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Marlin Tutorial


So You Wanna Be A Marlin Fisherman, My Son? *


(Editor's Note: A blast from SCMO's past, this is the first piece ever written for the site. It finds a new home as part of our Marlin Tutorial)


The first thing I'd have to say is ... are you sure? Fishing for marlin can be a frustrating pastime ... days of boredom punctuated by minutes of pleasure and seconds of terror. And it is addicting ... suddenly you find there's no time for anything else in your life ... even work ... :-) But if you're sure it's what you want to do, here's a couple of things you'll need to be a successful marlin fisherman:


Not necessarily your own, but someone's money. Even at its most stripped-down, marlin fishing is expensive. Unless you're lucky enough to live in a fishing ground (as I do in Southern California), plan on flying before fishing. Cabo, Hawaii, Australia, ... call your travel agent. Even if you don't have to travel, you still have to get offshore. I'm not aware of any significant pier or surf fishery for marlin, so you'll need a boat. They start at around one-hundred grand, and go up from there - fast! Fuel's not cheap either (see 'Dope', below). Then there's the equipment ... figure at least $500 a pole for four trolling rods and a couple of bait outfits. And that's for light stand up tackle!!


Most people who haven't fished marlin assume it's very exciting. And it is ... when you have a fish on. During those moments, it is the most intense action you'll ever see. But that is a small percentage of the time spent on the water. Even if you discount the time spent enjoying the sea breeze, the birds, and the dolphins, most of the time is spent just driving ... and driving ... and driving. Not exciting at all, and taxing on even the most patient individual. But the boredom ends when the reel screams and your heart go from 0 to 60 in two beats.


Lombardi said luck is where preparation meets opportunity. Vince must have fished marlin. Sure, some fish are caught by randomly trolling unknown waters (AFJF - if you don't know, don't ask) ... but what separates the successful fishermen from the rest is actively finding their own fish. Spending time "in the glasses" (scanning the waters with binoculars) looking for fins, birds or current breaks is the mark of a pro. Few fish are found by mattress surfers (and I should know!).


Not drugs ... information. It's a mighty big ocean out there, and marlin are a migratory species. Let's see ... a thousand square miles of ocean covered at 8 knots consuming 4 gallons of fuel per hour ... you do the math. Your fishing experience will be a whole lot better if you know where to go. You've never heard jungle drums beat as loud as the phones ringing Sunday night when everyone compares notes on their weekend trips. Of course, there is pecking order to be followed. Expect to spend a few seasons on your own, trying to steer clear of the "suction pumps". Joining a fishing club such as the BAC or Pescys is a good way to move up the order.


Let's face it ... we're not fishing for minnows here. We're after the toughest fish in the sea. When you have a big marlin on and realize that there's a good chance it'll kick your butt and not the other way around, you have to wonder who is angling who. Somehow, a different attitude is required. Some folks are born with it, but anyone can develop the right marlin attitude with a little help and hard work. Let's start with music. Most fisherman go with the safe choice ... Jimmy Buffett. Now I'm as big a parrothead as the next man, but it's too laid back for marlin. You need something with attitude ... something with boots ... something like Brooks and Dunn. Sports? Don't even mention football. Brute strength and no brains ... perfectly suited for tuna. But we're marlin fishing here, so the sport of choice is baseball. Why? Strategy and patience. Besides ... you can root for the Florida Marlins ... Marlins, get it? Humor is very important too ... you need to be able to laugh after you lose the big one ... and realize you also lost the outfit you tossed into the water when you nearly got spooled earlier. The Aussies have the perfect sense of humor for marlin ... big and bold. Nuthin' subtle 'ere, mate! Now for your homework: go to each of the links in this paragraph, absorb the knowledge there and send me a message that demonstrates your new attitude.


Now that you know what it takes, what do you think ... still want to give it a try? Then what are you waiting for ... give me a call and let's go fishing!

* with apologies to the ladies ... after all, some of the most tenacious marlin fishermen I know are women (Jackie ... Kathy ... Dara ...)


Email me your comments on this chapter

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