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Billfish Information

”Billfish,” or saltwater giants identifiable by their pronounced bills, are prominently featured in our culture; from the Miami Marlins baseball team to Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea,” billfish have achieved a sort of celebrity status in the public’s eye. This is for good reason, as these fish are among the most majestic and powerful to patrol the ocean depths. Billfish include Marlins and Sailfish, whose deep blue bodies can exceed 10 feet in length. In fact, the largest recorded marlin to be caught was a whopping 16 feet long and weighed over 1,300 pounds! So, it is easy to see why Billfish are an absolute trophy species to catch on a fishing pole. Keep reading on to find out more information about these majestic giants of the depths!

Why Anglers Love Billfish

There are few fishing experiences that match anglers with the kind of raw power that billfish possess. While there is a large diversity of the fish that fall within the Billfish category, the common denominator is a long bill and crazy strength. Billfish are thought to have originated over 70 million years ago and are apex predators, feeding predatorily on smaller fish and crustaceans. They use the bill on the front of their bodies to stab at schools of small fish, subsequently feeding on the fish that they connect with.

Marlin have even been known to throw fish into the air and stab them with their bills, although this is very rare behavior. These fish will also use their bills as defense against their predators, and Great White Sharks have been recorded to swim around with bills impaled in them. Billfish are migratory, and have been found in every ocean in the world; that being said, they do prefer tropical and subtropical waters, with anglers usually fishing for them in the waters off of Cuba and the surrounding area. Billfish are consumed by humans in many parts of the world, and as commercial fishing for them has skyrocketed since 2000, they are much rarer than they once were in many waterways. To recreationally fish for billfish, a large boat is usually required since these fish live 60 miles or more off land.

The best place to catch these fish are where large ocean shelves drop down; in these areas, anglers will drop long rigs past these shelves. When a billfish is hooked, the fight can last for hours, as hauling over a thousand pounds of pure strength is one of the most challenging feats in fishing. It is clear, then, why billfish are so highly sought after by the angling community. When you do hook into a massive marlin or a beautiful sailfish, make sure to watch out when removing the hook; anglers have been known to be struck by flailing bills! Don’t let that scare you off, though, because there are few experiences as exhilarating as fighting these true giants of the ocean. Tight lines!