Distribution of the White Marlin includes the entire span of the Atlantic Ocean, but is limited by temperature, making boundaries variable throughout the year. Most popular locations include the Bahamas, Bermuda, Florida, and the eastern coast of the United States. They do travel long distances, but are not known for any transoceanic migrations. Like its cousins, White Marlin become more active as the water cools in the winter, becoming progressively more dynamic between April and June.
White Marlin have long, compressed, stout bodies, with a tell-tale spotted dorsal fin that peaks at a distinct height then tapers at approximately the 12th dorsal fin ray, continuing so until a small gap separates it from the second dorsal fin. Long, broad pectoral fins may be folded flat against the body to achieve great speed and agility. A lateral line is visible along the length of its body which is densely covered by bony scales. The White’s fins are more rounded than its Blue cousin’s. The body is dark blue on top and silvery white below, with brown spots along the sides. Colors may change when excited. Whites are the smallest marlin species, averaging 45-65 pounds, with females typically larger than males. The world record is 181 pounds, 14 ounces, taken off Vitoria, Brazil.
Off the American east coast White Marlin are primarily sought after in deep blue water between 30 and 500 fathom depths, and following thin, warm-water lines. They spawn during early summer in deep, subtropical oceanic waters. Generally considered to be solitary compared to similar fish, they often seen in small groups of several individuals. Sharks, especially Whites, Shortfin Makos, and Cookie-Cutters, are the White Marlin’s main predator. These fish prefer squid, but bony fishes such as dolphins, mackerels, flying fish, and bonito make up a great deal of their diets. Unlike other marlin species, Whites do not appear to favor using their long pointed bills to slash, stun, and injure their prey, but seem to rather use speed and agility to overtake and consume.
Not as aggressive as their Blue cousins, White Marlin are more finicky and take more time checking bait out before they bite. Once hooked up, however, they more than make up for relatively small size with great jumping ability and sheer aggression. Only the Striped Marlin puts up a better battle. Unfortunately the White’s flesh is of sub-par quality, making it less than favorable as a meal; all the more reason to catch and release, so somebody else can enjoy a good battle later!