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How to fish for White Marlin

White Marlin occur throughout the Atlantic Ocean from latitudes 35 S to 45 N, including the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea and the western Mediterranean Sea. Though this pelagic and migratory species is usually found in deep blue tropical and warm, temperate waters, it frequently comes in close to shore where waters aren't much deeper than 50 feet. White Marlin prefer a temperature range of 68 F to 84 F.
A top-rated light-tackle game fish, the white marlin can be caught by trolling with small whole or strip baits as well as with small spoons, feathers or any of a variety of other artificial lures. Live-bait fishing with squid, ballyhoo, mullet, bonefish, mackerel, anchovies, herring and other fish is also successful.
Trolling small to medium skirted lures with either hard or soft heads in the 6" to 12" range can bring bites from the White Marlin. Trolling speed can be anywhere between 6 to 10 knots but ensure at all times that the lures are performing properly. Trolling live bait when White Marlin are encountered around a bait school is a productive method. Match your live bait to the school if possible and troll around the school on which the billfish is feeding. This may induce a strike from the White Marlin. Another productive method is to add a weight to the top of the leader then troll the bait very close to the school which the billfish is feeding on. When the trolled bait is at a position with the school of bait fish the boat is taken out of gear and the bait then is allowed to sink to the bottom of the school. The bait will then act as an injured baitfish due to the weight.
Trolling dead bait is also a productive method for White Marlin. Ballyhoo rigged with a pink or white plastic squid covering the head is popular. Squid, mullet and chub mackerel are also productive dead baits. Trolling a rigged swimming bait can be productive, but a skip bait is much more exciting, as the Marlin can be seen chasing the bait. Casting live baits with spinning tackle 10 to 15 feet in front of a tailing White Marlin is also a method for catching White Marlin.
Most angler caught White Marlin are in the 50 to 80 pound range so relatively light offshore tackle in the 20 or 30 lb. class provides the best hookup ratio and greatest level of sport. When choosing a rod and reel combo graphite is a better choice. Shimano's TLD 30 has a super light graphite spool, which offers very little resistance when dropping back the bait to the White Marlin. For rod selection, graphite is also the material of choice as it offers extreme sensitivity for detecting subtle swallows during drop backs. A 30 lb test mainline with 60 to 80 lb fluorocarbon leader that is 6 to 10 feet in length will work for most rigging.

 

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