Blue Marlin

Maybe one in ten marlins captured from the Joker will be a blue marlin. I can often tell the difference in the first ten-seconds. Blues are more often faster and more berserk than blacks when hooked up. Blues are nearly impossible for me to get a decent photograph of from the bridge, too fast, movements too unpredictable.

blue marlin coiba island panama fishing

We find them more often while trolling lures near the edge of deepwater, 600 feet or deeper, near Isla Jicaron, Isla Montousa and the three banks, Hannibal, Banana & Piedra de Hacha Banks.

When trolling marlin lures I’m looking for birds which indicate bait concentrations. I also troll two cedar plugs in the spread to help me find bait. Find the bait offshore, off the banks, and you increase your odds of hooking up a blue marlin.

Blues are more aggressive toward trolled lures than blacks. Blues will stay behind the boat longer investigating lures and can be teased into striking easier than blacks. Blacks, hit and either get stuck or disappear.

If we hook up skipjack tuna on the cedar plugs, then it becomes time to switch to live bait fishing because I believe, blue marlins may very well be swimming below, hunting the skipjack, waiting to spot a weak bait in the mass. While we do catch blues on bonito (little tunny) I think skipjack are the preferred choice. Skipjack are not always here, like our more common bonito (little tunny). Sometimes I don’t see skipjack for weeks or months. When skipjack are in, I think the blue marlin are with them.

I think the reason we catch so many more blacks than blues is because we fish mostly live bonitos over the high spots on the Hannibal Bank. If I spent as much time hunting for blues further offshore as we do for blacks in much shallower water, this place would be recognized as a blue marlin hot spot. Blues are here in unknown numbers because it’s not common for us or other boats to spend the time fishing for them.
Blue Marlin have been clocked at 50 mph. Blue marlin have been tracked to have traveled distances over 1,800 miles. The 1,656 lb. blue captured aboard the Black Bart in Hawaii in 1984 was aged by biologists at 32 years old. The largest blue ever captured on sportfishing gear weighed 1,805 lb. and had a 155 lb. yellowfin inside it. The largest blue marlin reported to have been brought to Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo weighed 2,438 lb.

blue marlin

It's been over three years since Panama outlawed tuna seiners within 200 miles of our coast or islands. Seiners had to be the worst killers of all. Seiners are required to carry satellite tracking devises so our government knows where they are. Long lining in our area surrounding Coiba & Hannibal Bank have been outlawed over two years. The larger longliners were stopped immediately while smaller boats continued to fish illegally, but now that has changed. Our fishing grounds are protected from commercial exploitation. These laws went into effect while we still have great fishing. It can only get better and better.