Marlin Magazine: 35 Covers for 35 Years

Follow the magazine's visual evolution that includes more than three decades of international offshore fishing coverage

To celebrate the 35th anniversary of Marlin, the editors of the international big-game fishing publication compiled a gallery of 35 covers spanning its rich history. Since starting as a quarterly publication in April 1982, launched by Bill McLellan and Lee Stevens, the magazine has built and maintained its standing as a prestigious voice within the global offshore fishing community.

Starting with the Winter 1983 edition, this gallery provides a look at the outstanding photography consistently on display with each issue. The magazine switched from a quarterly issue to a bi-monthly publication in the mid-1980s. In 2005, Marlin changed to the eight-issues-per-year format that continues today with editor in chief Andrew Cox. As the format changed, so did the photography style. The July 2003 issue was the first digital photo used on a Marlin cover.

The magazine has a tradition of celebrating landmark anniversaries, with the January 1992 issue acknowledging 10 years of Marlin. Soon after, World Publications bought the magazine from EBSCO Industries.

A copy of the inaugural April 1982 edition was not available in the Marlin archives. However, starting with the Winter 1983 issue and all the way to the 35th anniversary celebration for the October 2016 issue, we can see how Marlin has evolved for its loyal readers while continuing to provide the same high-quality content that offshore fishing enthusiasts have come to love.

Enjoy our look back through the past of Marlin with these 35 covers celebrating the last 35 years. All captions are as they were originally published in the "On the Cover" or "Cover Photo" section, located in each issue's table of contents.

Winter 1983: There was not a description of the cover photo in this print issue.Marlin Magazine archives
Spring 1984: "Original Oil Painting" by John Carroll Doyle.Marlin Magazine archives
Spring 1985: Debbie Combs, a member of the C&H fishing team, prepares to subdue a blue marlin that gobbled up a Super Stubby lure behind the Shark Bait. The photo was supplied by Debbie's husband, Don, who is one of the developers of C&H Lures.Marlin Magazine archives
June/July 1986: Charleston artist John Carroll Doyle's painting, "Checking the Competition," depicts a familiar scene on the water as one tournament boat takes a look at a marlin being brought aboard by a friendly adversary.Marlin Magazine archives
February/March 1987: Deborah Reuman, Marlin staff member, fights a black marlin estimated at 400 pounds during an October fishing trip off Linden Bank, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. The marlin, one of four hooked that day, was tagged and released. Reuman was aboard El Zorro Too, tandem fishing boat to the 95-foot El Zorro, which is currently on a two-year, worldwide safari. An update on the El Zorro adventure appeared in Marlin's April/May 1984 issue. Photo by Jim Edminston.Marlin Magazine archives
July 1988: Patti Fairfield graces the bow of the Black Bart, a 42-foot Merritt out of Kona, Hawaii. The boat is flying a Lahiana Yacht Club burgee. Patti, a former resident of Hawaii, is a businesswoman in the cosmetics industry; she now lives in California. Photo copyright 1988 by Rick Gaffney & Associates, Inc.Marlin Magazine archives
March 1989: Perhaps the best way ever to get a tan, especially if you're in sunny Kona, Hawaii. This photo, by photographer/writer Rick Gaffney, was taken on the Black Bart, a 42-foot Merritt.Marlin Magazine archives
January 1990: A small striped marlin moments before it was tagged and released off Cape Brett, New Zealand. Jeff Hayward took this photograph in January 1989, while investigating the turnaround of marlin stocks off the New Zealand coast. Hayward was aboard the Tri-More, a charterboat available through Game Fishing Charters Ltd., Paihia, Bay of Islands.Marlin Magazine archives
May 1991: As the crew readies for the final round, photographer Leslie Davies was there to capture the scene aboard Captain Laurie Wright's Balek III as it fished off the coast of Australia.Marlin Magazine archives
September 1992: Another Toy, a 45 Hatteras owned by Don Marino of Palm Beach, Florida, heads back to the dock on Day One of the Bertram/Hatteras Shootout. Photo by Forest Johnson.Marlin Magazine archives
January 1993: White marlin certainly make up for a lack of size with fantastic aerial displays. Photo by Ken Jones.Marlin Magazine archives
January 1994: "Blue Marlin and Squid" by Don Ray of Sebastian, Florida.Marlin Magazine archives
May 1995: The cover is titled "Fan Dancer," an oil on linen, copyright 1995 by John Carroll Doyle of Charleston, South Carolina.Marlin Magazine archives
July 1996: Blue marlin caught aboard the El Zorro in Saint Martin, French West Indies. Photo by Bernard Dufour.Marlin Magazine archives
January 1997: Collage produced by Tom McGlinchy. Photos included are by Richard Gibson, Scott Kerrigan, Ken Jones and Rick Gaffney.Marlin Magazine archives
November 1998: The ACY 65 Freedom makes 40 knots off the coast of Mexico. Photo by Sam Talbert.Marlin Magazine archives
July 1999: Boats fish the crowded North Drop in pursuit of blue marlin. Photo by Scott Kerrigan.Marlin Magazine archives
January 2000: Atlantic blue marlin caught off Caraballeda, Venezuela. Photo by Richard Gibson.Marlin Magazine archives
January 2001: "A Tribute to Marlin," painted by Guy Harvey to commemorate Marlin's 20th Anniversary.Marlin Magazine archives
March 2002: A black marlin takes one last run before its release off the Great Barrier Reef. Photo by Alistair McGlashan.Marlin Magazine archives
July 2003: A black marlin takes to the air, and Matthew Cust catches it with amazing clarity on his digital camera.Marlin Magazine archives
January 2004: A copy of this issue could not be found in the Marlin archives.Marlin Magazine archives
September 2005: Richard Gibson's quick trigger finger caught this Bahamian blue marlin in midjump.Marlin Magazine archives
February 2006: Marlin U student William "English Bill" Priestley battles a black marlin in Australia. Photo by Dave Ferrell.Marlin Magazine archives
May 2007: A striped marlin makes one last jump in the prop wash before the mate grabs the leader. Photo by David Granville.Marlin Magazine archives
March 2008: No, this photo was not photoshopped. The gull simply tried to grab a snack and almost got skewered. Photo by Scott Kerrigan.Marlin Magazine archives
February 2009: Photographer Doug Perrine scored Marlin's first underwater cover shot with this photo of a striped marlin gorging itself off Cabo.Marlin Magazine archives
February 2010: Nothing looks prettier underwater than a lit-up striped marlin. Photo by Brandon Cole.Marlin Magazine archives
February 2011: It took a team effort to get this amazing photo of the Jarrett Bay Waste Knot. Photo by Marc Montocchio.Marlin Magazine archives
January 2012: Pat Ford shoots another beauty.Marlin Magazine archives
July 2013: David Granville snapped this pretty portrait of a blue marlin.Marlin Magazine archives
May 2014: Dave Ferrell snapped this picture of a blue marlin sticking its head out of the blue waters of the Dominican Republic.Marlin Magazine archives
July 2014: Richard Gibson captured this little blue while fishing on the Hatteras, Blue Bird, at Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic.Marlin Magazine archives
November 2015: Taken at sunset, fishing 100 miles off Costa Rica, this incredible shot catches an airborne blue at the perfect moment. Photo by Adrian E. Gray.Marlin Magazine archives
October 2016: What began as a gigantic baitball off Mexico is reduced to a school of a few hundred by a pack of striped marlin. Photo by Marc Montocchio.Marlin Magazine archives