“First Ever” Photos of Rare Albino Marlin

This rare “albino” blue marlin was caught and released off Costa Rica on March 11. (Photograph by Bob Weaver, courtesy Maverick Yachts and Maverick Sportfishing Tours)

On March 11, an angler hooked a rare fish: a 300-pound albino blue marlin. The animal was released alive, and photos of the encounter may be the first recorded images of an albino blue marlin, according to the Billfish Report.

It was about 1 pm, during a charter fishing trip on the 42-foot boat Spanish Fly, run by Maverick Yachts and Maverick Sportfishing Tours out of Los Sueños Resort and Marina in Herradura, Costa Rica. At the helm was Captain Juan Carlos Fallas, aka “Juanca.”

First Mate Carlos Espinosa Jimenez, aka “Pollo,” spotted the rare white fish in the water, alerting long-time charter clients Bob and Karen Weaver from New York. Karen then wrestled the fish on the line for a reported 2 hours and 45 minutes, while Bob shot photos. According to Maverick:

The skill, endurance and dedication of Karen Weaver is testament to her years of fishing experience.  Using 30lb test line and a #7 circle hook she landed a “10 to 1” on line test, and the fish had her by over 200lbs.  Quite a feat for any angler, and a lifetime memory!

The captain of the Maverick fleet, Daniel “Danny” Espinosa, said in a statement, “These people have been fishing for years, and calm and professional action by the angler and the crew was necessary to land such a unique fish.  I am certain that the marine biologists would have loved to get their hands on this fish.  While the fish is lost to science, she remains in the sea where she belongs.”

The fish was released, and Karen was presented with a fiberglass replica, titled Karen Weaver-Maverick Albino Blue Marlin.

Since the animal was not examined by a scientist, it is unclear if it was a true albino (reduced melanin) or whether it was leucistic (a reduction in all pigments).

albino blue marlin
Emerging from the deep… (Photograph by Bob Weaver, courtesy Maverick Yachts and Maverick Sportfishing Tours)
albino blue marlin
Big fish. (Photograph by Bob Weaver, courtesy Maverick Yachts and Maverick Sportfishing Tours)
albino blue marlin
Hooked. (Photograph by Bob Weaver, courtesy Maverick Yachts and Maverick Sportfishing Tours)
albino blue marlin
(Photograph by Bob Weaver, courtesy Maverick Yachts and Maverick Sportfishing Tours)


Brian Clark Howard covers the environment for National Geographic. He previously served as an editor for TheDailyGreen.com and E/The Environmental Magazine, and has written for Popular Science, TheAtlantic.com, FastCompany.com, PopularMechanics.com, Yahoo!, MSN, and elsewhere. He is the co-author of six books, including Geothermal HVACGreen LightingBuild Your Own Small Wind Power System, and Rock Your Ugly Christmas Sweater.

  • Okoye Vivian

    That’s one of a kind

  • AJ Gensel

    Since the eye shows dark pigmentation, wouldn’t that make this animal leusictic rather than an albino? The photos aren’t as clear as they could be, but I see no red or pink tint to the eyes. There also seems to be some vague pigmentation just behind the dorsal fin that hints at the stripes you would see on a normal specimen. So perhaps more of a super ghost or snow type color mutation like those found in captive boas and pythons. No matter which explanation of color mutation proves true it’s neat to see these photos and nice to know that is was released again.

  • Adrien

    Very nice fish,congrats to the crew and anglers for catching,documenting and releasing.Hopefully that fish could get to full maturity.
    I saw one last year 30 miles south of Barbados swim right behind the back of the boat but wasn’t sure what it was,but in my mind after seeing this one it is clear that what I saw had to be a. Marlin too.
    My friends didn’t see it and thought I was seeing things.I am sure now.it was one them.

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