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Black Marlin

Other common names: White Marlin (Japan), Silver Marlin (Hawaii)

Maximum weight: 900kg (2000lb)

Current I.G.F.A. all time record: 707.61 kg (1560 lb) – Cabo Blanco, Peru – 4 August,1953

Mandible: Curve down and hooked.

Dorsal fin: Retractable

Pectoral Fins: Fins will not fold flat along body without the joints breaking. This is the only Marlin the has this characteristic.

Identifying features: Back is a dark blue or black. Occasionally light blue stripes may be present along the back and flank but these will fade after death. Belly is a silver white. The lateral line is rarely visible in adults, but is made up of a straight double row of pores. The first dorsal fin is proportionately the lowest of any Billfish.

Expected temperature range: 70° F to 86° F (21° C to 30° C)


Breeding: Male Black Marlin very rarely exceed 150kg (300lb).

Typical location: The Black Marlin is found in the Indian and the Pacific oceans. Some Blacks have traveled around the Cape of Good Hope and then moved into the Atlantic, moving up the southwest coast of Africa until they reach the Ivory Coast. Some have then crossed the Atlantic from there, traveling in a southwest direction as far as Rio de Janeiro, Brazil or in a northwesterly direction as far as the Atlantic coast of the Lesser Antilles. A Black Marlin traveling this route is exceptionally rare and would need warm current passing through the Cape of Good Hope. Warm currents in that area are extremely rare.
Open ocean along continental shelf drop off, ocean mountains and canyons, current and weed lines. Gatherings of bait schools such as tuna, mahi mahi and squid are likely Black Marlin haunts. Will come within close proximity of land if warm currents and bait schools are present.

Fighting characteristics: Very strong and exceptionally fast fish which can test not only the angler and tackle but the entire crew. Can sprint along the surface, then run deep which often causes the line to break due to water pressure. Great opponent on fly tackle.

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