Watch This Black Marlin’s Epic Struggle Turn Chaotic as It Leaps Aboard Fishing Boat

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Written by Sharon Parry

Updated: November 10, 2023

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Black marlin poking out of the ocean
© kelldallfall/

A huge black marlin causes chaos on this Australian charter fishing boat. The footage was captured off the coast of Cairns, Australia, and shows the spirited fish flinging itself onto the boat knocking the occupants to the floor. As the video at the bottom of this page shows, trying to catch a large fish can be hazardous.

Background on the Black Marlin

Usually found in the Indian and the Pacific oceans, the black marlin is a fish that comfortably exists in tropical and subtropical waters and can swim at speeds of up to 80 miles per hour. It is in the same family as the sailfish and the swordfish.

The black marlin can be easily differentiated from the blue marlin species since they are more solid, Also, they have rigid pectoral fins that cannot be pressed flat against their sides but can be tilted backwards for reduced drag. These pectoral fins weigh around 150 pounds. They have a lower dorsal fin that other marlins don’t and a shorter and rounder bill.

Black marlin jumping out of the water

The size and physical characteristics of the black marlin are evident as it jumps out of the water.


Black marlins usually feed on squid, cuttlefish, octopods, fish, and large crustaceans. They will eat tuna, if they area available. They will attack with a fast slash of their bill, like a swordfish.

The only true threat to marlins is humans, who tend to hunt down the fish to sell or to keep as a trophy. Even though they tend to be high in mercury levels, they are still fished as food as well.

Is It Normal Behavior for the Black Marlin to Fight So Hard?

Black marlin

Black marlins are large and aggressive.

©Al McGlashan/

Yes! Black marlins are generally aggressive fish and do not cooperate with being caught. They have attacked boats and fishermen with their long bills. This has resulted in nasty lacerations, and several black marlin injuries have been reported in the press.

Fishing for black marlins is something that should only be done by experts – it is not an activity for amateurs. They are large and fast bill fish. Also, they are highly prized by sports fishermen because of their size. However, they are also regarded as a huge challenge to land because of their behavior.

Problems can arise due to the techniques used to land the fish, which often involve “chasing” it by reversing toward it. The problem is that the marlins change direction, swim directly at the boat, and jump!

How Do Deep Sea Fishermen Handle Such Situations?

Deep sea fishing rod and reel(s) using squid as a live bait in the Gulf of Mexico off the shore of Orange Beach, Alabama during the red snapper season.

Deep-sea fishing is one of the most dangerous activities and requires skill and cooperation.


Deep-sea fishing is considered one of the most dangerous types of fishing. After all, you are dealing with very deep water, potentially dangerous equipment, and unpredictable (and large) animals. This is why it is important to use a reputable charter company.

Most fish who leap on boats will work their way back into the ocean, so fishermen would simply keep away from it whilst it does that. Stopping it from leaping onboard in the first place is the best option, and that takes skill.

Landing a marlin safely is all about angler and skipper cooperation. Once the fish is on the line, the skipper will try and minimize the amount of line the angler is losing by driving the boat straight at the marlin. You don’t want the fish coming near the boat whilst it still has a lot of energy! Experienced anglers will alternate between winding in the slack and applying heavy drag. This tires the marlin so that another fisherman can get their hands on it. Tired fish are much less likely to jump!

How Large Are Adult Marlins?

black marlin isolated on a white background

The black marlin is one of the largest bony fishes in the world and a relative of the sailfish and swordfish.

©Stock High angle view/

These marine creatures weigh around 1,653 pounds, Black marlins that weigh over 1,000 pounds are called granders. They are, on average, 15.24 feet long.

Black marlins are hatched from eggs and are born as small fish. They grow rapidly year by year, eventually reaching a size that exceeds most fish sizes. In fact, they are one of the largest bony fishes in the world.

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About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

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