A marlin is a fish from the family Istiophoridae, which includes about 10 species. It has an elongated body, a spear-like snout or bill, and a long, rigiddorsal fin which extends forward to form a crest. Its common name is thought to derive from its resemblance to a sailor’s marlinspike. Even more so than their close relatives, the scombrids, marlins are fast swimmers, reaching speeds of about 80 km/h (50 mph).
Coloration varies a great deal. Most common phase is dark blue, almost black on the dorsal surface, shading to whitish. Usually, several vertical stripes are noticeable. Early in the 20th century, these variations led anglers to believe several species were involved. Science eventually determined that the Black and Striped Marlins are strictly Pacific species and that a Silver Marlin is non-existent. The Blue, however, is found in both hemispheres. The feature that distinguishes the Blue from others is the pointed dorsal fin that curves sharply downward. The anal fin and pectoral fins also are pointed.
HABITAT: A free-roamer that is best fished where bait is most plentiful—along weed-lines; around schools of small tuna and other pelagic bait fishes; in areas where seamounts or other sub- surface structure creates upswellings and current; sharp bottom contours; temperature changes.
FOOD VALUE: Good, but normally released by sportsmen; protected from sale in North Atlantic.
GAME QUALITIES: Best of all for speed, power and jumping ability.
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