Top 10 Longest Marlin Migrations
Take a look back at the Top 10 Longest Marlin Migrations of all time, compiled by The Billfish Foundation. Since 1990, TBF’s tagging program has served as the cornerstone of its conservation work around the world, providing much of what is known about billfish migratory patterns, growth rates and life histories. While traditional tags do not provide daily tracking of a fish, they do provide tag and recapture locations to give insights into its range and migratory paths. You will be amazed at how far these fish swim.
Evan Nichols tagged an estimated 48-inch white marlin off Marsh Harbor, Bahamas, in March of 1995 with Capt. Robert Mathews. In August of 1996 it was recaptured 3,300 miles away off the southern tip of Portugal by Mike Laufle. At large for 574 days, the white measured 57 inches when it was recaptured.
Peter Farley tagged an estimated 400-pound blue marlin off St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, in June 1997. At large for 275 days, this blue was recaptured 3,510 miles away, off the coast of French Guiana, in March 1998 after transiting the Atlantic. The blue was recaptured by Mark Harris and had gained nearly 100 pounds.
Kevin Nakamaru tagged an estimated 30-pound spearfish off Kona, Hawaii, on Feb. 4, 2004. After traveling west for 199 days, the spearfish was recaptured 3,566 miles away, at the Nadezhda Basin near Japan.
A striped marlin caught on Sept. 12, 2003, off the coast of Kona, Hawaii, by Warren Keinath was at large for 41 days and traveled 3,654 miles from where it was tagged before being recaptured in the Northern Marina Islands.
During the Caribbean International Game Fishing Tournament, angler Stoo Williamson and Capt. Gerard “Frothy” de Silva successfully tagged and released a 70-pound blue marlin while fishing off Tobago in the Lesser Antilles. Crossing the Atlantic Ocean to West Africa off Cote d’Ivoire, the blue was recaptured on May 27, 2001, off Abidjan by Capt. Pierre Glerean and angler Fabrice Duhal. The blue traveled 3,886 miles in 409 days.
During the Martinique Billfish Tournament, angler Bertrand Lacotte tagged a white marlin off the coast of Martinique, French West Indies. After only 80 days, the same marlin was recaptured near Togo, West Africa, 4,046 miles away.
Capt. G. J. Sacco was fishing off of the East Cape of Baja California when he tagged and released a blue marlin estimated to weigh 210 pounds. Amazingly, this blue marlin was recaptured by Capt. Yukiyoshi Higashi in the middle of the Pacific, near the Midway Islands, over a year later, 4,106 miles away.
Capt. Frank Branch and angler Arthur Herbert caught and tagged a blue marlin on Aug. 15, 1995, near St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, that remained at large for a whopping 1,184 days. It traveled 4,188 miles from where it was originally tagged before it was recaptured near the waters of Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, by Capt. Tom Henry.
On Sept. 9, 1997, angler Elain Brown caught a fish with Capt. Bobby Brown in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. On June 25, 2000, after 2.8 years, the blue marlin was recaptured 4,197.8 miles away in the Gulf of Guinea, near Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
This tag goes back 24 years in The Billfish Foundation record books. Capt. Charles Cabell and angler Lisa Hawkins tagged a nice blue marlin off Oregon Inlet, North Carolina, on June 29, 1991. This blue swam 6,614.1 miles over the course of 587 days and was recaptured off Angola, Africa, on Feb. 5, 1993, by Capt. Dietmann Kossmann.
To learn more about TBF’s tagging program, visit its Tag and Release Online Database, which houses everything you would want to know about its tagging program and the fish tagged during the past 25 years.