Hummin’ the Bimini Blues

by Capt. Jorge Piñero

Hummin’ the Bimini Blues

Tones of cobalt blue water, interlaced with white froth, and the splashing and slurping of the rigged lures, interrupts the broken surface of the water for over 2 hours, seemingly unnoticed. Boredom sets in as you glance at the spread of the five lures and teasers for several hours. You glance ahead, behind, and all around, for signs of life--life in the form of a bird, a swirl made by a fish, a free jumping billfish, or even looking for a line of weed to interrupt the monotony of the glassy water all around.

Suddenly, you see a dark "hole" behind your long rigger; then you don't. Now you think you have seen a flash of color behind your long center rigger and you wait patiently. A few minutes go by and you begin to wonder, “Do I continue with the spread that has resulted in hundreds of marlin?” or “Do I pitch back a big live bait in the spread, at risk of a huge tangle?”

You ponder, and then all hell breaks loose as a nice 400 plus blue hits the short flatline with the biggest lure in your spread! The reel is screaming as you drop the throttle to set the hook home. The water erupts with a slashing, thunderous explosion of a wild fish and a speeding boat.

The initial jumps of a blue are what this fishing is all about. Now she is greyhounding as you are reeling in all other lines and teasers. You look at your rod and you realize the power of this tremendous fighting machine as it flexes the 80 weight rod like a bow.

Once the pandemonium settles down on the deck, you begin the task of bringing her to leader. You grab the rod and settle yourself into your stand-up harness; you look at your zip cutter before you latch the final snap to you and the “Lady in the Blue Dress”, as I often call her. 
FishMonster Magazine-July/August 2016You never know how the fish will fight. Will she stay on top and tire easily, or will she sound and use her surface area against you with the help of the surface tension of the water, preserving her strength, while you try to bring her up, inch by inch? The battle of big marlin, like blues or blacks, are unlike any other billfish or big tunas. These fish are, in my opinion, the ultimate big game fish--they are powerful, strong, smart, and give you a show that no other fish can begin to compare with.
It's you and her; you feel her every head shake, her every lunge, her every rise before she breaks the water and jumps end over end, again and again, trying to shake that sharp hook dug into the corner of her mouth. You have done everything to the ultimate detail for your gear to hold. You never know the variables, but one thing for certain you do know--it’s a "mano-a mano" battle; held together by a single strand of line.

As time continues, and the line strains at the bend of the rod, you feel your muscles ache and begin to cramp while you adjust to new positions. Your back burns, as do your calves and thighs. Your arms are taught like steel as you continue to gain ground. As the reel continues to fill with line with every crank, you know you’re close, but blues don't give up easily; they often rip lots of line out of a big reel, multiple times, while on stand up tackle--a night and day comparison to a fighting chair.  I started stand-up fishing for marlin for the same reason one uses fly tackle on tarpon--to feel the true fish and fight it on its terms, not yours!

Over an hour elapses and you finally begin to see color again. The deep brilliant blues with gold stripes begin to give way to purple and bronze, and you know you have nearly won. All now that is needed is a safe wiring by your mate, without getting tip-wrapped, and you or your mate getting pulled over. This is not the time for inexperienced bystanders to be in the cockpit. This is the “coup de grace”, and it’s all or none.

Many people have been injured at this stage. Realize these fish, although tired, are still a formidable adversary. They can pose a real danger. Billing a blue is unlike a sailfish. The bill on a marlin is a short and stout bill that, when swatted with a violent head shake, will cut you severely, as I have witnessed. The wireman's experience, along with boat handling, at this precise moment with a big fish, is essential to de-hooking it and releasing it in a healthy state. I do not like to keep these fish boatside on their sides for long. Witnesses will attest that extremely stressed fish do not survive if they are brought up on board for the "hero" shot. I keep these fish upright as often as possible after de-hooking them. I keep them swimming as long as I can if they show exhaustion. With live bait, I always cut the line close to the mouth and let them go quickly.

This was one of the mornings, recently, while fishing for blues off of Bimini, Bahamas. The story repeated itself several times throughout the week. Bimini in April and May can give you several chances at a blue every day.

Fish long and hard, know what your doing, and you will catch fish. I have fished with many great marlin fishermen and we always talk the same language. Fishing blues! This is a doubled title as fishing for blue marlin can be called “fishing for blues” or it has been said many times, fishing for marlin will give you the "blues", from the often long wait between bites. 

FishMonster Magazine-July/August 2016Blue marlin fishing is not for the short of patience Captain or angler.   It is reserved for the patient, willing to forego setting baits out for fish other than marlin. I believe this is a big reason why so few marlin, especially blue marlin, are ever caught; people become bored and want to "catch", hence, why!

Blue marlin are the most difficult of any fish to target consistently and catch consistently. It’s due to their range, their diet, and their presence--from a 4000 foot wall, or near the surface feeding, they are nearly impossible to predict!

Bimini is a conveyor belt of fresh sushi to fish like blue marlin, white marlin, mahi, sailfish, tuna and wahoo. Bimini is a great place to fish, just a few hours away from my home of Islamorada. Bimini harbors larger numbers of marlin at certain times as they travel the east side of the Gulfstream, out of the Gulf of Mexico past the northwest coast of Cuba, and when joining the currents from the straits between the Southern Bahamas and Northeast Cuba. These waters are rich in baitfish and pelagics that these fish feed on. I find and catch these fish on the western side of the Gulfstream in the Florida Straits, but the water along the Bahama Bank appears to hold more fish and bigger fish.

Blue marlin is the number one fish all big game anglers want. It’s the “Holy Grail” in the big game fishing world. Why?  Catch one and you will understand. When fishing off of Bimini, I always ask my clients, "The question is what kind of fish do you want to catch?"

So.........you need to focus, and focus hard, and fish every possible minute you can if your targets are Blue Marlin.  Bimini will not let you down!




Capt. Jorge Piñero
Capt. Jorge Piñero

Author

Capt. Jorge Piñero has fished worldwide in search of his specialty game fish--the Marlin! He has caught and released over 400 marlin personally, and has had the honor of receiving 4 World Marlin Slams on Fly Gear. He calls Islamorada home and charter fishes the Bahamian offshore waters and Islamorada in search of big game fish. He can be reached at 305-304-7573 or online at UpperKeysSportfishing.com.



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