BlogFebruary 2015

Fishing for Striped Marlin

Fishing for Striped Marlin

By Andy Whitcomb

Feb 02, 2015

How are you handling the winter so far?

How are you handling the winter so far? Are you having fun ice fishing? If you want to take a break from shoveling the driveway and fly to a more tropical location, the striped marlin may be biting.

For example: it is 80 degrees in Hawaii now, and striped marlin season peaks in January, February, and March. Sounds like a great excuse to charter a boat out of the Kona harbor on the Big Island. It is only a short ride before fishing starts because the ocean drops from 80 feet to 800 feet deep in less than a quarter of a mile.

These acrobatic billfish are smaller than the massive blue marlin which may reach 1000 pounds. Striped marlin average about 100 pounds in Hawaiian waters, but that fish is still a mind blowing 8 feet long.

They can be caught trolling lures but I caught one using live bait, a skipjack tuna, the size of the largemouth bass that I normally catch. The charter captain trolled the bait slowly and we waited until the line tugged loose from the clothespin holding it to the outrigger.

Even then, the heavy rod remained in the holder. With so much heavy line out, the captain waited a few moments for the fish to take the bait, and then gunned the boat engine forward to set the hook. The line started peeling off at an astounding rate and I quickly clipped to a stand up fighting belt to begin my battle with some large unknown deep sea fish.

The captain grinned and said,”Okay, I’m going to get a sandwich and have a nap. Let me know when you’ve got it close to the boat.”

This striped marlin only jumped once, which was unusual. Then it went straight down. Despite wanting to release this highly-prized sportfish, it must have thrown the hook in the jump, only to be snagged in the tail and could not be revived.

This was one of those once-in-a-lifetime fish and the captain had the marlin flag raised for our return to the harbor. If you have the means and the opportunity, you’ll never forget a marlin experience. Have you been fishing for marlin? If so, please comment here or share your story on Take Me Fishing Facebook’s page.

Andy Whitcomb
Andy Whitcomb
Andy is an outdoor writer ( and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.