Since the early 20th century, fishing for marlin has captured the hearts and souls of sports fishermen all around the world from famed angler Zane Grey, who fished for blue, black, and striped marlin in the Pacific Ocean, to American author Ernest Hemingway, who made his way towards Cuba and the Bahamas to scour for Atlantic white and blue marlin—he even wrote extensively about his travels, often considering the sport to be the pinnacle of offshore fishing, due to the power and elusiveness of these magnificently large Big Game fish.
With a firm, half-ton body, strong bill, and dictatorial attitude, it’s safe to say that if you have ever fished for a Marlin, you’d know all too well that this isn’t any sort of child’s play. There are awfully long hours of aching muscles and labored breathing when hauling in these boisterous babies. But once you hook yourself onto one of these treasures, the pain will all be worth it— especially if you happen to be doing the sport in an awesome travel destination! Strewn all across the globe, there are plenty of amazing spots to go about pursuing that giant quarry you want so badly. Here are the six best places in the world to catch marlin. Go get em’ fishes.
Best Places To Catch Marlin In The World
1. Cairns, Australia
With over eight hundred grandeur Marlin to have been caught since the 1960s, this one Down Under is officially one of the best places in the world for bill fishing, especially in chillier months between September and January. Its unique location on the Great Barrier Reef (dozens of miles from the continental shelf) makes this tourist town the ideal breeding ground for giant Black Marlins (a.k.a the ‘Black gold’). There are also a host of high-quality charters available for hire from Cairns and nearby Port Douglas to take you to your selected offshore fishing grounds. Plus, if you’re looking to indulge yourself in something a little less fishy, why not explore all the UNESCO world heritage rainforests surrounding Cairns, or those tropical white sand beaches, which just so happen to be everywhere?! You might even want to do some world-class scuba diving around the Great Barrier Reef. Yes please.
2. Kona, Hawaii
It’s the best spot in the world to land those mighty Pacific Blues, and has been, since the sixties, a highly popular coastal region where anglers have been able to land more than eighty Blue Marlins weighing over 450 kg. These numbers don’t even take into account any Marlin that might have been released! The stretches and stretches of white sand beaches in Kona are ideal for Marlin hunting any time of the year-- though it has been said that it is during those warmer months from April to September, that the largest Hawaiian fish can be found. So grab those reels come summertime and head on over to the Big Island.
3. Madeira, Portugal
Though the peak seasons for Blue Marlins continue to change on a yearly basis on this Portuguese island, it truly is one of the most promising spots in the Northern Atlantic Ocean to catch some of those ‘ocean gar.’ Most charter Captains who have fished these cold waters have claimed to have caught a thousand pound Marlin out of every ten they haul in! The best months to go about Marlin fishing in Madeira tend to be May to August, though good Marlin seasons have also crept into the month of September over the years. Just make sure to hire that charter boat after having verified the current fishing season. Then sit right, get ready, and set forth on your great Moby Dick inspired journey.
4. San Juan, Puerto Rico
Just a short couple hour hop from most eastern U.S. cities, this American territory in the Caribbean hosts some of the greatest blue marlin bite each summer, especially from June to October. Since it lies at the other end of the Puerto Rican Trench (just some sixty or so miles from St. Thomas), there’s not only some seriously deep waters, but also a booming Blue Marlin population. The great Blues in this hotspot often reaching epic proportions size-wise, especially with The San Juan International Billfish Tournament that runs in town every August-- it’s the longest continually running billfish tournament in the world and holds the record for the most blue marlin caught in a four-day tournament!
So experience one of the best deals in all of sport fishing in Puerto Rico, where you can fish by day with great crews, and enjoy gratis food and cocktails at night alongside a stunningly full summer moon. You’re even likely to score at least three or four blue marlin during this exotic island trip— and you don't even need a passport to do it! Plus, there’s always an abundance of charter operators to choose from in town. What more could you ask for?
5. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Fishing tournaments, charter captains, and famous fishing spots-- you name it, Cabo’s got it. In fact, there are more marlin caught per hour in this year round sport fishery at the southern tip of Baja California than at anywhere else in the world. No lie! So it’s not a bit surprising that in less than twenty years, this once-sleepy fishing village has transformed not only into a huge spring break destination, but one of the best places to go bill fishing as well— thanks to all those famed worldwide anglers who flock here year after year.
In these deep blue Pacific waters, striped Marlins are readily abundant during the months from September to March, while Blue or Black Marlins swim freely about the ocean waves from June to October. This Mexican island getaway is also just great if you’re looking to hook into some dorado, wahoo, yellowfin tuna, yellowtail, sailfish, mako, or even a couple of hammerhead sharks. Plus, with the best weather you could ever hope for almost all the time, Cabo is the place to go for self-proclaimed fishing aficionados. What’s more is that along with those stunning beaches, there are plenty of restaurants, golf courses, and nightlife options to choose from as well. It’s safe to say that once you get your first taste of what this fishery has to offer, you’ll be coming back again and again for so much more!
6. Los Suenos, Costa Rica
Over the past several years, this Central American country has set aside almost twenty percent of its land to form national parks and protected areas for visitors to enjoy everything from zipping through the jungle on elevated cables to hiking at the foots of some overly active volcanoes. Needless to say, Costa Rica has recently exploded as a must-visit eco-tourism hot spot—and as far as fishing goes, it ain't half bad either!
Humongous Marlin can be found from all along the southern part in the Golfito area all the way up to the North and Central Pacific Coasts. Los Sueños is one of the top places to start at, with Black marlin popping in and around the waters during April and May, and smaller striped marlin available to be caught all year-round. Plus, it’s also just a speedy flight from most southern U.S. cities, so you’re bound to find some of the world's best light-tackle action with ease and utter convenience. Just think: massive numbers of jumbo Pacific sailfish as well as swarms of marlin that move in and feed during Costa Rica's dry seasons. Sounds like a fisherman’s dream. So the next time you want to pursue that grand slam, waddle on over to this premier coastal favorite – where most anglers fish with 20- to 30-pound tackles while pitching ballyhoo to fish raised on the teasers. There really is no more exciting way to fish for blues, blacks, stripes, or sails, than at this deep fishing space.
What’s more is that Costa Rica doubles as a great vacation spot, with about a million and one things to do besides fishing: Rise with the sun while billfishing in the morning, then roar through jungles of lush rainforest in a 4x4 before lunch. Cap off the day by dancing amidst a crazy nightlife scene at places like Los Suenos and Tamarindo. It’s the ultimate luxury-resort-style-marine-expedition featuring the most massive of billfish bite, as well as dozens of excellent big game charters to pick and choose from. Score.
This article was written by Pamela Chan.