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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:147733 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

Weekend FIshing Outlook (2/23-2/25/24) - 2/22/2024 1:33:48 PM

OFFSHORE- The BIG news this week has been the absolutely EPIC sailfish bite going on! Lots of boats with double digit sail releases including re (View)

BLUE SKIES & BLUE WATER FISHING - 2/21/2024 9:22:32 PM

DONALSON CCA GROUP Fresh out the gate the Beaumont group fished the last couple of days Feb 20-21 and over their 2 days on the water released 1 (View)

Recfishwest's State-wide Fishing Report 16 February 2024 🎣 - 2/16/2024 1:12:10 AM

96 Recfishwest Newsletter View this email in your browser Recfishwest Fishing Report 16/02/24 You know the pelagic action has peaked when you c (View)

Big Eye 2’s Sailfish and Grouper Catch Report - 2/10/2024 9:40:45 AM

Today was another fantastic day out on the waters of Quepos Costa Rica aboard the Big Eye 2 with Captain Franklin Araya. We set out early our e (View)

Feb 3rd Fishing Report Big eye II Quepos Costa Rica - 2/12/2024 1:41:54 PM

Hello Anglers Many fishing charter companies operate along the Pacific coast offering specialized Offshore and Inshore trips. Our charters are (View)

“Triumphant Sailfish Catch and Tuna Triumph in Quepos” - 2/13/2024 7:39:01 AM

Another exciting day on the water with Big Eye 2 Sportfishing in Quepos Costa Rica! As your trusted sport fishing captain Franklin Araya I am t (View)

“Triple Sailfish Catch and Lone Tuna: Today’s Highlights” - 2/13/2024 7:39:47 AM

Today was another exciting day aboard the Big Eye 2 as we ventured out into the deep blue waters off the coast of Quepos Costa Rica. Our fishin (View)

“Four Sailfish Catch: A Memorable Day with Craig Purse” - 2/13/2024 7:41:07 AM

Today was another fantastic day out on the waters of Quepos Costa Rica with Big Eye 2 Sportfishing. We set sail early in the morning ready to t (View)

“Fly Fishing Adventure with Craig: 3 Sailfish Caught!” - 2/16/2024 4:52:36 PM

Today was another fantastic day of fishing here in the beautiful waters of Quepos Costa Rica aboard the Big Eye 2. We were blessed with calm se (View)

Recfishwest's State-wide Fishing Report 9 February 2024 🎣 - 2/9/2024 2:38:44 AM

96 Recfishwest Newsletter View this email in your browser Recfishwest Fishing Report 09/02/24 Up close and personal with a marlin tormenting a (View)