Sailfish are two species of fish in the genus Istiophorus, living in warmer sections of all the oceans of the world. They are predominately blue to gray in color and have a characteristic erectile dorsal fin known as a sail, which often stretches the entire length of the back. Another notable characteristic is the elongated bill, resembling that of the swordfish and other marlins. They are therefore described as billfish in sport fishing circles.

Both species of sailfish grow quickly, reaching 1.2–1.5 metres (3 ft 10 in–4 ft 10 in) in length in a single year, and feed on the surface or at mid-depths on smaller pelagic forage fish and squid. Individuals have been clocked at speeds of up to 110 kilometres per hour (68 mph), which is the highest speed reliably reported in any water creature. 

Sailfish inhabit tropical and subtropical waters near land masses, usually in depths over 10 fathoms (60 feet). Along the Gulf Stream they are usually found around the 120 feet line. Pelagic and migratory, sailfish usually travel alone or in small groups. They appear to feed mostly in midwater along the edges of reefs or current eddies.

The sail is normally kept folded down and to the side when swimming, but it may be raised when the sailfish feels threatened or excited, making the fish appear much larger than it actually is. This tactic has also been observed during feeding, when a group of sailfish use their sails to "herd" a school of fish or squid.

Sailfish are highly prized game fish and are known for their incredible jumps and great speed. They can appear in a startling array of colors, from subdued browns and grays to vibrant purples and even silver. Their body colors are often highlighted by stripes of iridescent blue and silver dots. Sailfish can change their colors almost instantly - a change controlled by their nervous system. The sailfish can rapidly turn its body light blue with yellowish stripes when excited, confusing its prey and making capture easier, while signalling its intentions to fellow sailfish.

There are 2 species of sailfish: Istiophorus albicans (Atlantic) or Istiophorus platypterus (Indo-Pacific)

Species Information

Scientific Name:Istiophorus albicans / Istiophorus platypterus
Ideal Temp:70-82°F (21-28°C)
Lure Type:Trolling
World Record:64 kg (141 lb 1 oz) Luanda , Angola
Other Names:sailfish, sails

Latest Sailfish Fishing Reports and Spots

Weekend Fishing Outlook (2/26-2/28/2021) - 2/25/2021 3:12:05 PM

OFFSHORE- Pretty slow week offshore for the most part. Sailfish action continues along at a slow pick and based on weather forecast it doesn't l (View)

Sailfishing - 1/22/2016 12:15:47 PM

The post Sailfishing appeared first on Florida Keys Fishing | Islamorada Sport Fishing Charter. (View)

Islamorada Sea Horse Fishing Report – January 2017 - 1/12/2017 9:53:26 AM

Islamorada Sea Horse Fishing Report Sailfish season is in full swing down here. Lately Sailfish have been caught in isolated sections of the re (View)

Islamorada Sea Horse Off Shore Fishing Report – November 5 2017 - 11/5/2017 7:11:23 PM

Off Shore: Great fishing here in Islamorada like always. We are really enjoying a variety of fish species. Yesterday we caught Kingfish Snapper (View)

Islamorada Sea Horse Off Shore Report – February 4 2018 - 2/4/2018 8:22:32 AM

Sailfish action has been very good along the edge of Davis Reef. Live bait presentations like bump trolling and kite fishing have been very goo (View)

Islamorada Sea Horse Off Shore Report – February 11 2018 - 2/11/2018 10:22:04 AM

Off Shore: Sailfish action has been very good along the edge of Davis Reef. Live bait presentations like bump trolling and kite fishing have be (View)

Islamorada Sea Horse Off Shore Report – April 13 2018 - 4/13/2018 8:20:37 AM

Off Shore: We have had cooler weather this April compared to previous years in recent history. The cooler weather has affected our fishing in I (View)

Islamorada Sea Horse Off Shore Report – November 27 2018 - 11/27/2018 8:42:35 AM

Off Shore Report: Fishing in Islamorada is always good all year! Somewhere within our range any good Captain down here can put a catch together (View)

7/2 – Beautiful Day with Plenty of Sunshine - 7/11/2017 6:37:20 PM

Beautiful day with plenty of sunshine and wind to keep the red white and blue flyin! Few days open this month if anyone would like to get in on (View)

February 13 2021 - 2/13/2021 12:55:31 AM

The Explorer got into a Sailfish battle on February 13 with reports of some nice releases from the Super Panga. The post February 13 2021 appea (View)