Blue Marlin Basic Lure Spread in Fiji

OK, so we know that if you tow just about anything around behind a game fishing boat in the South Pacific, eventually, a blue marlin is going to take a look and have a go.

That being said, most of us don’t have the time nor the inclination to spend a week trolling a pineapple wrapped in tinfoil just to see what happens.

Guests going fishing aboard Bite Me rely on the crew to assess the conditions, select the best areas, find the bait and troll the lures most likely to raise a blue.

Over the years we have tried and tested a wide variety of lures and have established a fairly productive spread which forms the basis of any blue marlin hunt.

We usually start off with the basics and then tweak this to match the prevailing conditions or swap one or more lures to cover all our bases, i.e. run lures that simulate the baitfish we believe the marlin are hunting.

Say, for example you are out trolling on the Kadavu trench and you come across a school of skipjack tuna feeding on the surface.

We would immediately check to make sure we had at least one lure out that imitates a wounded skipjack. It’s a big empty ocean. Any marlin in the area is going to be focused on the skipjack and will probably ignore everything else.

Match the hatch’ as the freshwater fly fishermen are fond of saying. Its just as appropriate to hunting marlin as when casting flies to a brown trout.

The following is a sample of our basic starting blue marlin lure spread from left to right):

  • Black Bart Hot breakfast
  • Joe Yee Apollo (Evil skirt)
  • John Lau Talibung
  • Top Gun Ball-bearing Nightmare
  • Pakula Rat
  • Hollowpoint Cabo Killa

I have laid them out in roughly the usual positions. The smaller lures on either side usually work best and are most productive when run from the outriggers. The larger lures in the centre are usually run from the corners, closer in to the transom.

  • Black Bart Hot breakfast – Sliced face jetted lure – Short rigger – Long slender bubble trail
  • Joe Yee Apollo in ‘Evil’ – Sliced face lure – Short rigger – Probably one of the best blue marlin lures in existence. Immitates a skipjack tuna
  • John Lau Talibung – Sliced faced lure – Short rigger or Long Corner – A good all-rounder and the black head & pearl insert draws repeat strikes
  • Top Gun Ball-bearing Nightmare – Sliced faced head that rotates to maintain the ideal head angle – Short Corner – All weather – First grander in Vanuatu
  • Pakula Rat – Pusher style with concave head – All positions, generally Short or Long Corner – An aggressive lure with large diving bubble trail
  • Hollowpoint Cabo Killa – Sliced face lure – Long Rigger – Medium bubble trail, good immitation of a skipjack tuna

This spread works well for us in Fiji and has accounted for numerous blues. We do of course have a large selection of other lures aboard our gamefishing vessels but you have to start somewhere. We vary colours a little throughout the year according to the baitfish present and are happy to take ‘lure requests’ from angling guests but as a starting point the above spread will have you off on the right track.

If you are thinking or trying out a couple of new lures in your spread, I can safely say that any of the above lures would be well worth a

Lure manufacturers:

If you want to know what the top Australian skippers use, check out the lead article in the Feb / Mar issue of BlueWater magazine at

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