Blue marlin are the most sought-after marlin species today, partly because of their wide distribution, which makes them available to a great number of anglers, and but mostly because they are capable of spectacular fighting ability and having the potential to reach great sizes. The pursuit of blue marlin has inspired and continues to inspire thousands of sport fishermen.
White marlin are distributed throughout the tropical and seasonally in temperate oceanic waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The smallest of the marlin species, with a potential maximum size of around 220 lb (100 kg), they are sought after not for their size but for their speed, leaping ability, elegant beauty and the difficulty that anglers often encounter in baiting and hooking them. They are a premier light-tackle gamefish.
The “hatchet marlin”, long thought to be a variant of the white marlin distinguished by dorsal and anal fins with a chopped-off rather than rounded appearance, has recently been confirmed as a separate species in the Tetrapturus family, the roundscale spearfish. Nearly indistinguishable from white marlin, most tournaments treat hatchet marlin catches as white marlin. Both species are fished for in the same way.
White marlin feed on a variety of schooling baitfish including sardine, herring and other clupeoids; squid; mackerel; scad; saury; and smaller tuna-like fishes such as frigate and bullet tuna. Like their close relatives the striped marlin, and sailfish, white marlin will often group together to corral schooling baitfish into a tight group for feeding purposes, a phenomenon commonly referred to as “balling bait”. When this occurs, it is common for two or more fish to be raised to the baits or hooked up simultaneously.
Genetically compared to striped/white marlins and sailfish, black marlins are more solid than their blue counterparts. They have a shorter bill and a rounder and lower dorsal fin. They are also the only marlin from the family to have rigid pectoral fins that are unable to be pressed flat against their immense bodies.
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