Bermuda is best known for its big blue marlin and these majestic billfish grow to gargantuan size. In 1995 on the charter boat DeMako, Capt. Allen DeSilva caught the largest blue marlin ever recorded in Bermuda — it weighed 1,352 pounds. Another well-known captain, Alan Card, has caught a half-dozen marlin exceeding 1,100 pounds. So you never know if a world-record marlin might show up behind the boat in Bermuda.
For the best chance to tangle with a blue marlin, plan your trip during the peak season, which runs from June through August. But those monster blues also show up a bit earlier in the season. Fewer blue marlin are caught in May or early June, but they're typically bigger. Local boats also encounter the largest number of white marlin during the early portion of the season. White marlin are the smallest of all the marlin species, but they put up acrobatic fights marked by high-flying aerial displays. In May, for example, you may see two white marlin for every blue. In June it's more of a 50-50 ratio, and by July and August there are more blues than whites.
The Bermuda charter-boat fleet targets two main areas when looking for marlin: Challenger and Argus banks. These banks, located 12 and 20 miles offshore, were formed by the same volcanic activity that formed Bermuda itself. Challenger, the closer of the two, rises from 6,000-foot depths to just 180 feet at the crown. The strong currents push the baitfish against the steep banks, and the marlin, tuna and wahoo are never far behind.
Marlin have been caught every month of the year in Bermuda, but the fishing is best during summer when the water warms up to at least 80 degrees. During the peak of the marlin season, boats commonly see an average of five blue marlin a day, but don't expect every fish to be more than 1,000 pounds. When chasing blue marlin, especially as a novice angler, it's best to maintain realistic expectations. Most of the Bermuda blues average between 400 and 600 pounds. They won't all resemble small submarines, but even a 400-pounder is nothing to squawk about. For those new anglers who want to try blue marlin fishing, Bermuda has great crews who will walk you through it and give advice on what to do and what not to do.