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Striped Marlin picture

How to fish for Striped Marlin

Striped Marlin occur in tropical and warm temperature waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Striped Marlin are usually found offshore above the thermocline and are the most widely distributed of all billfish. Striped Marlin feed predominately on fish but also include squid, crabs and shrimp in their diet. When feeding the Striped Marlin uses its bill in capturing food by slashing sideways with the spear, injuring its prey. The most productive fishing grounds for Striped Marlin seem to be off Cabo San Lucas and the waters around New Zealand. Most angler caught Striped Marlin are under 250 pounds. Striped Marlin are acrobatic fighters when hooked.
Striped marlin show different hunting characteristics in various localities, but they are most commonly found 'tailing' wherever they occur. This means swimming right on the surface with the top third or half of their tails clear of the surface. When Striped Marlin are observed tailing, live anchovies, mackerel or sardines cast from the boat to land in front of the slowly cruising billfish can result in a hook up.
When trolling live bait for Striped Marlin the bait should be fished on as light a drag setting as possible. Fishing live baits will most likely draw one of two reactions from the fish. The first being that the Striped Marlin will strike out of nowhere, swallow the bait, and head off like a rocket, hooking itself in the process. The second more likely reaction is that the Striped Marlin will follow and bill whack with the bait. When you think the Marlin has hit the bait hard enough for the Striped Marlin to think it has stunned it, free spool the reel for about 20 to 30 yards. If the fish doesn't pick it up, wind it back to the original position. This may bring the fish back for a second or third attempt at it. If the Striped Marlin does make an attempt to swallow the bait, free spool and feed the bait to it. 
An Albacore, Mackerel, or Mullet rigged on a 12/0 or 10/0 hook with 12 to 15 feet of 100 to 150 pound test leader works well for Striped Marlin. There are many effective methods for rigging baits. Keeping the bait fresh and in good condition and changing them after they lose their color, should add to your success rate. The bait should be fished within 10 yards of the teaser for best results.
Trolling lures is another productive fishing methods for Striped Marlin. Konaheads, Knuckleheads, squid replicas and feather lures are the most effective artificial lures. Leader length for trolling lures should be 12 to 15 feet of 200 to 300 pound test. 


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