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Species Information

Scientific Name:Istiophorus albicans
Common Names:sailfish, sails
Ideal Temp:70-82°F (21-28°C)

About Sailfish

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)

Sailfish Fishing

World Record:64 kg (141 lb 1 oz) Luanda , Angola
# Fish Caught:147817 documented in database.
Earliest Record:2/10/1859 12:00:00 AM and located at 24.63570, -82.88406.
Latest Record:2/1/2029 12:00:00 AM and located at -3.16667, 40.16667.
Common Techniques:Trolling
Popular Lure Types:Trolling
Fishing Spots:15481 Sailfish fishing spots.

Latest Sailfish Fishing Reports and Spots

Anglers reeled in Blackfin Tuna Tile fish Dolphin and a catch & release of a Sailfish. - 6/12/2024 7:48:00 PM


6-12-24 - 6/6/2012 9:30:00 AM

A tough weather week but for those braving it there has been some reward. Offshore anglers have had very good Sailfish activity in the 80′ rang (View)

Recfishwest's State-wide Fishing Report 7 June 2024 🎣 - 6/7/2024 3:41:00 AM

96 Recfishwest Newsletter View this email in your browser Recfishwest Fishing Report 07/06/24 Throw out a bit of burley and not only will you a (View)

Recfishwest's State-wide Fishing Report 31 May 2024 🎣 - 5/31/2024 2:20:50 AM

96 Recfishwest Newsletter View this email in your browser Recfishwest Fishing Report 31/05/24 Recfishwest spoke with the widely renowned and sk (View)

Recfishwest's State-wide Fishing Report 24 May 2024 🎣 - 5/24/2024 2:36:21 AM

96 Recfishwest Newsletter View this email in your browser Recfishwest Fishing Report 24/05/24 First rule of fishing for cobia...keep an eye out (View)

Fishing Report By Capt. Jake Hiles April 15 2024 - 4/15/2024 7:23:00 PM

Monkey Business 1 #sailfish- 15 x 12 x 6 #yellowfintuna 21 This is very impressive we caught 21 yellow fin tuna between 25 and 40 LBS... (View)

5-22-24 - 5/5/2022 10:24:00 AM

It looks like we’re in a transition period as we head into the Memorial Day weekend. Offshore anglers are catching Dolphin and some Sailfish in (View)

Recfishwest's State-wide Fishing Report 17 May 2024 🎣 - 5/17/2024 4:11:18 AM

96 Recfishwest Newsletter View this email in your browser Recfishwest Fishing Report 17/05/24 How many fish can you count cruising around King (View)

5-15-24 - 5/5/2015 10:18:00 AM

Offshore fishing has turned on of late with good Dolphin activity as well as Sailfish ranging from 90′ to 160′ depending on conditions with wes (View)

Fishing Report - Friday May 17 2024#Sailfish 45-39-28 #Mahi_Mahi 3 of 25 and 30 lbs - 5/17/2024 5:40:15 PM

Look that numbers.. Guatemala always amazing (View)