Marlin Fishing - Is it better in the Atlantic or the Pacific?

Good question isn't it?

Marlin in Atlantic fishing waters

Marlin fishing is great in only a few spots around the world. I guess I have been lucky to have experienced it in some of these spots. So I can only compare what I know of Atlantic fishing with Pacific fishing.

Since I was very young, I have dreamed day after day about being on the ocean looking for the biggest fish possible. I took every moment available, to go deep-sea fishing. I fished in the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Barbados, Curacao, the British Virgin Islands, Anegada, St.Thomas U.S.V.I, Saba, Statia, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Martin/St. Maarten and Anguilla. In the Pacific, I have fished the bay of Chiriqui in Panama and since then, I don't really care to go anywhere else ! Black marlin fishing in the Pacific

Atlantic Fishing

Getting back to comparisons. On an average day of Atlantic fishing, the seas are between 3-6 feet. This is average. There were a few times when the seas were flat and frequent times when they were well over 6 ft, sometimes reaching 12-15 feet. Atlantic fishing is much rougher than Pacific fishing. I've been through many fishing tournaments when the seas were raging and wild. But a true fisherman could care less, right?

In the Bahamas, I never made it to Walker's Cay. However, I did have several hookups between Long Island, Mayaguana, and Turks and Caicos. The Puerto Rican trench and the North Drop off British and US Virgin Islands produced some of the best marlin fishing I have experienced. I would have to say that these areas are probably the best for blue marlin fishing, in the Caribbean.

Atlantic fishing is not as easy and bait isn't as plentiful. Most boats use outriggers with about 4-6 lines in the water. Fisherman use large lures with skirts and ballyhoo. The ballyhoo used for Atlantic fishing is usually frozen. Some fishermen will use salt or preserve it with formaldehyde. This will allow for longer trolling periods in the water.

Pacific Fishing

Pacific fishing is so different. In Panama, you rarely see outriggers being used. You don't need to bring bait with you. You just catch with simple lures, almost within minutes! Once you've got a few bait fish (e.g. 8-10# bonito or skip jack), you're off and running to go for the big stuff.

Pacific fishing techniques also include the use of tuna tubes. These are a must for any Pacific marlin fishing trip. They aren't used on the Atlantic side and it is a bit of a mystery, why not. Maybe because there isn't as many bait fish.

So, when you catch your bait, you simply put them into the tuna tube to keep them alive. When you need it, you bait it up and WHAM, the marlin attacks! Usually, it is a black marlin but sometimes it can be a blue. The ratio is usually 3 blacks to 1 blue. Compare descriptions of the different billfish in the Pacific.

Lures are used for Pacific fishing (as Atlantic) but the live bait technique using tuna tubes, is preferred.

The Pacific seas are much calmer and much more comfortable at cruising speed, than the Atlantic. That means that it takes less time to get to the fishing grounds. I have yet to see waves that are even close to the Atlantic side.

Which is Better?

The abundance of bait fish in Panama attracts all other species of fish. So fishing is always great. Panamanians usually use 2-4 lines in the water at a time. And,there is rarely a day, that you do not catch fish in Panama....unlike the Atlantic.

This is why I chose to fish in Panama. It's a great place to be and a great place to be charter fishing !

Capt. J

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