AKA: Atlantic white marlin

Description: The body is dark blue to chocolate brown along the upper half shading to a silvery-white belly. The upper jaw is elongated in the shape of a spear. The first dorsal fin is blue-black and covered with small black spots. The other fins are brown-black. Unlike the blue marlin, the white marlin usually has no spots or bars on the sides. The dorsal and anal fins are rounded and there is a visible lateral line.

Size: White marlin grow to 9 feet and 165 pounds.

Sometimes confused with: blue marlin, sailfish

Habitat: An offshore pelagic and oceanic fish, the white marlin is found in the western Atlantic from Nova Scotia to Argentina, including the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. White marlin inhabit the upper 40 to 100 feet of the water column in waters warmer than 66 degrees fahrenheit. White marlin migrate extensively, moving north off the United States from May through October and south in the cooler months.

Eating habits: White marlin feed near the surface during daylight hours on a variety of fishes including mackerels, herrings, dolphin and flyingfish, as well as squids and crabs.

Life cycle: Spawning occurs in the summer in deep oceanic waters with high surface temperatures. Both sexes reach sexual maturity at about 51 inches. They are fast-growing and live at least 6 years.

Fishing tips: Fishing methods for white marlin are similar to those for blue marlin, sailfish and dolphin. Fishermen troll with natural baits. Boats pull up to eight lines at speeds ranging from 4 to 8 knots. Two of the lines are pulled close to the boat, on the surface, and are called flatlines. The others are attached to outriggers. An artificial hookless teaser is pulled in the wake to attract marlin to the surface.

N.C. Saltwater Fishing Tournament

Award for live release of fish of any size.

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Persons engaged in recreational fishing in North Carolina coastal waters are required to possess a Coastal Recreational Fishing License in accordance with G.S. 113-174.2.

Current Proclamations

Recreational Size and Bag Limits

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