Marlin - - CONTENTS DEPARTMENTS - By Capt. Jen Copeland Pho­tog­ra­phy by Jon Whit­tle

Rather than of­fer a roundup of lures de­signed to catch fish­er­men first and bill­fish sec­ond, we polled a cross sec­tion of the world’s top marlin-chas­ing cap­tains for their fa­vorites. These spe­cific brands, mod­els and col­ors are the ones they rely on — from Aus­tralia and Ber­muda to the Ba­hamas, Hawaii, the Gulf of Mex­ico and be­yond — to pro­duce bites.


Capt. Ger­ard “Frothy” DeSilva, Pesca Grossa ( Madeira, Por­tu­gal)

The Ruckus is an ag­gres­sive, hard slant-head lure that car­ries air be­low the sur­face to cre­ate lots of com­mo­tion. DeSilva fishes it on the fourth wave off the short corner. When tar­get­ing big blue marlin in Madeira, he uses the XXL size, but he prefers the large size when fish­ing for smaller blues in the Caribbean. The blue, white and pink color com­bi­na­tion has never dis­ap­pointed him.


Capt. Matt Mauld­win, Click Through (Gulf of Mex­ico, United States)

A flat, chubby head al­lows the Pepal Grande to run well in all sea con­di­tions, with an un­du­lat­ing ef­fect marlin love. Armed with an 11/0 sin­gle-hook stiff rig, Mauld­win runs this lure from the short-rigger po­si­tion on a tag line. The Pepal Grande in the Alive Dol­phin color pat­tern has ac­counted for more than 50 per­cent of his marlin bites, even catch­ing eight con­sec­u­tive blues in one stretch.


Capt. Mil­ton Pichardo, Teaser (Aruba)

With a very unique ac­tion thanks to its an­gled head, the Polu Diver is ir­re­sistible to all pelagic species, es­pe­cially blue marlin. With Aruban seas av­er­ag­ing in the 5-foot range, Pichardo finds that mi­nor ad­just­ments — a bit longer or shorter, up or down with the out­rig­ger hal­yard — is just enough fine­tun­ing to get these lures to swim prop­erly in nearly any sea con­di­tion he en­coun­ters dur­ing a busy char­ter sea­son. Pur­ple-and-sil­ver is his go-to color.


Capt. Ross Fin­layson Bounty Hunter (Aus­tralia)

The Smash Bait from Aloha Lures is the one to pull for big fish. Used as a bridge teaser or hook bait, the Smash’s as­sertive bevel gives it a tu­mul­tuous in-wa­ter pre­sen­ta­tion. “This one is a freak for get­ting bites,” says Fin­layson, who adds that both black and blue marlin love it. Run­ning it in any po­si­tion, Fin­layson has brought sev­eral near­granders to the leader us­ing a blue­and-green-skirted Smash Bait.


Capt. Bull Tol­son, Sea Toy

(Ore­gon In­let, North Carolina)

The Dark-N-Stormy is a dou­ble-ta­pered plunger with re­al­is­tic taxi­dermy-style eyes. Al­though he is a huge Joe Yee fan, Tol­son quickly names the Dark-N-Stormy in black, pur­ple and pink as his next fa­vorite lure. Fished from the long rigger with a dou­ble hook-set, it is a deadly weapon in Sea Toy’s Ber­muda spread.


Capt. Lau­rie Wright, Aus­tralian Fish­ing Ex­pe­di­tions (Aus­tralia) The Mosquito packs a big punch in a small foot­print. Tiny by big-gamelure stan­dards, it is easy for a fish to home in on, which is a handy trait when tar­get­ing small blue marlin. When Wright was fish­ing in the Na­tional Game Fish­ing Ti­tles in Pa­pua New Guinea, the smaller class of marlin called for a more diminu­tive lure. Evil An­gel is his pre­ferred color pat­tern.


Capt. Chris Donato, Bench­mark (Kona, Hawaii)

Blue Break­fast is just what the name im­plies: a break­fast snack for a blue marlin. Run­ning from the short or long corner, this lure pro­duces 90 per­cent of Donato’s big-fish bites. He rigs it with a sin­gle hook pinned down to elim­i­nate some of the bill-wrap­ping that comes with such an ac­tive lure. A Blue Break­fast was re­spon­si­ble for a 1,025-pound blue marlin he caught from amid a school of tuna the fish was feed­ing on. Donato’s fa­vorite skirt color is pink-and-yel­low rain­bow un­der black.


Capt. Skip­per Gen­try, Carolina Gen­tle­man (Ba­hamas)

Able to run well in any po­si­tion, in any sea, and at any speed, this lure from Pakula is a sure bet. Gen­try likes to run his sin­gle-hook-rigged Sprock­ets from the short rigger. Chug­ging be­hind the right flat and a bridge teaser, plenty of blue marlin — from North Carolina and the Ba­hamas to Aus­tralia — con­sis­tently pad­dle in but rarely fade off. He re­lies on the green-lumo color pat­tern to pro­duce bites.


Capt. Fin Gaddy, Qual­i­fier (Ore­gon In­let, North Carolina)

Rigged with a 9/0 or 10/0 South­ern-style tuna hook, the Trojan is per­fect for blue marlin in the 100- to 300-pound­class range, as well as gaffer-size dol­phin and big wa­hoo. The lure also swims well at slower speeds, al­low­ing you to cap­i­tal­ize on a picky blue that turns down a nat­u­ral bait. Gaddy says the Trojan, fished from the short rigger or short shot­gun po­si­tions, has a bet­ter hookup per­cent­age on the smaller class of blue marlin he sees on the East Coast. The yel­lowfin color pat­tern gets the nod on most days.

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