Re: coming on board
Hey there Brian,
You're certainly fortunate to have a capable fishing platform in what sounds like a decent place to fish. From just starting out to aiming for a marlin in a few weeks is a pretty sharp leaning curve!
Not sure exactly where you are, but a couple of marlin nutters fish in the Manzanillo area (Marko and Pepon). You'll be able to pick up some info from their posts I'm sure, especially Marko - and don't hesitate to contact them directly as they are both decent fellows.
Apart from that, you need to be sure you're fishing where they are. You probably don't need to be moving around at nine knots, and the distance your lures are from the boat isn't really critical: if you are fishing in the right place, ie somewhere other people are catching/hooking them, or you are seeing them yourself finning on the surface or free-jumping, plus or minus one knot of speed or whether you're trolling on one engine or not probably won't make a difference when they are in hunting mode. Concentrate on figuring out the right area and staying on it till it's bite time.
ps. I never fished your exact area of the Pacific but it does seem a lot of marlin in your area are sighted on the surface or by other visual signs (birds etc) and by casting live bait so a pair of good binoculars might really help (and will certainly help finding tuna and dorado). There is some info on bait casting in the archives including from Dave Brackmann who was one of the team that caught 170+ striped marlin in a single day pitching livebaits. Happy reading!