December 5, 2023

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How to Go Marlin Fishing Texas: An angler’s guide

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Marlin fishing in Texas is a unique opportunity where you can embrace the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico while chasing a speedy species. These long-billed creatures are known for their fantastic speeds, tough fights, and yummy filets. Anglers from near and far, experienced or not, come to Texas in search of finding some Blue and White Marlin who are hungry and willing to put up a fight.

Photo courtesy of Playin Hooky Fishing Charters

In this article, I’ll introduce you to all the tips and techniques when it comes to Marlin fishing in Texas. Let’s get started!

There’s a reason why so many anglers go offshore fishing for these guys – and why there are so many Marlin tournaments around. They’re fun to fight and the large catches can act as serious bragging rights. You also can win lots of tournament money for a nice-sized Marlin, which you can also turn into a meal at the end of the day.

Picture a long, exciting day on the water and topping it off with a Marlin steak, burger, ceviche, kebab, sushi, etc. An exciting fight and a delicious dinner – now that sounds good to me!

A Marlin near the water surface in Texas's Gulf of Mexico waters, after being hooked by a fishing line
Photo courtesy of Saltwalker Sportfishing Charters

Now, if you aren’t too familiar with Marlin, I’m here to talk about the two Marlin species you can find in Texas – Blue and White. Let’s start with their appearance. They both have a long body, with a lengthy spear-like bill. These bills are used to help them feed, as they quickly dice up their prey.

White Marlin have similar bodies to Blues, but their fins are a little on the smaller side. They also have a more solid white color compared to the Blue Marlin, which have varying shades of blue and white, as well as vertical stripes, along their bodies. Overall, the Blue Marlin is the largest and most sought-after Marlin species in Texas. But Whites aren’t far behind!

To keep or not to keep? Texas Marlin Fishing Regulations

An infographic featuring the flag of Texas along with text that says "Texas Marlin Fishing Regulations What You Need to Know" against a dark blue background with a vector of a boat and the FishingBooker logo

Before we discuss harvesting regulations for Marlin in the Lone Star State, let’s start with the first basic rule. All anglers Marlin fishing in Texas will need a saltwater fishing license. Any individuals between 16 and 65 are required to possess an up-to-date permit, whether you’re a resident or not. In addition, Texas requires the addition of a “saltwater endorsement”, but some license packages will cover that extra part.

There are varying options for licenses and packages, such as single-day, yearly, and lifetime coverage. Licenses start at $7 and go up from there depending on which criteria you’re after. You can get yours via the Texas Parks and Wildlife website or from over 1,000 locations in Texas.

Once your license is secured, the next step is to understand the Texas regulations for Marlin themselves. Texas is more lenient than other states when it comes to keeping your Marlin. How? Well, you can take White and Blue Marlin home with no maximum length needed and no daily bag limit. The only thing to note is the minimum size that needs to be met. For White Marlin, that number is 86 inches, and for Blue Marlin it’s set at 131 inches.

Where to Go Marlin Fishing in Texas

Now you know the rules, you’re ready to start planning. And the first step for Marlin fishing in Texas is to find the fish! If you don’t know where to find them, then you won’t have much luck – no matter the gear or bait you have. Here are a few places to check out so you won’t have this issue.

Oil Rigs

A view of an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico as seen from a fishing boat, with the sun setting in the distance
Photo courtesy of Reel Pursuits Offshore Charters

The deep sea oil rigs of the Gulf of Mexico provide a home for several species. Many schools of fish gather around here constantly, enjoying what the habitat has to offer. Marlin will stay close by, eyeballing some bait fish and smaller species. Jigging, in particular, is a popular and effective technique here!

Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary

This beautiful oasis carries plenty of coral and provides shelter for tons of marine species. Smaller critters live within the reef and larger predators lurk closely by. You can bet that with this activity present, Marlin aren’t far away – especially when the tides create stronger water flow. These areas are the top hotspots.

Port Aransas

An aerial photo of the beach in Texas.

The warmth of summer holds the perfect opportunity to get in on some of the peak Marlin action in the Gulf of Mexico. Around 30 miles out, you’ll start to notice some large sets of rocks, such as the Hospital Rocks. The deep water surrounding the structure allows for a great stirrup of water movement that calls in nearby Marlin.

Any area with deep waters and a bit of a warm temperature is a good starting point. Look for nearby structure or action from other species. If you see areas with a flowing current, these are also worth fishing because Marlin like to hang around them. They wait for nutrients to be stirred up from the bottoms, where smaller species try to secure some food.

Because Marlin are a deep sea species, you cannot fish for them from land. You’ll need a boat. If you don’t have access to one, that doesn’t end your chances at some Marlin fun! There are lots of charter captains in Texas that can make your Marlin dreams come to life.

When’s the best time to go Marlin fishing in Texas?

Two men look at the camera as trolling rods in front of them work the waters of the Gulf of Mexico in front of an oil rig visible in the distance
Photo courtesy of Bullzeye Sportfishing LLC

These carnivorous creatures like warmer waters, therefore the summer months are the best time to fish off the Texas coast. Many species are out and about in summer, and for some, migration and spawning bring them in. That means plenty of other action alongside Marlin!

When it comes to Marlin fishing, early mornings will produce the best results. The calm waters when the sun is rising and it isn’t too hot out bring out the most Marlin. This is key feeding time. While it is possible to catch Marlin throughout the day – and in the evenings or night – early morning will be your best bet.

I also suggest planning your Marlin fishing trip around the full or new moons, as the tides will be in full swing. Tides play a substantial role in Marlin fishing, especially outgoing tides. During the outgoing tide, bait fish are flushed out towards the hungry mouths of awaiting Marlin. They’ll be more active during these times because they know it’s mealtime.

Best Marlin Fishing Bait in Texas

Knowing what bait to use is crucial for a successful Marlin fishing trip in Texas. You need something that will entice them to bite – not uninterest them and have them swim away. I’ll name a few key baits that attract Marlin, both real and artificial.

Real Bait

Real bait can consist of live, dead, or cut bait. Examples include small tuna, mullet, squid, flying fish, mackerel, threadfin herring, and more. It is best to slowly troll these behind the boat, especially if it’s alive.


Artificial lures such as the Mold Craft Super Chugger, Xeno Plugger, Pakula Lumo Sprocket, and others, are amongst the most common artificial Marlin baits. These lures move quickly in the water, as the boat trolls at a steady, higher speed. Using artificial lures with bright colors and lots of loose movement is your best bet for artificials.

Top Marlin Fishing Techniques in Texas

Four trolling rods working the waters off the back of an offshore sportfishing boat in Texas with the sun setting across the water in the distance
Photo courtesy of Ocean Breeze Charters – 55′ Viking

First things first, make sure your tackle is reliable and tough enough to go against a large-sized Marlin. There are a variety of setups depending on how you prefer to fish (spinning, conventional, electric, etc.), so you have plenty to choose from. But one more important thing to know is how to go Marlin fishing in Texas…

  • Trolling. This is the process of dragging lines through the water or along the surface, with real or artificial bait. This can be done at a slow or higher speed, and, when interested, the Marlin will come chasing the bait at an intense pace.
  • Jigging. A soft plastic body disguised as prey covers a hook with its long, jiggly “legs.” These lures are weighted, so they can reach deeper spots. Once below the surface, anglers jerk their rods up and down to entice a Marlin to eat. Flashy colors and movement will attract the fish, and some have the ability to shake or rattle and make noise to further gather their attention.
  • Fishing with electric reels. The use of electric reels helps save you from some of the exhaustion Marlin fishing provides. Some anglers may disapprove of this method but it can be very helpful when needing to quickly and efficiently bring a Marlin in for a tournament.

It can be a little confusing trying to find the perfect setup, but try and adapt until you find what suits you best. If you book with a fishing charter, captains provide varying equipment for different methods. This can be an easier option for beginners, especially, as Marlin gear can get quite expensive.

Marlin Fishing in Texas: Bucket-list Angling

An angler leaning over the side of a fishing boat out of Texas, holding the bill of a Marlin with both hands
Photo courtesy of Todds Sportfishing

A picture-perfect day in the Gulf of Mexico, fighting and bringing in the beats of the ocean is the perfect source of vitamin “Sea”… Texas is the perfect location for you to join in on the offshore summer fun. Take a look at what some of the Texas charter companies have to offer and start thinking about your next deep sea fishing trip. Marlin fishing in Texas is a must-add to your fishing bucket list!

Have you ever been Marlin fishing in Texas? What technique did you try out? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

The post How to Go Marlin Fishing in Texas: An Angler’s Guide  appeared first on FishingBooker Blog.

By: Caitlyn Gatrell
Title: How to Go Marlin Fishing in Texas: An Angler’s Guide 
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Published Date: Mon, 09 Oct 2023 11:22:45 +0000

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