A Brief History of Marlin Sportfishing by Captain Anthony Frascatore

October 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

Familiar to many from Ernest Hemingway’s book The Old Man and the Sea, the sport of marlin fishing continues to grow in popularity. As a fish that can reach 14 feet long and more than a thousand pounds, the marlin remains a coveted prize for skilled fishermen. For example, the all tackle record blue marlin listed by the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) weighed in at 1,402 pounds.

Big-game fishing, which includes marlin, became an established sport in the late 1800s with the formation of the first official club for sports fishermen. Originally, it required much skill to land a fish like the marlin; the fisherman had to work with a reel and line from a boat powered only by oars, just as the old man in Hemingway’s novel did. However, the invention of the motor expanded and facilitated the sport, and Hemingway himself took advantage of this in his own boats.

In the 1930s, interest in hunting marlins grew considerably, and fishermen flocked to places such as Bimini in the Bahamas, which is still called the “Sport Fishing Capital of the World.” It was here that Hemingway drew his inspiration for The Old Man and the Sea, and his influence as an author further impacted the spread of marlin fishing.

Another development in sportfishing originated with Michael Lerner’s establishment of the IGFA in 1939. Created to regulate ethical fishing practices, the IGFA provided a formal structure that facilitated the promotion of the sport and tracked world fishing records. Hemingway also had a hand in the IGFA, serving as a vice president for the organization until his death.

Today, the preferred method for catching marlin involves trolling lures behind the boat like Hemingway used to. The sport still draws anglers from all over the world, each of them trying to catch the next record-breaking fish.

About the Author: An avid fisherman himself with nearly 15 years of experience, Captain Anthony Frascatore operates his own sportfishing company, AJF International Sportfishing, offering charters from Mexico to the Mid-Atlantic.

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