10 Top Places to Catch Monster Marlin

You want to go up against a half-ton of rampaging billfish? Try any of these spots for some of the best odds you’ll find in the world.

This gallery offers a look at some of the best marlin-fishing destinations in the world all around the planet. There are other great ones, of course, and which are best could be the source of long debate — but few would debate the merits of these spots.

NORTHEASTERN AUSTRALIA

Jumping black marlin
Hard to dispute that these waters are the best on earth for gargantuan blacks, since Cairns and Port Stephens dominate almost entire list of IGFA line-class records for blacks.Kelly Fallon
Marlin coming out of the ocean
In all 18 of 25 line-class (and junior/smallfry) records for blacks come from NE Oz, and of those nine are granders plus! (That counts one that fell 2 pounds short of the grander mark.) Lots of good boats and skippers on this coast; Capt. Bob Jones is one.Dean Butler / deanbutler.com.au

KONA, HAWAII

Jumping blue marlin
If you're feeling more blue than black, you can't do better than heading to Hawaii. Of 25 blue-marlin line-class records (excluding those still vacant), eight come from Hawaii (most from Kona). Three of those are granders, the largest a mind-boggling 1,376. Of course other granders have also been caught and many released. Capt. Marlin Parker alone has brought several granders to the boat.Capt. Kevin Hibbard

BERMUDA

Underwater blue marlin
While no granders from these waters qualified as IGFA records, there's no disputing that the big blue mamas hang out here. In 1995, Capt. Allen DeSilva (on DeMako) caught a 1,352. Capt. Alan Card (on Challenger) has caught a half-dozen marlin topping the 1,100-pound mark. They're here!Jason Arnold / jasonarnoldphoto.com

THE AZORES

Blue marlin jumping out of the ocean
Five of 28 line-class records for Atlantic blue marlin (excluding classes still vacant) hail from the Azores; two of those fish weighed in the 1,100s. In 1997, captains Les Gallagher and Zak Conde put a 1,307 on the sport-fisher Xácara — the largest landed in these waters to date.John Ashley

MADEIRA / CANARY ISLANDS

Jumping blue marlin
These islands, separated by about 300 miles, off the east coast of Africa, hold the promise of MFPs (that would be marlin of frightening proportions); of 28 line-class records for Atlantic blues, six are from Madeira or the Canaries.Courtesy Duarte Amador Moreira Rato / fishbazaruto.com
Grander blue marlin offshore next to a deep sea fishing boat
In 1986, a 1,059-pounder was taken near Madeira. Madeira's Capt. Peter Bristow has caught literally dozens of granders and near-granders in his career.Capt. Peter Bristow

CAPE VERDE

Jumping blue marlin hooked while fishing
Though none of the three line-class record blues from Cape Verde make grander status, don't be fooled: Capt. Berno Niebuhr (Happy Hooker, Sao Vicente), who's been fishing these waters for 18 years, has weighed in 13 marlin over 1,000 pounds (and released more).Capt. Bryan Toney

ASCENSION ISLAND

Angler releasing a giant blue marlin from an offshore fishing boat
Few islands on earth can lay claim to being more remote than Ascension, in the middle of Atlantic and near nothing else. At least seven grander blues have been weighed in here to date and others released. Ascension isn't the easiest destination to reach, but it's doable (contact Capt. Matthias Henningsen for info).Courtesy Matthias Henningsen

PIÑAS BAY, PANAMA

Underwater black marlin hooked on a fishing line
Lots of folks have seen Guy Harvey's amazing photo of an estimated 1,200-pound black marlin hurtling skyward next to a Tropic Star Lodge charter boat in 2005, so there's no doubt that big marlin can be found here.Adrian E. Gray
Jumping marlin deep sea fishing
Line-class records for southern Panama include two for Pacific blues and three for blacks, though none of those are granders.Capt. Bryan Toney

FIJI

Jumping giant marlin
True, you can count the granders-plus caught here on no hands. But they've been seen and it's only a matter of time; keep in mind that there's precious little effort in these waters versus most of the destinations listed before Fiji. Bite Me charters catches both blacks and blues and is ready for a grander.Al McGlashan

ST. THOMAS, USVI; VANUATU; AND CABO SAN LUCAS

Underwater marlin adjacent to a fishing boat
Call it a tie: In the waters of all of these destinations swim giant marlin. St.Thomas has given up blues as large as the 1,073 taken from the famed North Drop in 1982. From Vanuatu some years ago came a black-and-white photo of a Pacific blue so massive a crane was needed to lift it. Without a scale, it could only be estimated — at 1,800 pounds. Cabo has produced grander-sized fish as well; e.g, in 2011, a 1,213 blue was weighed in.Al McGlashan