Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur (MX)
Striped marlin (Kajikia audax) can be told apart from blue marlin due to their “stripes” of blue that run vertically down their bodies. Striped marlin is lighter than blue marlin, but their body shape and even colouring remains the same aside from the stripes. Striped marlin features a blue upper body and a white or silver lower body.
They are a highly migratory species and can travel long distances. They live up to 20 years and stick to water that is 20 to 25 degrees Celsius. They use their bills to charge through large schools of baitfish and then target any of those baitfish injured or stunned by their bills. They feed on mackerel, sardines, anchovies and more.
Striped marlin is usually found near the surface of the water. They’re found in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. They make their way toward the equator around winter and further from the equator during summer.
They weight 250-450 pounds and grow up to 14 feet in length. They are known to spawn in the central Pacific and near central Mexico. After birth, young striped marlin moves toward the Mexican shore and can be found in dense populations near the Baja Peninsula. Striped marlin can withstand colder water temperature ranges compared to other marlin species, which makes for their large travel range. Striped marlin attack baitfish in more of a group than other marlin species. This is because they’re smaller in size and they make up for this lack of size with numbers. The striped marlin utilizes their shape, lightweight, and narrow-body to be the third fastest fish in the world, swimming at up to 80 kilometres per hour, only behind its cousin, the black marlin, and sailfish.
Striped marlin has the largest range of all the billfish. They can be found from the west coast of the U.S., south to Mexico and South America, to Africa and New Zealand in the east. New Zealand is known to be the place to catch the largest striped marlin, although they can be caught in any of these locations and the places in between. With their spawning habits making the Baja Peninsula a special place for striped marlin, Cabo San Lucas is one of the best spots to catch striped marlin as well. The best times to fish for them in Cabo is February through August, although they’re there all year. The Galapagos Islands are also known for being an exceptional spot to catch a striped marlin.
Fishing for striped marlin requires 30-class reels and 50-pound test line with 100-pound leaders. Live bait can be trolled at slower speeds to catch striped marlin, and the recommended hook size for fishing with live bait is 7/0 to 9/0 circle hooks. You can sometimes spot striped marlin cutting through the surface of the water with their bill or dorsal fin. Mackerel is the preferred live bait for striped marlin, although you should check with your local bait store to see what works best in your area.
Lures are also an option for striped marlin and can be trolled faster than live bait. Use skirted lures between half a foot and a foot long with orange, brown or black skirts. Using lighter tackle when fishing for striped marlin can also keep them from diving deep early in the fight, allowing you to land them quicker if you handle it right.
Striped marlin are considered the best of the marlin variety to eat. They are popular in Japan to be used for sashimi. As with all billfish, they do have elevated levels of mercury so be careful to eat striped marlin in moderation. It’s known to be a great fish to eat smoked.
In Cabo San Lucas, there is a limit of 1 marlin kept per day.
Many locations require records of marlin catches.
The Fiordland Marine Area in New Zealand limits one marlin kept per day.
Regulations vary by location, so make sure to stay up to date with the regulations in your area of fishing if you plan on fishing without a charter.