John's Journal...

Mississippi’s Captain Jimmy Taylor Tells Us How to Catch Marlin

Day 3: Strategies for fishing for Mississippi Marlin with 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. 

How to Fish a Teaser for Marlin
Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewAccording to Taylor, “Many times when we’re marlin fishing, we’ll use a teaser to get the marlin to strike. When the marlin hits the teaser, we either drop a bait down to it with a rod we have on the boat and leave that rod in free-spool, or, we drop the closest bait back to where the marlin has struck the teaser and leave the bait in free-spool for 3 to 5 seconds. If you’re fishing with a big meat bait, you’ve got to give the marlin more time to inhale this bait than you do with a smaller bait. Last year I was fishing in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, when a big marlin finally took a 15-inch hardtail. I had dropped the bait back three times, before I enticed the marlin to eat it. The last time I dropped the bait back, I counted to 10 before I set the hook and caught the marlin.”
Why to Stand-Up and Not Sit-Down to Fight Marlin
Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewMost marlin fishermen choose to sit in the fighting chairs to land their marlin. However, Taylor prefers to use stand-up tackle. “In most marlin tournaments, we only fish with 20- to 30-pound-test line, even for big marlin,” Taylor says. “The lighter line requires more angler skill to keep the marlin from getting-off the line. More tournaments are using this line size now. With stand-up tackle, I can move quickly and easily around the boat. When we turn the boat around to chase the marlin, I can keep a more-direct line to the marlin too. Most marlin tournaments are catch-and-release, and you have to be able to see the leader come onto the rod tip. Once the leader touches the tip of the rod, the billfish is declared to have been caught. So, we use a fluorescent-orange or a fluorescent-chartreuse leader. Then we can see the end of the leader easier when it reaches the tip of the rod.”
To 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: Mississippi’s Captain Jimmy Taylor Explains Fighting and Releasing Marlin

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

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Entry 672, Day 3