Tuesday, August 23, 2011



Marine biologist and award-winning filmmaker Rick Rosenthal set out to capture on film the biggest, fastest, most dangerous gamefish in the sea — the ancient creatures known as billfish.

The largest of all billfish is the marlin. They top speeds of 60 miles an hour on migrations that can span 9,000 miles. The largest, always female, weigh in at over 1,000 pounds, and are known as “granders.” Ernest Hemingway immortalized the grander in The Old Man and the Sea, the story of an elderly fisherman locked in a life and death struggle with this apex predator. To Hemingway’s great disappointment, he himself never landed a grander, although his novella captures the impact of this huge and graceful creature.

NATURE | Superfish | Sailfish Nursery | PBS by pbs_usa


Just as eagles have done in the sky, billfish have dominated the seas as apex predators for years, and yet we know relatively little about them. Billfish include marlin, sailfish, swordfish and spearfish. Marlin, sailfish and spearfish are members of the family Istiophoridae, and swordfish are members of the family Xiphiidae. Billfish are best known for the elongated nasal bones that form their "bill". Like tunas, their bodies are also built for the endurance and speed needed to travel thousands of miles through the world's oceans in search of food.

Blue Marlin

Makaira nigricans (Atlantic) and M. mazara (Indian and Pacific)

Blue Marlin are found in all of the world's major oceans. They are one of the largest billfish species, and have been known to reach sizes of 1700 pounds (771 kg). Individuals over 350 pounds (159 kg) are most likely female. Atlantic blue marlin undergo rapid growth during the first year or two of their lives; however it typically takes 30 years for one to reach 1,000 pounds (454 kg). Blue marlin have the ability to make incredibly long journeys through the ocean. The record being a trip of 9,254 miles (14,893 km) from Delaware in the U.S. to the island of Mauritius off the southeast coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean.

Black Marlin

Makaira indica

Black marlin are found only in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Like blue marlin, black marlin are known for making long distance migrations. One individual was recorded to have traveled 9,045 miles (14,556 km) across the Pacific Ocean from Australia to the Pacific coast of Costa Rica.

White Marlin

Tetrapturus albidus

White marlin are found in the Atlantic Ocean and in the Caribbean and Mediterranean Seas. They are among the smallest of the marlin, typically only reaching wei

ghts of 55 pounds (25 kg) and lengths of 5.5 feet (1.5 m). Individuals have been known to reach lengths of 7.5 feet (2.3 m) and weights of 180 pounds (82 kg). This species of marlin is the most frequently caught along the eastern coast of the U.S.

Striped Marlin

Tetrapturus audax

Striped Marlin are found throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans and occassionaly on the Atlantic side of the Cape of Good Hope. These marlin are known for coming to the surface during strong winds and high waves, where they swim in the direction of the wind.


Istiophorus platypterus (Indo-Pacific) and I. albicans (Atlantic)

Sailfish are best known for their huge, sail-like dorsal fins. This fin can be up to twice the height of the body of the fish. They are the most commonly encountered of all the billfishes. Indo-Pacific sailfish are much larger than their Atlantic counterparts.


Tetrapturus pfluegeri (Atlantic longbill), T. angustirostris (Pacific shortbill) and T. belone (Mediterranean shortbill)

Though spearfish, the smallest of the billfishes, are found in all the world's oceans, they are rarely encountered in much of the world. They have the shortest bills of the billfish. Very little is known about these animals. It is believed that they have the shortest lifespan of the billfish, maturing at 2 years and living no more than 5 years.


Xiphias gladius

Swordfish are found in all of the world's oceans. They are easily identified by their flattened bills, shaped like the blade of a sword. They also differ from other billfish in that they have a single caudal keel, instead of two. They can reach sizes of 1200 pounds (540 kg). Similar to blue marlin, individuals that are over 300 pounds (136 kg) are most likely female. Swordfish have the ability to dive to 2,000 feet (610 m), although large individuals m

ay be seen basking at the ocean's surface during the day.

BF378469 Recapture

TBF hopes you all enjoy seeing where some of our tagged billfish have gone. These maps illustrate a small sample of the recapture data from our conventional

tagging program. TBF is proud to have captains, anglers, and mates eager to tag and report all their billfish catches. TBF could not have the largest private conventional tagging program and best recapture rates for billfish if it wasn't for you.

As a thanks, TBF will now will be releasing periodic posts of our recapture track maps throughout the year on Facebook and on our website (www.billfish.org). If you have any questions please let us know and keep on tagging! We would love to see and hear more of your tagging stories, contact us at tag@billfish.org.

*please note the "push pin" is where the billfish was originally tagged and the "fishing icon" is where billfish was recaptured.

Original billfish Information

Tag No#: BF378469

Date: 01/02/2007

Species and Location

Species: Swordfish

Location: Pompano Beach, Florida

Fish Information

Length: 60 Inches

Weight: 45 Lbs

Fight Time: HR 0 MIN 5 Fish Condition: Good

Bait: Dead

Hook removed? No


Ryan Goldman


Burt Moss

Boat Name

Purple Fever

Recapture Information

Days at large - 1 year, 11 months

Date: 12/06/2008


Atlantis Canyon, New Jersey


Robert Burcaw

so........... What do you think?