Skip to main content

Costa's Marlin Fly Project Aims to Protect a Little Understood Billfishery

Discoveries from the first-of-its-kind fly-fishing project will help fill crucial data gaps and aid in global and local efforts to conserve this highly migratory species.

Affiliate Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. We earn from qualifying purchases.


Costa Sunglasses has announced the Marlin Fly Project, the first recorded billfish research mission solely using fly tackle. The project, which took place in Southwestern Baja, Mexico, in December of 2022, brought together Costa Pros (professional anglers and fishing guides), leading billfish scientists, conservation organizations, and community partners (including the Indifly Foundation, Finns West, Travel Creel, and Los Locos Mag Bay) to pursue this mission in tandem with local captains, guides, and the San Carlos community.

“The epic fishing tales coming out of Magdalena ‘Mag’ Bay alone attracted us to the region in 2021, but what we found there was an authentic community, rich with culture, built alongside an untamed ecosystem,” said Jed Larkin, Brand Director for Costa Sunglasses. “That trip sparked a trailblazing idea–what if we brought our global community of scientists, partners and pros together with the local community of San Carlos to research and protect this special resource? And that’s how Marlin Fly was born. Rooted in both community and conservation, this project is everything we stand for as a brand.”

The Marlin Fly Project, which was conducted in collaboration with the Billfish Foundation, the International Game Fish Association, and the University of Southern Mississippi Center for Fisheries Research & Development, deployed 15 satellite tags on striped marlin in Magdalena Bay, Mexico. The tags will track the fish for up to five years, providing scientists with valuable information that can be used to protect and conserve billfish populations, including post-release survivability, migration patterns, swimming depth, and water temperature. An additional 20 spaghetti tags will provide important ongoing recapture data. The discoveries from the program will help fill crucial data gaps and aid in global and local efforts to conserve this highly migratory species.

Southwestern Baja, Mexico is a hub of culture and community, built alongside an ecosystem that, for three to four months a year, features some of the most incredible striped marlin fishing in the world. Striped marlin have only a brief history of minimal scientific research–making them one of the least understood billfish species–especially in this region of the globe, where they are the star of the show for ecotourism.

An over photo of several striped marlin near bait balls.
The deployed tags will track post-release survivability, migration patterns, swimming depth, and water temperature. (Photo courtesy Nick Price/Costa Sunglasses)

“Through this collaboration, Costa's Marlin Fly Project is set to collect unparalleled data about striped marlin that will help play a pivotal role in supporting conservation and enhancing fisheries management efforts,” Peter Chaibongsai, Director of Conservation Programs at The Billfish Foundation, said. “We’re honored to be a part of such a unique project that puts community at the forefront. The strong bond forged with the locals not only enables them, but also fosters a sense of advocacy. This ensures that the project's impact extends far beyond scientific research–it creates a network of passionate advocates dedicated to conserving this resource for years to come.”

All landed fish were fully assessed by scientists to determine viability prior to tagging. All landed and tagged fish swam off strong, according to a Costa data sheet on the project.

Watch the full film below.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

Writer, fishing guide, and fly-shop owner Hilary Hutcheson and her family planned on enjoying a camping slash fishing tr...
Destinations/Species

Science in the Thorofare

Writer, fishing guide, and fly-shop owner Hilary Hutcheson and her family planned on enjoying a camping slash fishing tr...
How-To/Techniques

How to Tie the Picky Eater Perdigon

Writer, fishing guide, and fly-shop owner Hilary Hutcheson and her family planned on enjoying a camping slash fishing tr...

Fly Fishing the Plunge Pools of Yosemite Falls

Writer, fishing guide, and fly-shop owner Hilary Hutcheson and her family planned on enjoying a camping slash fishing tr...
Gear

Scientific Anglers Launches Reimagined Tropical Saltwater Fly Lines

Writer, fishing guide, and fly-shop owner Hilary Hutcheson and her family planned on enjoying a camping slash fishing tr...
Gear

Check Out Grundens' New Vector Wader!

Writer, fishing guide, and fly-shop owner Hilary Hutcheson and her family planned on enjoying a camping slash fishing tr...
Gear

Fly Fishing the Plunge Pools of Yosemite Falls (trailer)

Writer, fishing guide, and fly-shop owner Hilary Hutcheson and her family planned on enjoying a camping slash fishing tr...
Gear

Fly Fusion Trout Tour Sizzle Reel

Writer, fishing guide, and fly-shop owner Hilary Hutcheson and her family planned on enjoying a camping slash fishing tr...
Gear

Introducing Orvis's New 4th Generation Helios Fly Rod

Writer, fishing guide, and fly-shop owner Hilary Hutcheson and her family planned on enjoying a camping slash fishing tr...
How-To/Techniques

How to Tie Dorsey's Top Secret Baetis Fly

Writer, fishing guide, and fly-shop owner Hilary Hutcheson and her family planned on enjoying a camping slash fishing tr...
News

Orvis Presents “School of Fish” Full Film

Writer, fishing guide, and fly-shop owner Hilary Hutcheson and her family planned on enjoying a camping slash fishing tr...
News

Orvis Presents “School of Fish”

Writer, fishing guide, and fly-shop owner Hilary Hutcheson and her family planned on enjoying a camping slash fishing tr...
News

Hilary Hutcheson's videos of Hurricane Ian aftermath

Fly Fisherman Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Fly Fisherman App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Fly Fisherman stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Fly Fisherman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now