Marlin (Striped) Tetrapturus audax

Striped marlin Tetrapturus audax

Distribution - Striped marlin inhabit tropical to temperate waters and can be found in ocean waters off all Australian states including Tasmania, but are more numerous in eastern Australia. They are a true oceanic species that prefer to inhabit cooler water than either the blue marlin (Makaira mazara) or black marlin (Makaira indica).

Size - Striped marlin can reach a length of 4.2 metres and can weigh up to 200kg.

Characteristics - Striped marlin are a member of the family Istiophoridae. The body of striped marlin is more compressed compared to the more rounded body section of other marlin. The high pointed dorsal fin equals or exceeds the depth of the body and the pectoral fin can be folded flush against the body. Striped marlin have a longer lower jaw than other marlin species and display 12 to 16 light blue vertical bars along the body, which tend to remain after death. It is purple-blue in colour on the top of the body and silvery-white on the sides. This species is carnivorous and non-selective in its feeding habits. The diet of striped marlin is comprised mainly of surface fish such as squid, lancetfish, anchovy, pilchard, trevally, small tuna-like species and flutemouths.

Confusing species - Striped marlin have a clearly visible lateral line, which distinguishes them from blue marlin where the lateral line is almost invisible. Striped marlin also has a more compressed body structure and a longer lower jaw than that seen in either blue or black marlin.

Fishing tips - Striped marlin are caught by trolling or handlining from drifting or anchored boats in ocean waters over the continental shelf and slope. Live or dead baits are often used, with oily fish such as mackerel, small tunas, kingfish and mullet the predominant bait species.