Black Marlin

Istiompax Indica
Black Marlin - Marinewise © 2024 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Istiompax Indica
Other names Dombrains Marlin, Pacific Black Marlin, Silver Marlin, Southern Marlin
Size Up to 5 m (16 ft)
Weight Up to 700 kg (1,543 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Oceanic waters near islands & reefs
Depth Range
Black Marlin Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The Black Marlin are a migratory species preferring warmer tropical waters and can be found in depths up to 100 m (328 ft).
  • They are a apex predator using their bill to stun prey prior to swallowing them. Diet consists of baitfish, smaller tunas, squid, cuttlefish & mackerel.
  • Black Marlin are an extremely fast fish with disputed top speeds between 36 km/h (22 mph) to 128 km/h (80 mph).
  • The lifespan of Black Marlin is unverified but estimates are between 11 and 15 years.
  • Juvenile fish grow very quickly putting on up to 15 kg (33 lb) in their first year.
  • They are a highly prized sports fish for anglers around the world.
  • Main predators of Black Marlin include large sharks, toothed whales & anglers.
Species Interaction

Recreational & Commercial Fishing

Black Marlin are a highly targeted sports fish, known for their speed, leaping ability and overall strong fight. They are fished commercially in certain regions but are more know for catch and release recreational fishing. They are a highly migratory with some records indicating distances of 8000 km (4970 miles) on tagged fish from Australia to India.

The Australian distribution of Black Marlin circum-Australia, often found in coastal waters amongst islands and coral reefs.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Istiophoriformes

Family: Istiophoridae

Genus: Istiompax

Species: Istiompax indica

Conservation Status

Black Marlin are not evaluated on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) site due to deficient data. However, as its a fast growing species there are limited concerns of over fishing.

Fish Taste Quality

Black Marlin are an average to poor table fish – known to have large quantities of mercury.

Taste Rating: 2/5

How to catch
Black Marlin

Catch Difficulty: Difficult

Tackle: Artificial Rig, Large circle hook rigged on leader with/without sinker with a crimp sleeve

Bait: Lures, Squid, Slimy Mackerel, Bonito, Tuna, Yellowtail Scad

Technique: Cast bait/jig/lure near schooling fish, Trolling