Fishing for Marlin in the Sport Fishing Capital of the World - Islamorada Image

Fishing for Marlin in the Sport Fishing Capital of the World - Islamorada

Updated: June 30th 2017 @ 9:14am

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Marlin fishing has been described as “hours of boredom interrupted by seconds of sheer terror." It can seem as if there isn't a marlin within miles, but just when you least expect it, the fight is on! 

Dreaming of an Islamorada fishing trip?

Marlin have become somewhat of an icon for sportfishing in Islamorada, in no small part due to Ernest Hemingway's novel The Old Man and The Sea" target="_blank">The Old Man and the Sea, in which a fisherman battles a giant marlin alone on a small boat.

A longtime favorite of fishermen everywhere, the marlin is noted for its speed (often reaching nearly 70 mph), power, and jumping ability. Black Marlin and their cousins the Blue Marlin exist high up the food chain and are the largest game fish in the world, with large specimens sometimes exceeding 1,000 lbs.  Females can weigh up to four times more than males, which rarely exceed 300 lbs.

Marlin are billfish, a highly predatory species that uses its spear-like ‘bill’ to slash at and stun their prey. A migratory species, they are usually found in tropical or sub-tropical waters and change their location according to the warmth of the water. There are four Marlin varieties: the Blue, the Black, the White, and the Striped Marlin. Blue marlin and white marlin are the varieties typically found in the Islamorada area.  

Where to fish for marlin in the Islamorada, Florida Keys, area

Marlin are a relatively rare fish species to begin, and their numbers have suffered from overfishing. While marlin do come near Islamorada as part of their migration in the Gulf Stream currents, your best bet is to travel far offshore or fish along the edge of the continental shelf in 600-1000 feet of water. Prime marlin fishing grounds are generally along the “100 fathom” curve, which is approximately 600 feet of water, but they can be found in water as shallow as 250 feet.

Best time of year to catch marlin in Islamorada

Marlin fishing in the Florida Keys is excellent from roughly April to July. A good way of determining the marlin fishing season of an area is by considering the local water temperature at that time of year: marlin love warm water.

Best time of day to fish for marlin

Marlin are almost always caught by sport fishermen while trolling during daylight hours.

Best tackle to use when fishing for marlin

Above all, you need to be sure your tackle is heavy enough to withstand the fight. Reels at size 50 are good. Charter fishing boats commonly supply appropriate tackle, though you can bring your own if you wish. Ask your Islamorada fishing guide in advance.

Best bait to use when fishing for marlin

Live bait is best, though you can also catch marlin with frozen bait or lures. Small tuna and skipjacks are ideal bait for marlin fishing. Marlin also respond very well to the splash and trail of a well presented artificial lure.

Reeling in a monster marlin

Islamorada fishing guides are experienced in helping you bring in your trophy catch. 

Experienced fishermen know that they must keep constant pressure on the fish or risk the fish “throwing” the hook right out of its mouth with a mere shake of its head. To help make this easier for the fisherman, the captain will often speed the boat ahead, unless the angler is able to keep his rod bent without the boat moving forward. 

Fighting the fish those last 50 feet is a skill within itself. This is where the novice angler has to employ the “pump and reel” or “short stroke” technique. Otherwise, the last 50 feet will take forever, with the angler tiring out long before the fish.

Selecting a great Islamorada fishing charter

Ready to experience a fishing trip of a lifetime? Dream Sporting Trips is proud to present some of the best fishing charters and guides in the industry!

Check our online listings today, and contact a qualified guide directly to book your fishing trip. 


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Responses (1 comments)
Cynthia Paternostro Posted: July 13th 2022 @ 1:39pm
Marlin fishing