Short Casts - Bill of Health

Take our quiz and ace your next marlin release.


An angler on your boat has just bested a feisty white marlin and now it's time to remove the hook. It's your job to hold the fish, and although the marlin seems docile after the long fight, you know it can spring back to life instantly, potentially inflicting serious injury with its bill or hurting itself in the process. For your safety and to ensure a healthy release, you should:

A) Grab the bill at the tip with one hand while grabbing and pushing down on the lower jaw with the other.

B) Grab the bill in the middle from the top with both hands, pointing your thumbs toward each other.

C) Grab the bill near the mouth with both hands from underneath, curling your thumbs around the top of the bill.

D) Grab the bill from the top with one hand while holding the pectoral fin with the other, making sure to reach over the leader.

Answer: If you guessed "B," you know how to handle a billfish. By grabbing the bill in the middle from the top with your thumbs pointed at one another, you have plenty of leverage should the fish suddenly begin to thrash. This hand position allows you to push down on the bill with the maximum amount of pressure-the best thing you can do to stop it from swinging wildly at your face or into the boat. To take our full fishing quiz, click here.

Illustrations: Steve Sanford