Washington's First Striped Marlin

Videotaped by:

As seen on: CNN CBS NBC BBC

Skipper Mike Halbert of Issaquah, a retired plumber, and fishing partner Dick Miller of Cle Elum caught a surprise while fishing for tuna on September 3rd, 1997. They landed the first recorded catch off the Washington coast of a striped marlin. They hooked the 104 pound marlin in their 24-foot boat while fishing for tuna 30 miles from Westport. Ninety minutes later they finally landed the 8-foot fish aboard their boat, The Kemika, and headed back to port. Marlin, considered trophy game fish, are usually caught in waters near Mexico and sometimes Southern California, but never this far north. Their hope is to have the fish mounted and returned to the city of Westport as a tourist attraction.

This catch is a graphic example of El Niño (the warming of Pacific waters) and its effect on coastal fisheries. Temperatures have been near 68 degrees off the Washington coast this past summer, at least 6 degrees above normal.

Exclusive video footage is available on Betacam SP, filmed by Videoland Productions. The footage has already been used by CNN, NBC, CBS, BBC London, and many Seattle area affiliates. You'll see the boat as it returns to port, many shots of the Marlin being winched from the boat to the dock, the skipper and friend posing with their prize, and interviews with the fisherman and a State Fisheries Biologist.

For further information, contact Videoland Productions:

PH  (360) 491-1332    Fax  (360) 491-1333    E-mail  Marlin

Video frame grabs. Click on any image for enlargement. All photos ©1997 Videoland Productions

Westport, Washington is located about 80 miles west of Olympia, our State Capitol, and 140 miles from Seattle. Noted for its salmon, bottom and tuna fishing fleets and whale watching, Westport also has a very popular 18-mile-long beach that provides a variety of recreational activities. For current fishing and ocean conditions, tide charts, points of interest, events, and other information about this city, be sure to visit Westport's own home page at:
WestportWa. com

About the Striped Marlin

The striped marlin is the most acrobatic, and greyhounds more than any other billfish. He is considered by most to be the beat aerial performer, with his cousin the white marlin not too far behind him. The striped marlin is generally one of the easiest marlin to catch as he leaps and jumps(greyhounds) more than any other species. Striped marlin have been known to greyhound as many as seventy to one hundred times before being boated. Shaking their head savagely they tire readily and can generally be boated from one minute to within an hour, a never forgotten thrill for the light tackle fisherman.

They appear to be predominant species of Kenya, Mozambique, Mexico, Ecuador and New Zealand. Commercial fisheries catch them all the way across the Pacific. Striped marlin have travelled up to 31 miles (50 kilometers) per day. The longest southern migration was 1153 miles (1845 km) from the tip of Baja near Clipperton Islands in seventy-one days. The longest migration of any billfish was by a striped marlin, tagged and released near the tip of Baja, and then recovered 200 miles (320 km) southwest of the Hawaiian Islands three months later, a distance of about 3120 miles (4992 km). Most of the striped marlin wander in the ocean alone, but, as with all marlin when breeding, they may be in pairs or schools. JLB Smith (1956) believes that striped marlin must move across the Pacific in a large stream of warm water that wells up and travels towards the South African coast. They then swim southwards to arrive in their greatest strength in South African waters between January and March.

The bill of the striped marlin is slender, but not much bigger nor as long as a sailfish's. Again, the larger specimens have a bill resembling a small blue marlin. The first dorsal fin is from three-fourths to as high as the body depth at the point, having the first dorsal of all the marlin species in relation to body depth, with the length going back to almost the second dorsal fin. The striped is generally higher in its total length than other marlin species. The dorsal fin has many dark black to purplish-black spots scattered throughout with a light purplish or violet blue background. The anterior part of the dorsal is pointed like the blue marlin. The second dorsal is slightly posterior to the second anal fin and is also pointed. The pectoral fins of the striped are pointed, fold easily against the body and are slightly shorter than to as long as the pectoral fins of the sailfish. Striped have generally a straight to a slight curve on the bottom with a slight curve on the top side. However, they are not a curved as the blue or black marlin, nor are they as wide as the blue or black marlins.

The striped marlin has the most pronounced vertical line system: generally fourteen to twenty vertical stripes from the true gill plate to the caudal peduncle. The stripes are prominent lavender to blue in colour and they appear wider than the stripes on sailfish and seem to be made up of various size dots to form lines. The striped can "light up" to a very brilliant lavender to purple. The other marlin have the ability to "light up" but not to the same intensity as the striped marlin. The body scales are covered with a layer of heavy skin so they are not easily seen. The scales are single or unbranched, similar to the black marlin's only smaller.

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