Are fish color blind? Many so-called experts will say yes. But when we polled professional captains on the ability of blue marlin to distinguish color, they overwhelmingly agrees that the color of lure they use affects their bite. Which colors or color combinations will increase your chances of tangling with the most powerful pelagics that swim in the ocean? Just follow these recommendations from experts who make a living catching the fish known as the “big man in the blue suit.”
Captain Josh Ruskey, The Penguin, fishing Cape May, New Jersey to Costa Rica Raise fish with black/purple or black/green teasers, such as the 1656 Black Bart Slant Head. Then when a blue marlin rises, pitch it a rigged mackerel. ****
Captain Willy Zimmerman, Playmate, fishing Ocean City, Maryland, to Moorehead City, North Carolina Match the color of a marlin’s favorite meal, a dolphin. Skirt a mackerel with a chartreuse Ilander.
Professional Mate and BOATING contributing editor Jon Meade, Cerveza, fishing Ocean City, Maryland, to the Bahamas I like pulling horse ballyhoo skirted with a blue/white Ilander, or I use artificials in the black/blue or black/green color patterns. ****
Captain Bo Dobson, Full Draw, fishing Oregon Inlet When targeting big fish in the 600-pound-plus range, I pull a large Spanish mackerel skirted with a black/red Hawaiian-eye off the short rigger. ****
Captain Mark Radcliffe, Fishbonz, Ocean City, Maryland, to Islamorada, Florida A blue/white Ilander skirted over a horse ballyhoo gets a blue marlin’s attention.