A CHANG­ING WORLD

Marlin - - EDITOR'S LETTER - Sam White Edi­tor-in-Chief

Change is the only con­stant, and so we have only two choices: adapt, or be left be­hind. It wasn’t that long ago that most of us went mar­lin fish­ing with a stack of bal­ly­hoo rigged on nee­dle-eye J hooks and wire lead­ers. That evolved into us­ing short-shank hooks and heavy monofil­a­ment; nowa­days, it’s cir­cle hooks with fluoro­car­bon. And this is just the fish­hook, the most ba­sic part of the equa­tion. There will al­ways be a bet­ter way to do some­thing: a faster boat, more pow­er­ful elec­tron­ics, a more ef­fec­tive dredge or even some­thing as sim­ple as a bet­ter hook. We have to stay on the lead­ing wave of change, not clam­or­ing for the lat­est fad but iden­ti­fy­ing the truly im­por­tant groundswells and jump­ing on for the ride. Oth­er­wise, one day you’ll find your­self dead in the wa­ter as the world passes you by in a blur of color and mo­tion. Change is con­stant.

A few months ago, I was talk­ing with a good friend of mine from North Car­olina about the ter­rific blue mar­lin fish­ing on the seamounts in Costa Rica. He thought­fully re­marked that the best days are hap­pen­ing right now. That fish­ery is at its peak, and un­for­tu­nately, the only di­rec­tion it can go is down. And he’s cor­rect. Why? The an­swers are nu­mer­ous, from in­creased recre­ational-fish­ing pres­sure (yes, as recre­ational an­glers, we do have an im­pact on the fish­ery) to longlin­ing ef­forts, purse-sein­ing and a host of other threats. But wait, you cry, we’re us­ing cir­cle hooks and re­leas­ing all of our mar­lin! What about the ones that are be­ing caught on live bait that come up smoke­bomb­ing blood from a hook in the gills? Even if it just hap­pens a few times a day, mul­ti­ply that by the num­ber of other recre­ational boats out there fish­ing for days at a time and it ab­so­lutely does add up. We need to change that.

While there’s no way to fish for mar­lin and sail­fish with­out caus­ing at least some harm from time to time, us­ing dead bait is a pretty good start. The fish don’t wolf them down like a gum­drop-size live tuna, and be­sides, the bite is the best part any­way. I’d much rather spend the day trolling to see a fired-up blue crash the teasers than do­ing end­less slow cir­cles wait­ing for an un­seen bite. So here’s one pos­si­ble so­lu­tion: Do away with live bait in the off­shore seamount mar­lin fish­ery. Make it all dead bait and trolling only. It worked in Isla Mu­jeres more than 25 years ago, and it would work in Costa Rica to­day. The num­bers will re­main con­sis­tent, and it’s a long-term an­swer for the over­all health of a boom­ing fish­ery.

At Mar­lin, we will al­ways be an ad­vo­cate for healthy fish­eries, and healthy an­glers. In this is­sue, Heather Maxwell takes us on a tour of the many ladies-only bill­fish tour­na­ments out there. If you’re look­ing for a re­ally fun tour­na­ment to fish this sum­mer, these are a great place to start. The char­i­ties they fund are in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant, both na­tion­ally and in their lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties. Be­sides, you re­ally haven’t lived un­til you’ve seen 500 women in out­landishly orig­i­nal cos­tumes en­joy­ing a full open bar for a few hours. These events are a great way not only to join the fight against can­cer but have a great time along the way. In any form, can­cer is a ter­ri­ble dis­ease, but to­gether, we can beat it. That change is com­ing as well.

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