White Marlin

NICKNAME: Skilligalee
COMMON WEIGHT: 100 – 140 lbs​
MAX LENGTH: 8 – 9 ft
MAX WEIGHT: 160 – 180 lbs​
WORLD RECORD: 181 lbs, 1979, Brazil


White Marlin is a species of billfish that lives in the epipelagic zone of the tropical and subtropical Atlantic Ocean. They are found between the latitudes of 45° N and 45° S in waters deeper than 100 m. Even though white marlin are found in bodies of water that are deeper than 100 m they tend to stay near the surface. White marlin have been found near banks, shoals, and canyons, but they are not limited to those locations. They prefer warm surface temperatures greater than 22 °C. Whote Marlin are commonly misidentified as roundscale spearfish. Differentiation between the two species can be done with close external examination. As described in the name, roundscale spearfish have a broadband, round anterior end of their scales. White marlin scales are more rigid and rounded on the posterior region of the scale.​


White marlin fishing is a multimillion-dollar organization in well-developed countries. Restrictions are in place to limit the size of fish that can be taken, but the angling process can be devastating to fish. The time spent on the hook, outside handling, dehooking, and releasing a white marlin exhaust enough energy that up to 32% of the time, the marlin cannot maintain buoyancy in the water. When fishing for any billfish, use of a circle hook, which can be dehooked more quickly than other hooks, is recommended. In the U.S. Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean waters, the fish is required by federal regulations to be kept in the water, boatside, to maximize its chances of surviving after release. Research indicates that removing a billfish from the water may increase their risk of death after release by ~30 percent.