Illusive Marlin

Recently, the crew from Salty Dogs have spent a considerable amount of time chasing the pinnacle of game fishing species… Marlin. We have utilised a variety of techniques that have aided in our success. More often than not, using common sense and what we know about catching other species is a crucial element to the game that is often overlooked. Anglers tend to come up with exhausting procedures, failing to recognise the simple facts in front of them.

First thing is first, always spend time obtaining fresh live bait in the mornings, before heading out. We use the Gamakatsu Sabiki rigs in size 10, in an attempt to lure a precious Slimy Mackerel. The basic concept of the rig is that you drop several hooks that attract bait fish with flashes and colour (check your local legislation on how many hooks are allowed per line in the water). Sabiki rigs are effective when coupled with your sounder so you can drop directly on to schooling bait fish. Whether or not you plan on trolling with lures, you never know what you are going to find once you reach Marlin grounds, hence the importance of catching bait.

‘Dragging plastic’ is a great way of prospecting and determining the rest of the days approach. We put a 5 to 6 lure spread in the water and travel at about 8 knots per hour. This way you’re covering sufficient ground and have every chance of bumping into a fish, floating object or schooling bait which may hold pelagic species. Try to have a diving lure in your spread, this will increase the opportunity of by-catching and can potentially raise fish to see what all the commotion is about.

A mistake we made in the past changed the way that we looked at Marlin fishing. No longer are we spending the day relaxing and waiting for a bite. Instead, the chances of encountering a Marlin improve the more active you are on-board your vessel. Continually look out for current lines, birds, shimmering surface bait or floating objects, these can all be holding larger predators. Without live baits rigged and ready to go, if you come across one of these commodities, you may have already blown your chances. In our instance, we came across football fields of bait on the surface, there were hundred of birds dive bombing the massive schools and we could even could see Marlin free jumping. The Marlin were being served with a plethora of fresh food, so they had no interest in our spread of skirts. We could not catch the bait that was simply trying to escape the imminent onslaught. If only we could present the Marlin with a free swimming live bait or skip-bait with the boat just in gear, we were certain our day would have been different. We went home empty handed.

If things aren’t going your way, mix it up. You may be marking Marlin on the sounder or be in the same situation that we faced. The fact is sometimes, like any creature, Marlin will be lazy and refuse to co-operate when everything else is. Be prepared to dish them something that they cannot refuse.