Best Lures for Black Marlin: Catch a Tropical Monster

February 18, 2021

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The Black Marlin is one of the largest marlin species. It is a powerful and extremely aggressive hunter, which can reach speeds of 22 mph (36 km/h). The diet of the black marlin consists mainly of cephalopods, crustaceans, and various types of fish. This includes octopus, squid, flying fish, tuna, snake mackerel, and mackerel. But what are the best lures for Black Marlin?

You’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’ll go over our top 9 best lures for Black Marlin as well as how to fish them.

Let’s jump in!

Top 9 Best Lures for Black Marlin

1. Zuker’s Marlin Lures

Zuker’s Marlin Lures are tried, tested, and proven to get big marlin. Below are some of their more popular models:

  • The ZM 1 is designed for speeds up to 15 knots and is considered a semi-straight running lure.
  • The ZM 2 is designed to be trolled slightly slower at speeds around 7-10 knots. It is equipped with a pusher head that produces a heavy bubble trail and a large shower.
  • The ZM 3 is designed for speeds up to 6-10 knots and has a cupped swimmer head.
  • The ZM 3.5 is designed for speeds of between 7-20 knots. It has a straight running flathead and can be used in rough seas.
  • All lures mentioned above are about 11 inches in length.
  • The ZM 5 and ZM 5.5 are designed for granders and are 13 inches in length. (a grander is a marlin that way more than 1000 pounds)
  • The ZM 5 uses a large swimmer head.
  • The ZM 5.5 uses a flat head straight runner. 

2. Honu Lures High-Speed Lure

Honu Lures High-Speed Lure is considered to be Same Ole’s big bad brother. It has a flat nose, chubby body and manufactured to tournament standards. The Honu Lures High-Speed Lure is an all-weather lure and has the ability to run deep while leaving a subsurface ripple.

It is also effective as a teaser when the bite is slow. When using the Honu, the suggested leader class is 400-500 lbs, the lure head measures 2 5/16 “, the skirted weight is 10.9 oz, skirted length is 15”, and the suggested hook size is 11/0. It also is a great lure for Wahoo, albacore tuna, and Sailfish.

3. Kmucutie 5 Piece Marlin Trolling Lure

The Kmuncutie is a 5 piece marlin trolling lure, is a deep-sea fishing lure that weighs 88g (3.2 ounces) and is 20cm (8 inches) in length. It has a copperHead, 3D eyes, and a double PVC skirt.

The copper head has 5 holes to produce a substantial bubble trail that fish can’t resist. It is available in 5 different colors and can be used to target Spearfish, Mahi Mahi, and other gamefish.

4. Mold Craft Super Chugger

The Mold Craft Super Chugger is a fantastic lure. It can be used to target black marlin as well as striped marlin, yellowfin tuna, sailfish, and numerous other species. The Mold Craft Super Chugger is a versatile lure that works bigger than its size and generally produces great results.

The Mold Craft Super Chugger rises and consistently falls when pulled behind a boat. This really seems to attract black marlin. The face is concave in shape, which allows the lure to grab some air when rising and then releases the air when falling.

Combined with a side-to-side movement of the lure head, it releases a substantial bubble stream, which is visually appealing to predatory fish. The lure remains stable in rough conditions and can be pulled at speeds of between 5 – 12 knots but seems more effective at slightly lower speeds.

My favorite is Mold Craft Super Chugger is Yellow, white, and blue in color and has a length of 8 ¼ inches.

5. Tournament Tackle’s Ilander Lures

The Tournament Tackle Ilander Lure (also known as Hawaiian Eye) is a lure you will find onboard most fishing boats and is known to get a black marlin. Some experienced captains and anglers say more than double any other lure out there.

Designed to troll at high speeds, the Ilander lure (Hawaiian Eye) was developed by Jim Kress, all the way back in 1976. It was the first lure to use realistic eyes and have permanent nylon skirts. The Ilander Lure is extremely versatile, which possibly accounts for its years of success.

6. Captain Jay Fishing Offshore Big Game Trolling Lure

This quality lure is manufactured in Key West Florida and is run by professional fishing charter captains. The golden head is designed with detector holes that assist the lure with realistic swimming action. The lure weighs 11.8 oz and has a length of 13.5 inches.

It has a 130 lb ultra-strong classic leader that is 16 feet long and comes with six super strong hooks. This lure can be used to target Marlin, mahi-mahi, tuna, kingfish, and sailfish.

7. Dragon Saltwater Fishing Lure

The Dragon Saltwater fishing lure is rigged ready to fish. It is available in 6 different colors and is hand-made, one at a time. It has 4D realistic eyes, reflective decoration, and a high-quality resin head. The Dragon Saltwater Fishing Lure is hand-tied with high-grade silicone skirts.

The Dragon Saltwater Fishing lure is professionally rigged with a 150 lb leader that is 1.5 m long, aluminum crimps, 8/0 Mustad hook, heat shrink tubing, spring loop protector, and rotating fishing bead.

8. Joe Yee Super Xeno Plunger

The first plunger was created by duo Gene Vander Hoek and Bart Miller, but it was Joe Yee’s Super Plunger that made Plungers popular amongst big game fishermen. Today it is probably the most used plunger out there. Each Super Plunger is hand-made by Joe Yee in his basement in Kona. My favorite is the Pink Pearl Super Plunger.

9. High-Speed Trolling Lure Set

The High-Speed Trolling Lure Set is a complete set and sometimes that’s exactly what you need when fish are feeding on different types of bait. These “works of art” come in some really good colors like white, gold, silver, pink, purple, and lumo green.

The High-Speed Trolling Lure Set offers various lure head shapes that behave differently in different conditions. In rougher conditions, you may require a lure head with a cup-shaped face, while in calmer conditions, longer heads work really well and stay straight and true. My favorite is the Black Snacks Hot Head. It looks really good and leaves a significant bubble trail. Predatory fish really like this, and it seems to excite them.

Tips for Catching Black Marlin

When targeting black marlin, there are generally two ways to go about it:

  • Fast trolling with large skirted marlin lures
  • Slow trolling large dead or live bait
  • Fast trolling with large rubber skirted marlin lures can be extremely effective, especially when using black Barts, Pakuklas, and moldcraft soft heads. They are pulled behind the boat at different distances to entice a black marlin to come up and have a look. While some anglers only fish with lures, the majority will take the opportunity to throw a large dead bait at the oncoming beast and offer some variety. I have seen a marlin bypass 5 artificial lures in favor of a dead sardine being dragged just four meters from the boat.

Slow trolling with large live bait is my preferred technique, not just because I don’t particularly like using dead bait, but I believe live bait (especially bait that your target fish feed on) is best.

A good size bait can be anywhere from 500g (1 lb) to 5 kg (10 lb), and smaller members of the tuna family appear to be the most commonly used. Skipjack Tuna and Bonito’s make great live bait and can be used with small rubber skirts or other lures, fish one each side of the boat with a downrigger in the middle.

Additional Tips for Catching Black Marlin

Ensuring that you have the correct hooks is vital when targeting these powerful fish. It is important to note that hooks have different characteristics and therefore behave differently. The circle hook is currently the most popular choice for black marlin and gamefish in general.

These types of fish have extremely tough mouths. If they haven’t swallowed the bait, the circle hook gets them in the side of the mouth, where it’s a little softer. When the fish has taken the bait, and your line is screaming off your reel, don’t get overexcited yet.

Avoid striking the rod to set the hook, like you would with other types of fishing. Allow the marlin time to swallow the bait. Do this by slowly increasing the drag until the circle hook finds a place to set once it has set. If the marlin starts to jump, don’t do anything hasty. Just let it run.

Black Marlin Facts

Black Marlin is fished commercially and is regarded as a highly prized game fish amongst recreational anglers. The species can be found in subtropical and tropical waters of the Pacific and the Indian Ocean and are occasionally located in the Atlantic.

The black marlin (Istiompax indica) can reach weights of up to 1650 lb (750 kg) and lengths of up to 15.5 feet (4.65 m).


Black Marlin are impressive fish. They are extremely powerful and even more beautiful. The best lures to use are high-speed trolling lures, but they can be targeted by slow trolling with live or dead bait.

The black marlin is a highly prized trophy fish that tests every part of a fisherman, from the physical to the mental, as well as his fishing equipment. Every aspect of your set-up has to be perfect.

This includes your rod, reel, line, hooks, and every knot on your rig. If one of these fails, it will be almost impossible to land your catch. We hope you enjoyed this article on the best lures for Black Marlin.

 Happy Hunting!

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