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An interesting white marlin recapture off the coast of Maryland in September provides scientists at Gray FishTag Research with invaluable data on the habits of this amazing gamefish.
By Travis Moore, Gray FishTag Research
Tags: offshore
Gray FishTag Research data on white marlin has been able to shatter the expectations for fish recapture rates thanks to the hard-working professional fishermen on the water.

A white marlin named “Osprey” (GFR10805) was caught by angler Junior Doerzbach while fishing the Mid-Atlantic region off Maryland on September 9, 2016. Doerzbach was fishing aboard the charter boat Rhonda’s Osprey with Capt. Joe Drosey and mate Sasha Lickle, out of the Official Research Center, Sunset Marina & Atlantic Tackle out of Ocean City, MD. The white marlin was estimated at 65 inches total length and released in excellent condition.

Incredibly, that white marlin was recaptured the very next day on September 10, 2016 by angler Ross Clubb while fishing with his dad and brother aboard their boat Chain Reaction, also out of Sunset Marina. The recapture was approximately 1.6 miles away from the original tag location.

During that 24-hour time period, the marlin stayed in local waters which are home to numerous seafloor canyons which ideal habitat with an abundance of prey items, such as mullet, menhaden, jacks and common bait fish species. At the time of recapture, the white marlin had a measured total length of 79 inches; based on the measurements, it is believed that marlin was a mature fish.

After the tag information was recorded, the white marlin was released healthy and unharmed.

White marlin are a pelagic billfish species occurring in only in the Atlantic Ocean. They are a midsized smaller billfish species that is characterized by a long, compressed body shape with dark blue coloration on the upper side and silvery white below. A noticeable feature is the first dorsal fin, which runs almost the entire length of the body.

The maximum recorded length for white marlin is 110 inches, but they are commonly found at a length of 51 to 83 inches. Like many other fish species, white marlin are sexually dimorphic with the females being larger. They are commonly associated with weed lines, upwelling, and regions with bottom features such as shoals, drop-offs, and canyons, and are usually found alone or in a pair, though limited schooling may occur based on size or time of year.

White marlin are commonly misidentified at roundscale spearfish, and while the two species may be similar in appearance they are genetically different. White marlin scales are more rigid and rounded on the posterior region of scale, while roundscale spearfish scales are broad and round at the anterior end.

Also, if the distance between the anal opening and first anal fish is less than 50% of the height of the anal fin, it is a white marlin.

The Gray FishTag Research program has been able to shatter the expectations for fish recapture rates thanks to the hard-working professional fishermen on the water day in and day out. Tags are provided free-of-charge to the collaborating professional fishermen, and the tag data is available to the public at www.GrayFishTagResearch.org

The Rhonda’s Osprey charter boat crew will receive Gray FishTag gear for their tagging efforts. The tag recovery angler, Ross Clubb, will receive a pair of Costa Del Mar sunglasses, a Tag & Recovery Certificate, and Gray FishTag gear for reporting the tag recovery.

The tagging and research efforts is made possible by their research centers and sponsors including AFTCO, AA Video, American Fishing Wire, FECOP, Mold Craft, Costa Del Mar, CR Primo Fishing Tackle, Shadow Graphics, AquaWorld, Crocodile Bay Resort, Grande Alaska Lodge, Los Sueños Resort & Marina, Marina Pez Vela, Sunset Marina, The Pisces Group and The Zancudo Lodge.

For more information, please contact the Gray FishTag Research in-house fisheries scientist Travis Moore at travis@GrayFishTag.org or 954-675-3896