ISTIOPHORIDAE FAMILY; also called striper, red marlin (Japan).
The most widely encountered game fish in the waters around Cabo, they are found in tropical and warm temperate waters of the Indian and Pacific oceans. The Striped marlin is pelagic and seasonally migratory, moving toward the equator during the cold season and away again during the warm season and this mirrors the pattern of catches around Los Cabos with a substantial run of stripers during late fall and winter.
The most distinguishing characteristic is its high, pointed first dorsal fin, which normally equals or exceeds the greatest body depth. Even in the largest specimens this fin is at least equal to 90% of the body depth. Like the dorsal fin, the anal and pectoral fins are pointed. They are also flat and movable and can easily be folded flush against the sides, even after death. The sides are very compressed. The lateral line is straight, single and clearly visible. The back is steely blue fading to bluish silver on the upper flanks and white below the lateral line. There are a number of iridescent blue spots on the fins and pale blue or lavender vertical stripes on the sides. These may or may not be prominent, but they are normally more prominent than those of other marlins, and they persist after death, which is not always true on other marlins.
Striped marlin are highly predatory, feeding extensively on sardines, mackerel, flying fish and squid around Los Cabos.
It is renowned for its fighting ability and often spends more time in the air than in the water after it is hooked. In addition to long runs and tail walks, it will “greyhound” across the surface, making up to a dozen or more long, graceful leaps.
It can be caught fairly close to shore, sometimes from pangas, and fishing methods include trolling whole fish, strip baits, or lures; but the most favored method by crews in Los Cabos is a well cast live bait to a tailing fish or to one that has come into the spread chasing a lure. This is one of the things that makes this fishery unique: the ability to sight cast to the fish adds a completely new dimension to the fishing. Crews will usually make the cast for you but if you would prefer to do it yourself you only have to ask. They normally cast with 30lb test lines and on that weight of rig the fight is fantastic!
Current All Tackle Record For Striped Marlin
494 lbs. 0 ounces.
Best time to catch one in Cabo: Available all year but the numbers peak in late fall and over winter when they stack up in huge numbers at times.