|Sport Fishing's Editor in Chief Doug Olander received a first-place award for best fishing article in the Boating Writers International Annual Writing Contest with this feature. Read about it here.|
Batting 1.000. Bowling a 300 game. Running a four-minute mile. Shooting 10 under par. Catching a grander. Every sport has its ultimate goals. Few participants accomplish them - but some try and others dream. Hooking a marlin weighing 1,000 pounds or more undeniably qualifies as one of sport fishing's ultimate goals. And while only a tiny percentage of blue-water anglers ever realize such a feat, it is within reach for those with the time, money and strength to pursue it.
We present here a unique guide to some of the world's top spots for grander marlin for all those who'd like to pledge that oh-so-exclusive fraternity (and sorority) of anglers who know what it's like to feel a half-ton of thundering marlin on a line.
Obviously, marlin are pelagic nomads. That may be particularly true of the huge females that have reached 1,000 pounds or more; their great size makes traveling long distances that much easier. Certainly, recovered tags prove marlin have no trouble crossing entire oceans.
Nevertheless, a handful of areas tend to account for the majority of granders hooked, year in and year out. Some waters may lie in a migratory path for marlin; others may benefit from a submarine topography that promotes upwelling and concentrates prey.
No doubt effort plays a big part in the grander success that some areas seem to offer anglers. That is, some destinations have substantial fleets of charter (and private) boats that work the waters all or most of the year. More lines in the water equal more chances for hookups. It's possible that some great grander grounds may get so little effort that they haven't yet made it onto many anglers' radar screens. Ascension Island came into prominence for its big marlin just within the past three years. But the odds are, in this shrinking world, most fabulous marlin spots have been discovered.
This guide does not pretend to list all the waters in the world where anglers may encounter massive marlin. Nor does it suggest which are best or rate them. It does assess and compare areas that have gained an international reputation. I'm indebted to many top skippers and anglers - world-class, renowned veterans of the big-game scene - who shared with me their most candid and well-considered thoughts.