Read what you will in the magazines and papers and interpret it any way you wish, but the entire calendar year is the season for Pacific Blue Marlin in Hawaiian waters. Sure, many skippers will say there might be a few more in the summer time coming in behind the Aku (Skipjack), but take a look at the catch records over time. There is no fishery in the world that can make the claim that Hawaii does in that a large Blue Marlin can be caught any time of year.
The anglers at Sportfish Hawaii like to troll artificial plugs such as those found in our lures page, but when conditions dictate, live baiting is so much fun. We rig up a 400lb leader to a single hook on a bridle through the tops of an Aku’s or small Ahi’s eye sockets, and let the fish swim. We troll the boat at slow speeds in order to create a conflict between the live bait and the Marlin. Just like the tigers on the Serengetti, no predator can resist the weakest link in the chain.
The bait will become nervous when a strike is impending, and this is where the angler’s and the boat driver’s skills must work in unison. Although many claim the right approach is to count to 10 or more after the initial strike, Marlin open their mouths wide and engulf the entire bait with a vacuum-like force. We believe the hook should be set about 3 to 5 seconds after the taking of the bait. Any longer and the fish tends to have swallowed the bait making for a less enjoyable fight and a higher chance of mortality caused by gut-hooking.
One of the great advantages of live baiting a Marlin, if done correctly, is the cost of releasing it. When the fish is controlled at leader, if the hook is not easily removed the line can be cut and the fish released with minimal trauma and a total loss of about $3.00 worth of fishing gear (a hook and 8 inches of line) instead of losing a whole $50.00 lure.