Istiompax Indica

Istiophoridae

Perciformes

Offshore, Warm Water

300 - 1560 pounds

120" - 183"

Black Marlin

Also Known As: Giant Black Marlin, Pacific Black Marlin, Silver Marlin, Marlin  

Guides Who Fish This Species

Black Marlin (Istiompax indica) Fish Description

The Black Marlin (Istiompax indica) is a member of the Istiophoridae fish species. Much like its closest relative, the Blue Marlin, the black variant has that long, sword-like bill and a streamlined body. They both have a fan-like dorsal fin that extends from the top of the head to the tail base. They both also have a two-tone body coloration—dark on the top and silvery white on the lower part. 

The difference between the two marlins begins at their size with the Black Marlin having more girth and length than the blue ones. The Black also has a darker blue to black color (hence the name) above the lateral line as compared to the Blue’s lighter blue tones. The Black doesn’t have those distinct white stripes along the body that the Blue ones usually have. Moreover, the Blacks are sometimes called short-nosed swordfish because their bills are a bit shorter compared to the Blues’. 

As for their swimming speeds, the Black Marlin is “a little bit slower” than the Blues. Not only because it is much bulkier and less streamlined than Blues, but because its pectoral fins are fixed and rigid and unable to fold against its body, thus, contributing to the drag. Just a reminder, though, that we’re emphasizing the “little bit slower than the Blues” part because it’s still known as one of the fastest swimmers in the ocean, clocking up to eighty miles per hour at full speed. 

But what the Black “lacks” in speed, it certainly makes up in power. Black Marlins are known to be one of the hardest gamefish to land because of their brute strength and aggressive behavior. In fact, fishing for Blacks is often quite dangerous as they’re known to be tough fighters when hooked—attacking both boat and anglers by trying to impale them with their long bill.

 

Interesting F