In order to determine the best location to hook up with your first blue marlin, you need to understand these magnificent fish and identify where they live and what they feed on. There are numerous resources across the internet to help the novice big game fisherman. Blue marlin represent real oceanic creatures (pelagic fish) that spend most of their lives in the deep blue waters well beyond the continental shelf. Most of them thrive thousands of miles from the mainland where they can only be found using large ocean-going fishing vessels. The best places to fish for them are the islands and capes of continents projecting out into deep waters that come closest to the edge of the continental shelf.
The Bahamas was initially an English colony but now is an independent Commonwealth. This group of islands, cays and islets are spread out across hundreds of square miles of the Atlantic Ocean. They consist of two major sections that fall into the deep ocean water with strong currents and large numbers of amazing creatures. Bimini is the island closest to the U.S mainland as it lies less than fifty miles from Miami. It represents one of the genuine treasure troves of sport fishing destinations. The deep water on the eastern side of the Bahamas is where you’ll have your best shot at a larger fish, 700 lbs and up. Most local billfish tourneys take place during the spring and early summer. During most tournaments, a 500 lb blue marlin will place in the money. The Bahamas host many eager fishermen every year and offer friendly experienced fishing boat captains and easy access from most U.S. airports.
The tropical waters of the Virgin Islands most definitely qualify as a likely locale capable of producing your first tangle with a blue marlin. It is a hot spot for big blues and can be accessed easily from either St. John or St. Thomas. A short ride from St. Croix will take you to another deep drop-off where the ocean currents and cool waters attract a large number of blue marlin especially during the winter months. If you are new to this type fishing, you will be guided by experienced captains and mates who will escort you to the hottest spots. Both full day and half day trips are available depending on your schedule. Full-day trips start from 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM while half day trips are normally scheduled from 8:00 AM – 12:00 noon and 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM. A full day trip is quite expensive because of the extra fuel and time required and the average daily fees are approximately $900 per boat which can be split among the anglers present.
Cape Verde Islands
The Republic of Cape Verde is an island country located 350 miles offshore of the western coast of Africa. It is an archipelago of volcanic origins consisting of 10 islands and encompassing an area of approximately 1500 square miles. Experienced local fishermen claim that the islands have the largest number of blue marlin bites per excursion moreso than anywhere else in the world. Some boats have even released as many as 35 blue marlin in a single trip which is very rare. Most fishing takes place in the channel between Sao Vicente and Santo Antao Islands. This channel is a famous blue marlin hot spot well known by international anglers. The area has favorable environmental factors that make fishing that much more enjoyable. It is sunny throughout the year with an average temperature of 70 F during the night and 85 F during the day. The islands are politically stable and tourism is a large contributor to the local economy with several new marinas and hotels having sprung up recently to attract big game fishermen from around the world.
The Canary Islands (or The Canaries) is a Spanish Archipelago located north of the Moroccan coast close to the Western Sahara desert. The Canaries are made up of seven major islands, several small islets and one minor island, all formed due to the massive volcanic activity of the Canary Hotspot. The majority of the coastal landscape consists of black and reddish-brown sandy beaches of volcanic origin. Several record blue marlin have been caught in the island waters. Lanzarote has the highest concentration of blue marlin which are considered the ultimate stars of sport fishing throughout the Canary Islands. The prime season runs from June to September although fishing is wonderful into October. Excellent fishing grounds begin almost immediately upon leaving the port. Big game trolling rods are lined up and ready to rock throughout the waters or Fuertventura and Lanzarote. Artificial lures, natural exciters and big baits are all used to attract the local blue marlin.
Blue marlin travel many miles on a daily basis and they change their position constantly. They may stay longer in one particular area dependent upon the water temperature and the number of pelagic species such as dorado and tuna which are their main sources of food. It is imperative to remember that the battle with a marlin can last for hours depending on several factors such as your physical preparation, ocean conditions and the size of the marlin. The memories of your first “grander”, however, will last a lifetime.