John's Journal...

Day 1: How to Fish for and Catch a Marlin with Mississippi’s Captain Jimmy Taylor

Editor’s Note: Captain Jimmy Taylor of Biloxi, Mississippi, lacks one billfish, the swordfish, to have caught every species of billfishes in the world and qualify for the IGFA Billfish Royal Slam that recognizes anglers who have caught nine billfish species, the Atlantic and Pacific sailfish, the Atlantic and the Pacific blue marlin, the black marlin, the striped marlin, the white marlin, the swordfish and the spearfish. He’s won two Grand Slam Jupiter Billfish Tournaments and finished 4th in the 2010 World Billfish Series Tournament, competing against more than 10,000 anglers. Taylor’s team of fishermen collectively has caught and released more than 1,800 billfishes in the last 8 years. Although Taylor has tournament-billfished for 15 years, he’s only been billfishing seriously for the last 6 years. Today, he fishes out of the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewTournament marlin fishermen primarily use circle hooks but fish with J hooks when fishing with artificial baits. Marlin generally hit the baits with their bills first. But sometimes a marlin will take the bait in its mouth and destroy it. Marlin bite aggressively, especially if they bite close to the back of a boat. “When the rod’s sitting in the rod holder, and the reel’s set at the strike position, I like to set the drag at about 20 percent of the line class,” Taylor reports. “For instance, with 30-pound-test line, I’ll set the drag at about 6 to 8 pounds, and with 50-pound-test line, I’ll set the drag at 10 to 12 pounds. Once the marlin attacks the bait, and the hook’s set in the marlin’s jaw, pick-up the rod, sit in the fighting chair, and put the rod in the rod holder. But if you’re using stand-up tackle, place the rod in the stand-up belt you’re wearing, and be prepared to fight. There’s no secret to not losing a marlin. Sometimes a marlin just naturally gets-off the hook. However, you can lose a marlin much easier fishing with a J hook and artificial bait, than you will if you’re fishing with live or dead bait and a circle hook. The reason you will lose more marlin on a J hook is because it tends to cut a hole in the marlin’s mouth. But since a circle hook doesn’t make as big a hole in the marlin’s mouth as the J hook does, you’re far-less likely to lose the marlin when fishing with a circle hook.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewTo fish with Jimmy Taylor, call him at 228-617-7441 or email

Fishing Mississpiip's Gulf CoastTo learn more about fishing for many species at Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, click here for “Fishing Mississippi’s Gulf Coast: And Visitor’s Guide”, a new eBook for Amazon Kindle by John E. Phillips. Or, you can go to and type-in the name of the book to find it. You also can download a free Kindle app that enables you to read the book on your iPad, computer or SmartPhone.

Tomorrow: Captain Jimmy Taylor Explains What Else to Do When a Marlin Attacks Your Bait

Check back each day this week for more about "Mississippi’s Captain Jimmy Taylor Tells Us How to Catch Marlin"

Day 1: How to Fish for and Catch a Marlin with Mississippi’s Captain Jimmy Taylor
Day 2: Captain Jimmy Taylor Explains What Else to Do When a Marlin Attacks Your Bait
Day 3: Strategies for fishing for Mississippi Marlin with Captain Jimmy Taylor
Day 4: Mississippi’s Captain Jimmy Taylor Explains Fighting and Releasing Marlin
Day 5: What Billfish Wars Has Jimmy Taylor Seen

ALL CONTENT PROTECTED UNDER THE DIGITAL MILLENIUM COPYRIGHT ACT. Content theft, either printed or electronic is a federal offense.


Entry 672, Day 1