BLUE MARLIN  :  Makaira nigricans , Makaira mazara.

The term Blue Marlin can refer to the Atlantic blue marlinMakaira Nigricans, and to the Indo-Pacific blue marlinMakaira mazara. It is currently a debated whether or not Makaira mazara is a separate species from Makaira nigricans,  and Fishbase have printed that they plan to remove the species page. Wikipedia only have a page for the Atlantic blue marlin. As we take our fishing yachts in both the Pacific and the Caribbean you can have the opportunity to fish them both, if they are in fact different!

blue marlin fishing in panamaBlue-marlin are found worldwide in warm and temperate seas. It seems to undertake regular north-south migrations according to the seasons of the year. It is a so-called bluewater fish, spending most of their lives far out to sea. They are also highly migratory, and will follow warm ocean currents for hundreds and even thousands of miles.

Blue marlins prefer the higher temperature of surface waters, feeding on mackerel and tuna, but will also dive deep to eat squid. They use their spears to slash through dense schools of bait fish and then they return to eat their stunned and wounded prey. At times they will impale a fish with their spear but this is not their primary use of their spear.

The females are significantly larger than the males – probably four times as big. The males rarely exceed 350 lbs (160 kg) in weight. They have been recorded to weigh up to 1,803 lbs (818 kg) with a length of 16.4 ft (5 m). Although the maximum size is larger than that of the Black marlin, the average size caught is smaller than for the Black marlin, which is due in part to their staying out in deep ocean whereas the Black marlin will come onto the reefs more often. The largest Blue marlin caught within the fishing rules of the International Game Fish Association IGFA weighed 1,402 lbs (636 kg) and was caught in Brazil at Vitoria.

Blue marlin live up to 27 years of age and the adults have few predators apart from man but are currently considered a threatened species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature IUCN due to overfishing. In Panama the law requires that all Billfish are released. We approve of this practice as it is the way to fish responsibly, and have voluntarily extended this to include the Cubera Snapper.

The distinguishing features of the Blue marlin are a relatively low dorsal fin and a relatively high anal fin and a round rather than flat sided body, almost cylindrical at the forward part of the body in front of the first anal fin. It carries its weight much further back than the other species of Marlin, and then its body tapers more quickly after the first anal fin. The spear is generally more oval shaped in cross-section than the other Marlins. In mature fish the upper jaw grows at a quicker rate than the lower jaw which makes the spear appear longer.

The Blue marlin is colored very much like the Striped marlin but the colors and markings are not quite as prominent. The stripes on the side fade quickly after being boated and sometimes the Blue marlin will turn a bronze color when it dies, which fades after a while to a nearly uniform dark slate-blue color. The dorsal fin, and often the anal fin as well, is cobalt-blue or purplish-blue and sometimes marked with dark spots or blotches.

The video below is aboard our 66′ Buddy Davis Sportfisher, “Cherin III”, on the Zane Grey Reef in Piñas Bay. This famous fishing reef is located at the far East of Panama in the Darién Province.

Other historic names for the Blue Marlin in English include: Cuban black marlin, ocean gar and ocean guard.
Makaira nigricans has had many synonyms over the years, and here is a history of them:

  • Maikaira nigricans (sic) (Lacepède, 1802)
  • Makaira nigricans nigricans (Lacepède, 1802)
  • Xiphias ensis (Lacepède, 1800) (ambiguous)
  • Makaira ensis (Lacepède, 1800) (ambiguous)
  • Tetrapturus herschelii (J. E. Gray, 1838)
  • Histiophorus herschelii (J. E. Gray, 1838)
  • Makaira herschelii (J. E. Gray, 1838)
  • Tetrapturus amplus (Poey, 1860)
  • Makaira ampla (Poey, 1860)
  • Makaira ampla ampla (Poey, 1860)
  • Makaira nigricans ampla (Poey, 1860)
  • Tetrapturus mazara (D. S. Jordan & Snyder, 1901)
  • Istiompax mazara (D. S. Jordan & Snyder, 1901)
  • Makaira ampla mazara (D. S. Jordan & Snyder, 1901)
  • Makaira mazara (D. S. Jordan & Snyder, 1901)
  • Makaira nigricans mazara (D. S. Jordan & Snyder, 1901)
  • Makaira bermudae (Mowbray, 1931)
  • Orthocraeros bermudae (Mowbray, 1931)
  • Eumakaira nigra (Hirasaka & H. Nakamura, 1947)
  • Makaira nigra (Hirasaka & H. Nakamura, 1947)
  • Makaira perezi (F. de Buen, 1950)
  • Istiompax howardi (Whitley, 1954)

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