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Marlin Fishing in a Sit On Top Kayak
Marlin, you may need a bigger boat than a sit on top kayak
Marlin is a "billfish" with an elongated body, a spear-like snout or bill, and a
long rigid dorsal fin, which extends forward to form a crest. Its common name is
thought to derive from its resemblance to a sailor's marlinspike. Even more so
than their close relatives the scombrids, marlin are incredibly fast swimmers,
reaching speeds of about 65mph.
The larger species include the Atlantic blue marlin, Makaira nigricans, which
can reach almost 20 feet in length and 1,800 lb in weight, and the Black marlin,
Makaira indica, which can reach in excess of 16 ft in length and 1,500 lb in
weight. They are popular sporting fish in tropical areas.
Marlin are rarely table fare, appearing mostly in fine restaurants. Most modern
sport fishermen release marlin after unhooking. However, the fisherman in Ernest
Hemingway's novella The Old Man and the Sea was described as having caught an
18-foot marlin to sell its meat.
Very large marlin, which may set a record, are taken and weighed on shore.
Records are most often recorded in the IGFA World Record Game Fish books. The
current record has stood for some 20 years.
Marlin Fishing techniques
Fishing styles and gear used in the pursuit of blue marlin vary, depending on
the size of blue marlin common to the area, the size of fish being targeted,
local sea conditions, and often local tradition. The main methods use artificial
lures, rigged natural baits, or live bait.
Artificial lure marlin fishing
Blue marlin are aggressive fish that respond well to the splash, bubble trail
and action of a well presented artificial lure.
Probably the most popular technique used by blue marlin crews worldwide,
artificial lure fishing has spread from its Hawaiian origins. The earliest
marlin lures were carved from wood, cast in drink glasses, or made from chrome
bath towel pipes and skirted with rubber inner tubes or vinyl upholstery
material cut into strips. Today, marlin lures are produced in a huge variety of
shapes, sizes and colours, mass-produced by large manufacturers and individually
crafted by small-scale custom makers.
A typical marlin lure is a small (7-8 inch), medium (10-12 inch) to large (14
inches or more) artificial with a shaped plastic or metal head to which a
plastic skirt is attached. The design of the lure head, particularly its face,
gives the lure its individual action when trolled through the water. Lure
actions range from an active side-to-side swimming pattern to pushing water
aggressively on the surface to, most commonly, tracking along in a straight line
with a regular surface pop and bubble trail. Besides the shape, weight and size
of the lure head, the length and thickness of skirting, the number and size of
hooks and the length and size of the leader used in lure rigging all influence
the action of the lure: how actively it will run and how it will respond to
different sea conditions. Experienced anglers can fine tune their lures to get
the action they want.
Lures are normally fished at speeds of between 7.5 to 9 knots; faster speeds in
the 10 to 15 knot range are less frequently used, primarily by boats with slower
cruising speeds travelling from spot to spot. These speeds allow quite
substantial areas to be effectively worked in a day's fishing. A pattern of four
or more lures is trolled at varying distances behind the boat. Lures may be
fished either straight from the rod tip ("flat lines"), or from outriggers.
Natural bait marlin fishing
Rigged natural baits have been used by sport fishermen seeking blue marlin since
the 1930s and are still popular. Along the eastern seaboard of the United States
and in the Bahamas and Caribbean, rigged Spanish mackerel and horse ballyhoo are
widely used for Atlantic blue marlin.
Rigged natural baits are sometimes combined with an artificial lure or skirt to
make "skirted baits" or "bait/lure combinations".
Live bait marlin fishing
Live bait fishing for blue marlin normally uses small tuna species with skipjack
generally considered the best choice. As trolling speed is limited by the fact
that baits must be trolled slowly to remain alive, live-baiting is normally
chosen where fishing areas are relatively small and easily covered. Much
live-baiting in the blue marlin fishery of Kona, Hawaii, for instance, takes
place near FAD (Fish Aggregation Device) buoys and in the vicinity of steep