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Sailfish

Sailfish

The Sailfish

The Sailfish, Istiophorus Platypterus

Upper surfaces usually dark blue to black; silvery below; vertical stripes often visible on sides.  

SIZE

Averages 30-60 pounds, but many under 30 pounds and a few up to 100 pounds are also taken. Potential maximum is less than 150 pounds in the Atlantic Ocean. World record 221 pounds; Florida record 116 pounds.

FOOD VALUE

Very good broiled or smoked, and should be kept if inadvertently killed. Protected commercially.

GAME QUALITIES

Unsurpassed in its size range for combined strength and spectacle.

TACKLE AND BAITS




Light ocean trolling or heavy spinning outfits with lines up to 30-pound test; 12- and 20-pound lines are adequate in experienced hands and provide great sport. In Southeast Florida, live-baiting—either by kite fishing or flatline drifting— has become perhaps the most popular approach to sailfishing, with blue runners, goggle-eyes, pilchards or pinfish being the common offerings. Historically, most sailfishing has been done with rigged trolling baits, mainly ballyhoo and strips of bonito or other small fish. Many sailfish have been caught on jigs and on drifted ballyhoo/jig combinations. Fly casters have also taken them on occasion, but Atlantic sails do not decoy as readily as their Pacific counterparts and so fly fishing for them has not become very popular—despite the fact that science has proclaimed the sailfish of both oceans to be the same species.

FISHING SYSTEMS

Trolling; Drifting; occasionally Casting.

Recommended


OTHER NAMES

Atlantic Sailfish,Spindlebeak,Pez Vela

RANGE

All Florida coasts; Bahamas; Caribbean Islands. Most plentiful along Florida’s Atlantic side from roughly Fort Pierce through the Keys.

HABITAT

Like the other Billfishes, the Sailfish is considered an ocean species, but generally can be found closer to land than the rest, seeming to prefer areas where coral reefs and/or freshwater runoffs mingle with ocean water. At times, particularly in Southeast Florida, the Sailfish comes right into the surf and quite a few have been caught over the years from beaches and piers.

Palm Beach Sailfish

Kelsey Henry enjoyed some great sailfish action off of Palm Beach.

Kayakin' Sailfish

Pictured here is Rich Winfield on his Hobie Pro Angler 14 with a Sailfish that he caught using threadfin for bait and was caught off of Navarre Beach.

Turn up for Sailfish!

Sailfish turning up to the beat of the pull of the line which was caught offshore using a piece of Ballyhoo.

trolling for sails

Forum member Salty_Cracker caught this nice sail on a skirted ballyhoo while trolling off of Palm Beach.

sails

6 year old Kinslee Ewing caught her first sailfish on boneshaker charters out of Stuart.

Jumping Sail

Fs member Stetson Law snapped this amazing shot of a sailfish breaching while fishing in the Mark Gerretson Memorial fishing tournament

Jumping Sail

Fs member Stetson Law snapped this amazing shot of a sailfish breaching while fishing in the Mark Gerretson Memorial fishing tournament

Mary's Sail

Mary Niles of Jacksonville catching her first sailfish 25 miles off the coast of Marathon on May 18th. Sailfish was caught on a black feather. Helping pull in the fish are son Matt and husband Ray

Mary's Sail

Mary Niles of Jacksonville catching her first sailfish 25 miles off the coast of Marathon on May 18th. Sailfish was caught on a black feather. Helping pull in the fish are son Matt and husband Ray

Sailfish Vacation

Kevin Solik and Nici Desmond had a fun-filled day on the Ms. Britt out of Miami. Nini caught and released here first sailfish, shown here.

Miami Beach Sailfish

This sailfish caught off Miami Beach puts on a show right before release.

Palm Beach Sailfish

Florida Sportsman member e-money prepares to release a sailfish caught off Palm Beach.

Boynton Sailfish

Florida Sportsman member schmittyfish561 posted this sailfish release from off Boynton.

Sailfish Action

This sailfish was caught in the act. Great capture!

Costa Rican Pacific Sailfish

Spencer Heintz was 16 when he caught, released and got in the water with this pacific sailfish caught off the Superfly out of Los Suenos, Costa Rica.

Jim Reviving Sailfish

January 11, 2012. Jim reviving sailfish.

Sail Jump for the Keys

Florida Keys sailfish action.

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