Marlin is the largest and probably the most sought after game-fish here in Costa Rica. Those lucky enough to fight and land a Marlin whether it is Blue, Striped or Black will be able to tell a story worth listening to and be able to cross that off the Bucket List. Known for its strength and acrobatic jumps, a marlin fight can last for hours. Blue marlin are the most common of all marlin found in Costa Rica’s waters, though black marlin and even the occasional striped marlin are hooked often enough. While normally in the 200-500 lb range, several have been lucky enough to fight marlin over 800 lbs.
DESCRIPTION: The most obvious feature of all marlin is their upper jaw, which is elongated into a spear shaped point. Their dorsal fin is pointed near the head before tapering off, along with the pectoral and anal fins. They have no spots on their fins or backs. Blue Marlin is easily distinguishable by their bright royal or cobalt blue coloring on top with silver sides and a white underbelly. Black Marlin is easily identified by their rigid pectoral fins, which unlike blue and striped marlin cannot be folded flat against their own bodies.
FEEDING HABITS: Marlin typically feed on squid, small tuna, dorado and various other pelagic species. They use their elongated upper jaws to stun their prey, not spear it, by whipping their bodies with incredible speed and power. Once the fish is stunned or killed by the initial blow the marlin feed at their leisure.
SIZE: The average size of blue marlin is 150-500 lbs, while black marlins are typically bigger. In both species, females are larger and it is rare to find a male over 300 lbs. The IGFA record for blue marlin is 1,376 lbs caught in 1982 in Hawaii, while the black marlin record is 1,560 lbs caught in 1953 off the coast of Peru.
WHERE FOUND IN COSTA RICA: Marlin is found all along the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. They are a pelagic and migratory species which means they live near the surface in deep, off-shore waters. They typically are found in warmer tropical waters between 70-85 degrees, which Costa Rica has year round. To reach them, you will typically have to make a run out to the continental shelf, which can take 30 minutes to an hour depending on where your departure point is.
BEST MONTHS: They can be and have been caught year round in Costa Rica. Typically the best months for blue marlin in the Southern and Central Pacific regions of Costa Rica (Jaco, Manuel Antonio, & Osa Peninsula) are November through January. Most years there is usually a ‘second run’ of marlin around June and July. They are also found in the northwestern part of Costa Rica from May to September when the bite then moves north along the coast with the drier weather and warmer waters.