Why should you catch a marlin? There are lots of reasons– many can only be best related after you’ve witnessed the spectacle.
Marlin fishing combines the wonderful romanticism of hope with the skillful, meticulousness of preparation you might expect from a skydiver making ready his parachute.
For those fortunate enough to have experienced it, catching a blue (or black) marlin can be a mind altering experience. This is not an exaggeration.
The thrill and exhilaration of tangling with the ocean’s most magnificent animal has perhaps no parallel. In many ways it is a reconnection to a time lost to the modern age.
Those removed from the ocean and the incredible spectacles that happen at sea might have difficulty relating to ancient mariners’ stories of sea monsters and man-eating beasts. Watching a blue marlin attack a teaser and before ripping off 500 yards of line against 40 pounds of drag within 30 seconds of hook up hearkens back to a time before man believed that he knew and controlled everything around him.
There’s nothing controlled or measured about a marlin—especially of the blue and black variety. The ferocity of their attack, their incredible speed and acrobatic ability… creatures that weigh upwards of 800 or 1,000 pounds are not supposed to be able to fly. In its fight and attack every fish can be different.
Marlin Fishing: An Uncontrollable Force
Modern man is used to being in control of his environment and dictating the things that occur around him. He is increasingly a creature defined by schedule, planning, and routine.
Those who came before him already tamed and subdued the world and most of its wildness– nearly to the point of sterilizing it. Modern man is so accustomed to things working out on his terms that he is surprised when hurricanes don’t exactly follow the paths predicted by forecasters.
In many ways, this creates a disconnect in the historical relationship between man and the natural environment. The Frontier has been closed for 150 years.
There are no longer many unexpected experiences on land. The time of discovery, the Lewis and Clark type deal has been gone since long before our grandparents were born.
Marlin fishing somehow reconciles this rift. Even with all of the incredible modern technology available in fishing these days—even when fishing from a seven million dollar boats finished in teak and mahogany—marlin fishing is still not pre-scripted or staged.
No matter how much you wish, hope or pay, you can’t control the fish or the ocean. When one shows up—when everything comes together, it is incredible.
Equal Parts Hope, Power & Awe
Even with all of the preparation, all of the investment, all of the lead up—a marlin’s arrival never follows a plan. Maybe the fish is 150 pounds, it could be 1,500.
Perhaps the fish inhales a lure and hooks itself. Maybe the fish simply surfs behind the teaser without ever committing to the hooked bait pitched over the side.
Marlin fishing combines the wonderful romanticism of hope with the skillful, meticulousness of preparation that one might expect from a skydiver making ready his parachute. This might sound like an exaggeration… it is not.
To watch a skilled marlin crew prepare for a season’s fishing is a privilege. The financial investment in tackle and equipment compares only to the focus and attention given to the activity by the men and women who make the pastime their life’s work.
This specialization is especially on display in places like Kona, the Great Barrier Reef, Madeira, and Bermuda. These are the places where every day brings with it the legitimate chance to tangle with a real one.
When you ask the captains here about why they use reels that would seem to be entirely too big and cumbersome to be practical (when cranking on a 130, you might think you were spooling line onto a 55-gallon fuel drum), each will tell stories about hooking fish that made the reels inadequate.
Nothing In The World is More Captivating
These great fish are so captivating that they lead men to prepare every day for an encounter that might never come. More than the biggest fish he has ever caught, a marlin fisherman never forgets the biggest one he has ever seen.
Sometimes it was a fish that appeared behind a teaser. Sometimes, a sea monster that he witnessed trying to eat a 100-pound tuna. Often it was a behemoth that he hooked and fought, perhaps for a minute maybe for 15 hours— and lost.
Sometimes the hook came loose. Others it was a tackle failure … sometimes the fish happened to emerge from the depths when the captain had the worst group of charters imaginable.
Legendary Bermuda Captain Alan Card once told me about losing a brute of a blue marlin only to reel in the tail of a white marlin the blue had eaten. Instead of hooking the giant blue, Card’s hook embedded itself in the tail of a white marlin that protruded of the fish’s gullet.
No matter the scenario, every captain can remember the fish, the day, and everything about it. The size of its giant eyeball, the width of its shoulders, the neon of its stripes, the distance between the top of the water’s surface and tip of its dorsal fin… it’s universal.
This is how it happens… all over the world. Something that is nearly as universal? No matter how big of a marlin someone has successfully caught, most every one of these captains has seen a bigger one.
There Is Nothing Like Catching a Marlin: Why You Should Do it
There is nothing like marlin fishing. In the world, there is nothing like it.
There are plenty of videos about the experience that you can watch. Even those in ultra-high definition do not do the experience justice without having first seen it yourself.
No matter how many largemouth or walleye, fishing offers little in the way of corollary experiences. Bass cannot jump out of the water and impale you. Walleye never snatch people into the water as people try to net them. Besides, you could use even the all tackle world record bass or walleye for marlin bait.