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Posted on Aug 27, 2007 in Top Shots
A Rare Catch

Did you ever catch a marlin or a sailfish at night? If so, I'd like to know. So would billfish scientists.

That's because if you answered "yes" to my question, you're among what is apparently a very exclusive group of anglers to have ever done so.

It would seem that billfish (not counting swordfish here) simply do not feed after dark. After all, these days more than ever and particularly off eastern and southern Florida, there's no shortage of juicy billfish baits swimming around out there in billfish country at night - such as live blue runners and rigged squid - as anglers tempt broadbills. Yet one almost never hears of marlin or sails being caught at night.

While working on a 2008 feature on night fishing offshore, I wondered why this might be and consulted with some world-renown experts before tackling the subject in a sidebar. Their response was just what common sense suggests: Apparently these billfish just don't feed much, if at all, after dark. From all accounts - including satellite tagging data - the billfish are there, at or near the surface at night.

Unless of course they're caught more often than we realize.

That's why, again, scientists and this editor would love to hear any true/honest accounts of marlin or sails being caught at night and the details of such a catch -- with a photo would be even better. If any such accounts exist, click on the link below to add your information to the forum. I'll also forward the information to Eric Prince (in the U.S.) and Kerstin Fritsches (in Australia), both Ph.D. billfish experts. - Doug Olander

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