John's Journal...

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

Day 5: What Billfish Wars Has Jimmy Taylor Seen

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 ViewA marlin-fishing trip isn’t supposed to be hand-to-hand combat between the angler and the marlin. However, these fights on deck often do occur. Jimmy Taylor tells us about some of the marlin wars in which he and his friends have been involved. “Billfishing can be a dangerous sport. One of my teammates, Joan Burns of Miami, Florida, was fighting a sailfish, and I was taking pictures. When the deckhand laid over the side of the boat to cut the line to release the sailfish, he jerked the line instead of cutting the leader, perhaps because the boat rolled at the same time. Once the sailfish felt the pressure on the line, it jumped into the boat, hit me on the right side of my chest and pierced a hole in my shirt. Luckily, I turned my head when I saw the fish coming, since its bill knocked off my sunglasses and cut my face. Then the sailfish fell back-over the side of the boat and swam away.
Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger View“Two-months later in another tournament out of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, I was fighting a marlin that I got up to the boat. The mate jerked on the leader before he could cut it. The marlin jumped in the boat and put a 3-inch hole in the fighting chair where most anglers would have been sitting. If I’d been in that chair at that time, that hole would’ve been in me. Also, a friend of mine was hit in the chest, while fishing the Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic out of Biloxi, when a big marlin jumped in the boat. An angler I was sitting next to during another tournament had a bad scar on his neck and face. He told me that a marlin had jumped in the boat and stuck its bill in his neck, and then the bill broke off. Yet, the angler said, ‘I survived to tell the tale.’”
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.


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 5