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Discussion Starter #1
After looking at the pics we took it looks like we got a White Marlin not a Blue.Either way it was Bev's first Billfish and the first Marlin on my boat.Would some of you Billfish guys please verify our catch.The dorsal of a white is rounded and not pointed like a blue,our fish was somewhat rounded with some barely visible vertical bars down the side of the body.
 

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Looks like a ****** to me. Good catch........................................later,Dave
 

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I wonder what the survival rate is for fish handled like that. Hope thats not a picture of a soon-to-be-dead bill fish.
 

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That fish is fine, Ernest. Definitely a white.
 

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Considering that this was believed to be either a rat blue or a white (one foot in the endangered species list), why would someone jeopardize the survival of that fish with such poor handling?

Isn't the photo the textbook example of what not to ever do with a billfish (or any decent sized fish), assuming you want it to survive? Meaning, fight them to the point that you can handle them in the boat (basically, exhaustion), drag 'em out of the water and into the boat, and hold them under the soft tissues/organs for a photo.

Sorry, I am just sickened when I see photos like this. I will butt out. To each him own, even if its just an illusion.
 

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Ok what about Sails that are CPR........................................later,Dave
 

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Live Like No One Else.
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I am not siding with anyone here. But I will say that it is better to have remove the fish from the water and photo and then release and maybe die. Than to throw in foot of boat and take to the dock and for sure it would die. i don't see a reason to make the guy feel bad after caught his first bill fish. I know that I would like to get a photo with a bill that I caught.

I am sure I would have handled the fish the same way. So as some what a rookie I would have to get advice on how to handle a bill if by chance one day I caught on.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Ernest

Its people like you that keep people like me from posting pics/reports on the net.My dad always told me if you dont have anything good to say then dont say anything at all.

That fish was brought to the boat by an experienced angler in a very short period of time.We took the pic and as the fish was going back in he flipped out of Bev's grasp and actually skipped out across the surface of the water and was gone.
 

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Exactly,good catch..................................................later,Dave
 

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Definitely a White!

Glenn,
The photo you posted is great...and it clearly shows that it is a WHITE marlin. Congrats, whites are actually IMO a rarer catch in Texas than blues. I've never caught a white!! - just blues and stripes (and I think maybe had a black on).

The accepted species of billfish are Blue Marlin, Black Marlin, White Marlin, Striped Marlin, Spearfish (three sub-species: Longbill, Shortbill, and Mediterraean), sailfish (altantic and pacific), and Swordfish.

Here's some identification tips: First, in the Gulf/Atlantic, you'll find only blues, whites, and spearfish. There are no blacks or stripes in the Gulf/Atlantic...those species are found strictly in the Pacific. There's many folks who claim to have seen or caught blacks in the Gulf/Atlantic, but in every case that can be tracked down, it turned out to be a (big/fat) blue.

There are reports of whites being caught in the Pacific, and there may be something to that...although rare. The reason is that genetic identification between whites and stripes seem to be in some tests - identical. This leads to the speculation that white and stripes are the same fish (even though the record for white is under 150 lbs, but stripes are commonly caught between 200-400 lbs) - but other tests show a very slight difference in one chromozone pair. Also, the genetic makeup of spearfish seems to be awfully close to whites and stripes as well. In fact, there's some speculation that these species are so close that white, stripes, and spearfish can interbreed and that any combination may occur. Moreover, I read one report that gave convincing evidence that spearfish and/or whites are actually a crossbreed and not a separate species.

To further add to the confusion, there are numerous folks that are convinced there is another undocumented species of marlin - the "silver" or "hatchet" marlin. More on that later....

Back to identification. You really can't go by color... All species exhibit color variations that overlap and can border on the extreme to riduculous. So here's the best ID rules I've found, and appear pretty accurate.

First, the swordfish is a no-brainer. The bill is flat, and usually about half the length of the body. The eye is large...Swords are pretty easy to distinguish.

Second, the black marlin has pectoral fins that are fixed..they cannot be folded flat against the body. In addition, there are no "belly" fins - only the pectorals. This makes the black also easy to identify (and easy to debunk those claiming to have hooked or caught blacks in the gulf). They have a large head compared to the body and the eye/mouth "face" seems small. Also a big reason why most folks over-estimate the size of a black.

Third, the blue marlin's dorsal fin height is always considerably less than the height of it's body (from top of the back to the belly). It looks small when compared to depth (height) of the body. This is the easiest, surest way to tell. Also, when blues start to get big, they get a "small-faced" look, the same as blacks. Novices often mistake a large or fat blue for a black.

Fourth, whites and striped marlin's dorsal fins are tall - as tall or taller than their body depth. Your photo clearly shows a tall dorsal and therefore easy to confirm it's a white. Striped marlin commonly have spots on their fins, whites do too. Presence of spots is confirmation of a stripe or white (or maybe a spearfish), but absence of spots is not. Many whites or stripes have no spots. Good rule of thumb between stripes and whites - if you caught it in the Pacific, it's a stripe - in the Atlantic, it's a white.

Fifth, spearfish are virtually identical to whites/stripes but with a much smaller, stouter bill. However, be warned...several spearfish records have been denied when it was discovered it was really a white/stripe with a deformed bill.

Lastly, we come to the fabled "silver" or "hatchet" marlin. Every year a few fish that look like the typical white or stripe are caught with a strange-looking dorsal. It's large like a white or stripe, but instead of sloping smooth downward from the initial point, it stays the same height for awhile (like the start of sailfish), before making the traditional marlin plunge. This makes the fin look somewhat like the blade of a hatchet.

To date, the existance of this species has not been proven. All documented genetic samples submitted have turned out to be white marlin. But here's where it gets strange. Few samples have been provided - and none from those pictures that show the fish with a clear "hatchet". Secondly, several of the "hatchets" samples submitted were caught in the Pacific - where there's not suppose to be whites - leading some biologist to back off on their position that there are no whites in the Pacific. Thirdly, in at least one report I read a genetic sample was "confirmed" to be a sailfish - even though the photo of the fish was clearly a marlin (although eyewitnesses reported the boat caught several sails that day as well). Sooo...believe in "hatchet" marlin as you will. They may a undocumented species, a cross between white/stripes/sailfish, or purely a hopeful myth.

Hope this clears up identification for you!

-john
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Sooooooooooo does that mean?????

If I catch a Hatchet Marlin and post a pic of it I'm gonna get REAMED for sure.

I just figured out how to get the pics on a cd,then on to my computer,then Ray Keeling walked me through the resizing so I could post a pic on the board.After a lot of effort I post the pic and some dude that I dont even know gives me a butt chewin that I didnt deserve.Sheeesh

John I'll give you a call.
 

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Bit my tongue on this long enough

There is absolutely nothing POSITIVE about sliding any billfish over a hot gunnel, it only puts unnecessary stress on the fish. For almost all fish, time out of the water that exceeds 60 seconds can be very stressful.

Water temperature also plays a factor. With higher water temps comes lower dissolved oxygen yet higher respiratory needs of the fish. The longer that a fish is played on the line, the higher its risk of death due to chemical changes in the fish’s blood and cell tissues. During an extended fight on the line, a fish's blood chemistry changes to accomodate the increased needs of the fish's body during exertion. Immediately after the extended fight, the fish' s body is virtually starved of oxygen. By holding the fish out of the water for an extended time you are encouraging the buildup of waste within the fish's cell tissue. This can have detrimental effects to the fish that will appear days later possibly resulting in delayed mortality.

I'm surprised to hear any Capt defend scraping a billfish over a hot gunnel like this and keeping the fish out of the water just for the sake of a pic. Settle for the over the gunnel fish in the water picture or don't take one at all. From the time you get a billfish to the side of the boat and get the hook out your number 1 priority should be reviving that fish and not bringing him on board. Especially when you don't even know what species of billfish you have. For a billfish to be that lethargic it is pretty well one fin in the grave. Flipped out of his hands and skipped across the water? PAH-LEASE!

Please get educated on Billfish CPR or don't target them.

http://www.billfish.org/
 

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Iusedtofish
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Its a wonder I didnt see thousands of dead sailfish floating around while I fished Costa rica, because they Take photos and release hundreds of thousands of them every year.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
It amazes me

How someone can sit behind a computer a make up a scenario that never happened.

Dux,I have witnessed your antics on the net and I am far from impressed.
 

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Dux,
I agree with your post and it is very informative - thanks. However, it was Capt. Cooks first billfish and everyone on this board that pursues billfish as a passion has at one time pulled their first fish out of the water for a picture. Capt. Cook should be proud of his accomplishment and not made to feel bad about pulling the fish out of the water for a photo.
 

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C'mon...

Hey, that's a great catch and do not let anyone rain on your parade. I myself have never "targeted" billfish, however I have caught a couple sails I guess "by accident." Took a couple pics and released the fish safely and saw it dart down in the water. Come on guys if fishing has been slow don't take it out on other people.
 
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