Billfish Fishing Basics

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Billfish are pelagic and highly migratory fish. They are found in all oceans, although they usually inhabit tropical and subtropical waters.  Swordfish are found in temperate waters as well.

How to Catch Billfish

Most anglers will use live bait such as tuna or mackerel or a variety of trolling lures.

Recommended Tackle

You’re going to need very heavy tackle when fishing for billfish, however, some billfish are bigger than others.  When fishing for large billfish, you need to account for the fact that if you go too light, you may end up killing the fish by stressing it out over a very long fight.


20 to 30 pound line

White Marlin

20 to 40 pound line will be fine for most fish.

Striped Marlin

40 – 80 pound line

Blue Marlin & Black Marlin

100 – 200 pound line
There are some huge marlin out there.  If you are fishing for the biggest marlin in the sea, you may want to go very heavy.  You never know if you’re going to get a monster or not.

Eating Billfish

Billfish are primarily marketed in Japan, where they are eaten raw as sashimi. They are marketed fresh, frozen, canned, cooked and smoked. It is not usually a good idea to fry billfish. Swordfish and marlin are best grilled or broiled, or eaten raw as in sashimi.


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