Blue Marlin - Trolling Technique with Kevin Hibbard

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Instructor: Kevin Hibbard

Kevin Hibbard shares his expert tips for marlin fishing, using water temperature, currents, and bait schools to identify productive patches. He also discusses interpreting tuna and porpoises' signals and trolling marlin positions relative to schools. Hibbard's insights on troll structure and trolling tactics can be applied to any fishery, making him one of the best marlin fishing captains globally.

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Takeaways On Trolling Technique:

  • Learn from renowned Kona-based Captain Kevin Hibbard about his expertise in catching big marlin
  • Discover the unique experience of fishing in Kona and how it differs from other locations
  • Gain valuable insights into blue marlin fishing, including how to locate hotspots using satellite data and understanding marlin behavior
  • Understand the importance of currents and bait when fishing for marlin in open water and around structures

Renowned Kona-based Captain Kevin Hibbard is a global authority in the world of marlin fishing. In this insightful video, he shares his expertise on trolling techniques for catching big blue marlin, specifically in the serene waters of Kona, Hawaii. While his focus is on marlin, the knowledge he imparts can be applied to offshore fishing for other species like tuna, mahi mahi, and wahoo.

The Unique Experience of Fishing in Kona

Fishing in Kona, Hawaii, is a unique and unforgettable experience, as Captain Kevin Hibbard describes in his insightful video. The simplicity of the approach, combined with the awe-inspiring backdrop of the colossal seamount that forms the Hawaiian Islands, sets Kona apart from other [marlin fishing]( destinations.

Captain Hibbard's strategy involves using just four lures and no extra teasers, allowing him to focus on the fundamentals of [trolling for blue marlin]( This stripped-down approach is a testament to his skill and understanding of the local conditions, as he relies on his knowledge of the underwater topography and the habits of the fish to guide his decisions.

One of the most critical choices Captain Hibbard makes each day is the direction he takes when leaving the marina. This decision is based on a combination of factors, including his confidence spots – areas where he has consistently found success in the past – and up-to-date information about where fish were biting the previous day.

By carefully considering these factors, Captain Hibbard is able to maximize his chances of finding and catching [blue marlin]( His intimate knowledge of the waters around Kona allows him to anticipate where the fish are likely to be, based on the prevailing currents, water temperature, and the presence of baitfish.

The Hawaiian Islands themselves play a crucial role in creating the ideal conditions for [marlin fishing]( The massive seamount that forms the archipelago disrupts the ocean currents and creates upwellings of nutrient-rich water, which in turn attracts baitfish and, consequently, larger predators like marlin.

Captain Hibbard's deep understanding of these complex relationships between the underwater topography, ocean currents, and the behavior of baitfish and marlin is what sets him apart as one of the world's best [marlin fishing]( captains. By sharing his knowledge and techniques, he offers invaluable insights for anglers looking to improve their skills and increase their chances of success when [fishing for blue marlin in Kona]( and beyond.

The unique combination of factors – the simplicity of the fishing approach, the stunning natural beauty of the Hawaiian Islands, and the expertise of Captain Kevin Hibbard – makes [fishing in Kona]( a truly one-of-a-kind experience for any [marlin fishing]( enthusiast. By learning from his insights and applying his techniques, anglers can elevate their own skills and create unforgettable memories on the water.


One of the most crucial decisions I make is the direction I take when leaving the marina, based on the direction of the current, my confidence spots and information about where fish were biting the previous day.

Kevin Hibbard

Learning from a Master

Learning from Captain Kevin Hibbard, one of the world's best marlin fishing captains, is an opportunity that any serious angler should jump at. With years of experience and an intimate knowledge of the waters around Kona, Hawaii, Captain Hibbard has a wealth of insights to share about his approach to fishing seamounts and locating hotspots for blue marlin.

One of the key elements of Captain Hibbard's strategy is his use of data to inform his decisions on the water. He places a strong emphasis on understanding the role of ocean currents and water temperature in creating ideal conditions for marlin fishing.

By studying satellite data, Captain Hibbard gains a comprehensive picture of the ocean conditions around the Hawaiian Islands. Water temperature is a crucial factor, as blue marlin tend to prefer warmer waters. By identifying areas with the optimal temperature range, he can narrow down his search for potential hotspots.

Equally important is understanding the direction and strength of the ocean currents. The massive seamount that forms the Hawaiian Islands disrupts the prevailing currents, creating eddies and upwellings that bring nutrient-rich water to the surface. These areas attract baitfish, which in turn draw in larger predators like marlin.

Captain Hibbard's knowledge of how these currents interact with the underwater topography, or bathymetry, of the islands is what sets him apart as a marlin fishing expert. By studying the bathymetry, he can identify specific structures, such as ledges, drop-offs, and pinnacles, that are likely to concentrate baitfish and attract marlin.

Combining his knowledge of water temperature, currents, and bathymetry, Captain Hibbard is able to create a detailed mental map of the most promising areas to fish around Kona. This allows him to make informed decisions about where to focus his efforts each day, maximizing his chances of finding and catching blue marlin.

For anglers looking to improve their own marlin fishing skills, learning from Captain Hibbard's approach to using data and understanding ocean conditions is invaluable. By studying satellite imagery, familiarizing themselves with the local bathymetry, and paying attention to water temperature and currents, they can develop a more strategic approach to fishing seamounts and other structures.

Of course, the best way to learn from Captain Hibbard is to experience his expertise firsthand by fishing with him in Kona. Seeing how he applies his knowledge and techniques on the water is an education in itself, and one that any serious marlin fishing enthusiast should jump at the chance to receive.

Captain Kevin Hibbard's mastery of using data, understanding ocean conditions, and reading the underwater topography makes him an invaluable resource for anyone looking to improve their marlin fishing skills. By learning from his approach and applying his techniques, anglers can take their own fishing to the next level and increase their chances of success when targeting these magnificent billfish.


Satellite data, such as water temperature and currents, can be incredibly useful. Understanding the direction of the currents is essential for effectively fishing structure, in this case, the island and surrounding bathymetry.

Kevin Hibbard

Insights into Blue Marlin Fishing

Captain Kevin Hibbard's wealth of knowledge extends beyond just understanding ocean conditions and bathymetry; he also has a deep understanding of the behavior of marlin and the signs that can indicate their presence. In his video, he provides a clear explanation of how baits and birds can serve as valuable indicators when searching for these elusive billfish.

One of the most telling signs of the presence of marlin is the behavior of baitfish. Captain Hibbard explains that when baitfish are actively jumping or swimming erratically near the surface, it often means they are being pursued by predators, such as marlin or tuna. By keeping a keen eye out for these baitfish "showers," anglers can identify areas where marlin are likely to be feeding.

Similarly, birds can also provide valuable clues about the presence of marlin. Certain species of seabirds, such as frigate birds and terns, are known to follow schools of tuna and other predatory fish, feeding on the smaller baitfish that are driven to the surface. When these birds are observed diving and feeding actively in a particular area, it's a strong indication that there are predators, potentially including marlin, beneath the surface.

In addition to these visual cues, Captain Hibbard also shares valuable insights into the behavior of marlin themselves. He explains how marlin often position themselves relative to schools of tuna and porpoises, using these other predators to help corral and concentrate baitfish.

Understanding this relationship between marlin, tuna, and porpoises can be incredibly beneficial when fishing for marlin. By observing the behavior of tuna and porpoises, anglers can gain a better understanding of where marlin are likely to be feeding. For example, if a school of tuna is observed chasing baitfish near the surface, it's a good bet that marlin may be lurking nearby, ready to take advantage of the concentrated prey.

Captain Hibbard's insights into the behavior of baitfish, birds, tuna, and porpoises provide anglers with a comprehensive understanding of the complex relationships between these marine creatures and the marlin they seek. By learning to read these signs and understand these behaviors, anglers can develop a more targeted and effective approach to fishing for marlin.

Of course, putting this knowledge into practice requires a great deal of patience, observation, and experience. It's not always easy to spot the subtle signs that indicate the presence of marlin, and even when these signs are present, there's no guarantee that the fish will cooperate. However, by learning from experts like Captain Kevin Hibbard and applying their insights on the water, anglers can significantly increase their chances of success when pursuing these magnificent billfish.

Kevin's explanation of how baits, birds, tuna, and porpoises can indicate the presence of marlin is a valuable lesson for any angler looking to improve their marlin fishing skills. By understanding these relationships and learning to read the signs, anglers can develop a more comprehensive and effective approach to targeting these elusive and highly prized game fish.

Blue Marlin Fishing in Open Water and Structure

Fishing for marlin in open water and around structure, particularly in oceanic outposts such as Hawaii, Cape Verde, the Azores, or Madeira, is a challenging and rewarding pursuit that requires a high level of skill and knowledge. These locations are known for their productive marlin fisheries, thanks in large part to the unique oceanographic conditions created by their isolated positions in the middle of vast expanses of ocean.

Captain Kevin Hibbard, with his extensive experience fishing for marlin in Hawaii, emphasizes the importance of understanding how ocean currents interact with the islands and other structure to create ideal conditions for marlin. He discusses how the currents can have a significant impact on the distribution and behavior of baitfish, which in turn influences the presence and activity of marlin.

In Hawaii, for example, the presence of the massive seamount that forms the archipelago disrupts the prevailing ocean currents, creating eddies, upwellings, and other localized phenomena. These features can concentrate nutrients and baitfish, attracting marlin and other predators. By studying the currents and how they interact with the underwater topography, anglers can identify areas where baitfish are likely to congregate and where marlin are most likely to be found.

Similar dynamics can be observed in other oceanic outposts like Cape Verde, the Azores, and Madeira. These islands, situated far from continental landmasses, create their own unique oceanographic conditions that can be incredibly productive for marlin fishing. Understanding how the currents flow around these islands, and how they influence the distribution of baitfish and other prey, is key to success when fishing these waters.

Captain Hibbard also stresses the importance of basing your trolling patterns on sound fundamentals, rather than simply following a predetermined route. He suggests that anglers should take into account factors such as the current, the location of baitfish, and the underwater topography when deciding where and how to deploy their spread.

This means that anglers should be prepared to adapt their tactics and adjust their trolling patterns based on the conditions they encounter on the water. For example, if the current is flowing strongly in a particular direction, it may be more productive to troll with the current rather than against it, as this is likely to be the direction in which baitfish and marlin are moving.

Similarly, if there are clear signs of baitfish activity in a particular area, such as birds diving or fish jumping, it makes sense to focus your efforts there rather than blindly following a predetermined route. By being flexible and responsive to the conditions on the water, anglers can maximize their chances of encountering marlin and other billfish.

Of course, fishing for marlin in open water and around structures requires more than just an understanding of ocean currents and baitfish behavior. It also demands a high level of skill in boat handling, lure selection, and angling technique. Marlin are powerful, fast-moving fish that can quickly test an angler's abilities, and landing one requires a deft hand and a cool head under pressure.

Nonetheless, by learning from experienced captains like Kevin Hibbard and applying their insights and techniques on the water, anglers can significantly improve their chances of success when fishing for marlin in these challenging and rewarding environments. Whether in Hawaii, Cape Verde, the Azores, Madeira, or any other oceanic outpost, understanding the unique conditions and adapting your approach accordingly is the key to unlocking the full potential of these incredible fisheries.


Understanding how the current impacts the island and the surrounding waters is crucial for success when fishing for marlin in these locations.

Kevin Hibbard

Trolling Techniques for Blue Marlin

When it comes to trolling for blue marlin, selecting the right lures and bait is crucial for success. Captain Kevin Hibbard, with his vast experience and expertise in marlin fishing, emphasizes the importance of using a well-planned spread of lures and bait to maximize your chances of attracting and hooking these magnificent billfish.

In his video, Captain Hibbard recommends using a spread of four lures when trolling for blue marlin. This allows anglers to present a variety of options to the fish, increasing the likelihood that one of the lures will catch their attention.

When selecting artificial lures for blue marlin, there are several factors to consider. The size and color of the lures should be chosen based on the specific conditions you're fishing in and the size of the marlin you're targeting. In general, larger lures are more effective for bigger marlin, while smaller lures may be more appropriate when targeting smaller fish or in certain water conditions.

Color selection is also important, and can vary depending on factors such as water clarity, light levels, and the presence of baitfish. Captain Hibbard suggests using a range of colors in your spread, including both natural and bright, flashy colors. Natural colors like blue, green, and silver can be effective in mimicking the appearance of real baitfish, while bright colors like pink, orange, and purple can be useful for attracting attention and triggering strikes in certain conditions.

The key to success when trolling for blue marlin is to present your spread in a way that looks natural and appealing to the fish. This means paying attention to details like the speed and direction of your troll, the placement of your lures and bait, and the action and appearance of your presentation.

By following Captain Kevin Hibbard's advice and using a well-planned spread of artificial lures, anglers can significantly increase their chances of attracting and catching blue marlin. Of course, even with the best lures and bait, success is never guaranteed when pursuing these elusive and challenging fish. However, by learning from experienced captains like Hibbard and applying their techniques and strategies on the water, anglers can give themselves the best possible chance of experiencing the thrill of a blue marlin bite and the satisfaction of landing one of these incredible billfish.

Master the Fundamentals

Captain Kevin Hibbard's wealth of knowledge and experience make him an invaluable resource for anyone interested in blue marlin fishing. By applying his insights and techniques, anglers can increase their chances of success when trolling for these magnificent billfish in Kona, Hawaii, and beyond.

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Kevin Hibbard

Captain Kevin Hibbard, a renowned blue marlin fishing expert, has a deep connection to the ocean and has honed his skills in heavy tackle and lure fishing. He has honed his knowledge and techniques from the best captains in the business, including Henry Chee and George Parker. Hibbard's approach to fishing is simple, focused, and trusting, ensuring the best lures are chosen for the ocean's conditions. His dedication to the craft and his passion for the ocean's giants make him a sought-after fishing expert.

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