Skirted marlin lures are rigged with either one or two non-offset hooks (hooks with an offset may cause the lure to spin). The jury is still out on whether single or double hooks offer the better hook up rate. However, more and more anglers have gone back to using one hook. Not just for the potentially better hook up rate, but also because they are a lot safer to handle!
Marlin always attack a lure upright and not on their side like many tuna. As a result of this it is a good idea to set your hooks so that they ride upright, that way when the marlin bites, the hook should bury into the roof of the marlins mouth. Being the softest part this will give a great hook up rate, especially on blue marlin.
When anglers are chasing striped marlin there has been a trend towards putting smaller hooks in the lures which seem to produce a better hook up rate on these finicky feeders. A marlin always attacks vertically and never turns on their side to eat a lure. Unfortunately other predators like yellowfin and wahoo bite in a less predictable manner and are best targeted with twin hook rigs.
Another important trick that will increase your hook up rate is to file down the barbs on the hook. Look carefully at any trolling hook, like the famous Mustard 7196 stainless, and you’ll see that the barb flares out distinctly. Imagine how that would impede the hook as it tries to penetrate a marlin’s bony mouth. If you have any doubts try hammering a hook into a plank of wood, then repeat the process with the barbless version.
Finally, sharpen the hook points every single day you head to sea. Everyone agrees that the sharper the hook the better the chance of a hook up. I wonder how many anglers actually practice what they preach.