within an hour of being hooked. Just enough time to wear an angler down physically, while soaring emotionally.