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Our Top 5 Picks for Marlin Bait

There are over four types of giant saltwater Marlin, making it one of the most exciting to catch.

marlin jumping out of the water

Marlin are characterized by their long pointy nose and their captivating colors. They have an elongated body and a sizeable back fin. 

Depending on their type, these fish can grow up to 1,500 pounds in the ocean. You can catch Marlin in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. 

catching a blue marlin

It’s best to fish for Marlin in Portugal, the Gulf of Mexico, Australia, and Panama. Since they are carnivorous fish, they eat other fish and meat. People fish Marlin for sport and generally do not eat them. However, Marlin is edible.  

This article will look at the best baits for Marlin fish. 


Ballyhoo is a small type of silver baitfish used often for big bait fishing, such as for Marlin fishing. 

ballyhoo swimming in the water

You’ll need to get some practice with baiting this fish before you go out, as it can be complicated at first. You’re more likely to catch Marlin with this fish if you can rig it to be pulled without a lure, to mimic the natural movements of the fish. 

You can buy Ballyhoo at big-game bait shops in the areas where Marlin are prevalent. You can also buy them online or fish for them yourself. 


Mackerel are tiny fish used as bait for larger fish like Marlin. They are also widely available at bait shops and tackle shops, making them one of the most common bait options. 

3 mackerel for bait

However, catching mackerel on a line is easy, so fishing for your bait is another option. You can also combine mackerel with other baits such as squid for a tempting cocktail rig. Use a specialized trolling rig to catch Marlin. 


Squid is excellent for large-game bait because you can easily hide hook points from your catch, giving the squid a realistic appearance. 

squid for fishing bait

Once in the water, make sure to move the bait naturally to mimic a squid’s behavior. You can purchase squid for trolling at big-game tackle shops and online.

You can also catch squid in seagrass beds around the world. You’ll need to use a specialized squid jig to catch squid. 


Bonito is an excellent budget option for baiting. Most anglers use these fish in frozen form and use a spinning motion to attract large fish. 

bonito fish for bait

You can purchase bonito in bulk at fish bait shops or fish for it yourself using live or dead bait. You’re likely to find this fish in the Atlantic ocean and the Indian sea. 

Skipjack Tuna

Skipjack tuna is excellent for fishing Marlin and some sharks. For this fish, cut them into chunks and rig them to your line.

skipjack tuna

Trolling during daylight hours is the best way to catch Marlin using tuna or any type of fish. 

You can purchase this bait in large bait shops, online, or fish for them yourself in tropical ocean areas.

You’ll want to use smaller skipjack tuna because the large ones may be too large for Marlin fishing, plus you might want to eat one!

Final Thoughts

When fishing for Marlin, always go for smaller fish or squid as bait. These small silver fish are tempting to the larger Marlin species and make an excellent wait to hide a hook while fishing. 

Remember to use natural movements and specialized rigging techniques to get the most of these baits. Trolling is the most popular method of catching a Marlin, so make sure you have the right equipment.

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