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White Marlin

Updated on October 25, 2014

Fishing for White Marlin

The white marlin is one of the most exciting billfish.

White marlin are caught by trolling, using live bait and even with fly fishing gear. Anglers use a variety of natural baits, artificial lures and combinations of the two to catch these colorful fish.

In most places, white marlin fishing is strictly catch and release. While some tournaments still weigh fish, most fish are released and there is tremendous pressure on tournament organizers to modify rules to require the release of all fish.

White Marlin Fishing

White marlin are colorful fish and have excellent eyesight. When they appear behind a lure, they swim aggressively, displaying their bright colors. White marlin may concentrate on one particular bait or move to various lures.

A hungry or agitated marlin will dramatically change color, known as "lighting up". Marlin attack by charging the bait and and batting its bill at the offering.

White marlin are protected from commercial harvest and practically all recreational fishermen choose to release all white marlin.

Recent advances in marlin fishing have included the use of circle hooks, which help reduce injury to fish.

Are White Marlin Endangered?

NMFS announces their finding that listing the Atlantic white marlin (Tetrapturus albidus) as an endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is not warranted.

Documents associated with this finding include entries in the Federal Register Notice, a NOAA press release, and a Frequently Asked Questions.

The 2007 Atlantic white marlin status review document may be downloaded at The Atlantic white marlin status review document is a product of a 12-month status review that NMFS conducted during 2007 following the 2006 ICCAT stock assessment. During this review, NMFS evaluated the best available scientific and commercial information on the biological status of Atlantic white marlin and the threats it is facing.

Questions related to the status review and ESA determinations should be directed to Dr. Stephania Bolden, NMFS, Southeast Regional Office, 727-824-5312,

source: NMFS HMS News

Virginia Institute of Marine Science White Marlin Research

In a Virginia Institute of Marine Science study on white marlin, some surprises were found about where they spend the majority of their day and how deep they actually go. The white marlin study also found a big difference in survival between fish caught on circle hooks (58 of 59 survived; <2% post-release mortality) as compared to J-hooks (13 of 20 survived; 35% post-release mortality).

Estimated weights of White Marlin

Estimated weights of White Marlin

Length Weight


(inches) (lbs)

40 12.62

41 13.58

42 14.59

43 15.65

44 16.75

45 17.91

46 19.13

47 20.39

48 21.71

49 23.09

50 24.52

51 25.51

52 27.04

53 28.63

54 30.28

55 32.00

56 33.77

57 35.61

58 37.52

59 39.50

60 41.54

61 43.65

62 45.83

63 48.09

64 50.41

65 52.81

66 55.29

67 57.84

68 60.47

69 63.17

70 65.96

Marlin Feedback

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    • profile image

      keruko 5 years ago

      Loved your lens on white marlin. I hope you enjoy my lens on BLACK marlin :-)

    • Elle-Dee-Esse profile image

      Lynne Schroeder 7 years ago from Blue Mountains Australia

      I don't think I'm a match for these guys.