How to Catch a Marlin on a Fly Rod

The waters surrounding St. Thomas are home to some of the finest Blue Marlin fishing in the world during the summer months. If you’ve always wanted to how to catch a Marlin on a fly rod, there’s no better place to give it a try. So exactly how does one go about trying catching a Marlin on a fly?

Rods –
First you will need a 9 foot, 15 weight fly rod which should provide sufficient backbone for handling a Marlin up to about 250lbs. If you should be lucky enough to hook and land a fish larger than 288 lbs on a 20 lb tippet you’ll be the new world record holder.

Reels and Fly Lines – Get the largest fly reel you can find, since the yards of backing it can hold is the real secret to putting a Marlin the boat. Scientific Anglers now makes a gel spun super braid backing for fly reels that is 50# test and very small diameter. This is perhaps the best backing ever made for Marling fishing. It is high visibility yellow and has almost no stretch allowing you to put maximum pressure on the fish. Most often you will be making a fairly short cast, so the best fly line is the first 40 feet of a weight forward 12wt fly line.This is the section of the line that contains the large shooting taper and is the heaviest part of the line. This gives you plenty of line to drive the fly and it allows you to get the maximum amount of backing on the reel.

Flies – One of the best flies for Marlin is a tube fly. These flies are tied on a hollow tube so you can rig them with the leader and hook size that best fits the conditions you’re fishing. They also allow you to use a hook that can stand up to the tremendous power of a really hot Marlin. Tube Poppers and conventional blue water flies also work well.

Presentation – Here’s where the skill of the captain and crew of the come into the equation. Once the tackle is in order, the next step is to find the Marlin and lure them in close to the boat so that the angler can show them the fly. Artificial lures made of acrylic and plastic (the same kind used when fishing for marlin with conventional tackle) are rigged without hooks. Rods and reels in the 30 lb class are used to troll these lures and raise the billfish. When used in this way, the lures are called teasers. Their function is to attract the marlin’s attention and get him into a feeding mood. The teasers are deployed 40 or 60 feet behind the boat, where the crew can keep an eye on them. When a marlin comes up behind one of the teasers, the others are immediately pulled from the water. The one teaser that remains in the water becomes the sole target of the marlin’s attack. The marlin slaps at the lure and tries to grab it, but the teaser man doesn’t allow this to happen, always keeping the lure just out of the fish’s reach. The marlin follows the lure up close to the transom and, on a predetermined signal, the helmsman takes the boat out of gear, the teaser is yanked out of the water and the angler casts the fly. If all goes according to plan, the fired-up marlin grabs the fly and the fun begins.

Where To Begin – If what you’ve just read has you all pumped up to go out and give it a try, I suggest that you contact the experts at Neptune Fishing in St. Thomas. You won’t find a more knowledgeable staff anywhere when it comes to blue water fishing. You can reach them at 340 -775-0115.

Many of you have suggested that I give the Marlin on a fly deal a try this year. When I have a break in my charter schedule I will spend a few days out on the blue water with different captains and give you a full report on the action this fall in Flat Our Fishing!