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Species Information

Scientific Name:Istiophorus albicans
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

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)

Latest Sailfish Fishing Reports and Spots

Islamorada Fishing Report – 12/02/2022 - 12/2/2022 7:52:40 AM

Fishing near the edge of the reef has been improving since the passing of a few cold fronts. Not very cool weather wise however the fishing has (View)

ALLURE II WINS IN EL SALVADOR!! - 11/29/2022 10:39:03 AM

ALLURE II WINS 28th EL SLAVADOR INTERNATIONAL BILLFISH TOURNAMENT! Nov 8th-15th Capt Jono Nicholas and the crew Julio and Enio Morales ran Allu (View)

Kingfish and a Sailfish - 11/27/2022 8:19:26 PM

King Mackeral aka KINGFISH is an Anglers delight with Long Powerful runs. The post Kingfish and a Sailfish appeared first on Charter Fishing Ke (View)

Thanksgiving Weekend Fishing Outlook (11/25-11/27/2022) - 11/25/2011 5:59:00 PM

Hope everyone is having a very Happy Thanksgiving! Killer Black Friday/Small Business Saturday Sales this weekend...come check it out if you hav (View)

October Monsters – Fishing Report - 11/18/2022 10:40:06 AM

If we compare October 2021 numbers to 2022’s you will find that fishing was slower than expected – sailfish that is. One thing is for certain th (View)


LEE GROUP Dec 26th we hosted the Lee family for a day on the water a good mixed bag for them with a few mahi mahi tuna and 6 sailfish released! (View)


MILLER’S BACHELOR BASH. Jan 19-20 good to see the core group back with the expanded version for Miller’s Bachelor Party. The fishing was a bit o (View)

Weekend Fishing Outlook (11/11-11/13/2022) - 11/11/2011 9:43:00 AM

OFFSHORE- This may come as a bit of a surprise...but we haven't had any reports for the past week. The weekend forecast is actually looking half (View)

Key West Sailfish - 11/3/2022 2:30:23 PM

The post Key West Sailfish appeared first on Charter Fishing Key West. (View)

FANTASTIC START TO ’22-’23 SEASON! - 10/30/2022 10:33:01 PM

Volunteer DR’s Group L-R Dr’s Steve Michael and Keith.   Oct 15-16 saw the start of the new ’22-’23 Season with the good Dr’s on the back of the (View)