Blue Marlin Magic
is revolutionary. Among many important revelations, the author explodes the myth of big blue marlin as loners. By towing a fisheye video camera to better understand blue marlin, he discovered their unique “strike-and-flight” feeding behavior. He set the camera to view his lure spread, or zoom in tighter, especially on lure positions that got the highest percentage of strikes.
“I had always been under the impression that blues were pretty much solitary hunters,” writes Campbell. “After all, most of the strikes we were getting were single fish. But the footage showed a very different scenario, backed up by sonar profiling.
“A blue would come into the lure pattern, at first lying six to 10 meters down and barely visible. In a flash, the fish would be right by a lure or the teaser, always sitting to one side. Then, suddenly, there would be one, two and sometimes three fish more in view. These latter fish most of the time were a little deeper, just watching the spread. The strike usually came from the first fish that showed itself. Despite the number of marlin in the gear, 95 percent of the time we enticed only the one bite. We put this down to some sort of pecking order. But it was hard to fathom because some of the other deeper-positioned fish were much larger females.
“Blues are precise—they are not clumsy crash-and-bash predators,” the author continues. “Most of the strikes were perfectly timed and at lightning-fast speed. They invariably went for the very back of the lure skirt, to a marlin the tail of
the fish. Just before they hit, they slightly rolled their body to the side, making a sweeping, biting action to clearly clamp and hold the lure. The side-sweeping action explains why many blues never break the surface….”
This fresh knowledge led Steve to incorporate special designs in his hook rigs. His hook-ups increased immediately; drop-offs declined. These improvements are generously described and boldly illustrated in the pages of Blue Marlin Magic. As a result of these significant changes, during his years of meticulous record keeping, his best year was a remarkable 83 percent hooked-to-boated success rate. Campbell, ever the stalwart conservationist, safely released 96 percent of all these magnificent leaping blue marlin.