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Blue Marlin

Makaira nigricans

"Atlantic Blue Marlin, Ocean Gar , Bill Fish & Ocean Guard "


Description: This largest of all bill fish has an upper jaw that forms the bill. The anal fin is forward on the tube-like body that is built for speed and stamina. The tall first dorsal fin slopes steeply posteriorly, while the second is small. The caudal peduncle has keels. The lateral line of hexagon pattern covers the sides of the fish. The slender grooved pelvic fins provide speed and strength through the water. Their top is a beautiful cobalt blue and their bottom is silvery-white.

Similar Fish: Black Marlin, White Marlin & other bill fish

Where Found: The Blue Marlin can be found primarily in the tropical regions of the Atlantic Ocean mainly lurking around reefs, canyons and the continental shelves, from around 44 degrees N to 30 degrees South. They prefer to stay in the warm waters following the seasonal water temperature changes near deep waters in the coastal regions near the Mississippi River in the Gulf of Mexico. They are migratory fish and not a lot is known regarding their reproduction history.

Size: The Blue Marlin can weigh as much as a ton with the females being larger than the males. They can be as long a 14 feet.

State Record: The all tackle record for the Atlantic Ocean is 1402 lbs 1 oz. and the all tackle record record for the Pacific Ocean is 1376 lbs

World Record: 1402 lbs. 2 oz. Brazil

Bait used: The Blue Marlin are not selective eaters and they are voracious enough to attack any bait-fish. They do, however, they prefer mullet, mackerel, squid, dolphin and tuna. Artificial lures such as konaheads and plastic squid are often used.

Tactics to catch: While trolling, be prepared for a fast and long first run from a powerful fighter. The Blue Marlin changes directions and has powerful jumps.

Climate (water temperature range): 74 to 82 degrees (lowest tolerance 68 degrees- highest tolerance 87 degrees)

Spawning habits: The Blue Marlin has been known to spawn millions of 1 mm eggs at a time that are yellow or opaque white in color. It has been observed that the Blue Marlin occurs near Cuba between May and November. According to the temperature the egg hatching will probably occur within a week. The larva have black-blue on it's sides and dorsal surface and white ventrally. Clearly seen are the caudal peduncle and caudal fin. There are two iridescent blue patches on the head, some with darker spots along the back. The first dorsal fin is very large and concave in juveniles that gradually reduces according to continuing growth and body size.

Table food? The Blue Marlin are not usually eaten in the United States. They are, however, highly prized for their flesh in the sushi and fish sausage market in the orient.

Consumption Concerns: The flesh of a Blue Marlin is a health concern and not a good choice due to high mercury content.

Feeding habits: The Blue Marlin feed primarily near the surface on fish found in the open sea such as dolphin, mackerel and tuna and an occasional squid. As with the White Marlin it is believed that the Blue Marlin uses their bill to strike and stun their prey before grabbing and swallowing it. Blue Marlin feed during the day leading to the assumption that they are sight predators.

Remarks: The Blue Marlin is a fast reproducer and growing fish, however, due to longline fisheries and lack of management, involving poor scientific understanding, these fish are rapidly decreasing in staggering amounts.


The Florida Museum of Natural History


NOAA government species


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