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

June 22 2021 - 6/22/2021 2:05:02 PM

The flagship Wanderer and Patrick Maloney’s group started their week in Nosara with several nice Sailfish releases. They also nabbed a sandwich- (View)

June 22 2021 - 6/22/2021 2:04:00 PM

On June 22 the Discoverer delivered the goods for James Maedel’s family. This super Sailfish releases is a great feat. (View)

Wonderful day fishing Costa Rica Offshore - 6/19/2021 7:18:09 PM

We went out with Kory and the gang and hooked and landed a sailfish as well as 7 Mahi Mahi and 2 Yellowfin tuna…great times The post Wonderful (View)

Sailfish sailfish sailfish offshore in Costa Rica - 6/19/2021 8:05:36 PM

We had a great day offshore managing to catch 5 of 10 sailfish raised and a mahi mahi as well….this is where memories are made The post Sailfis (View)

Father's Day Weekend Fishing Outlook (6/18-6/20/2021) - 6/17/2021 7:14:36 PM

OFFSHORE- Dolphin fishing was a bit spotty this week but overall still good. Best dolphin reports continue to come from 400-600' of water with s (View)

June 15 2021 - 6/15/2021 12:49:22 PM

June 15th was the last day for Dan and Natalie Kenel. Their two-week eight charter campaign yield a bunch of great catches but this send-off Mar (View)

June 15 2021 - 6/15/2021 1:02:15 PM

The Wanderer and anglers from Sam Goodbread’s group kept the rods bent on June 15. An early Sailfish release kicked off the action. Later in the (View)

June 16 2021 - 6/16/2021 12:37:42 PM

On June 16 Charles Upshaw’ scored big on the Harvester. This Sailfish release is clearly the highlight of the session: They also scored a big Ye (View)

June 17 2021 - 6/17/2021 12:46:08 PM

The Explorer pulled double duty on the 17th with Jared Erickson fishing in the morning five hour session. A big Sailfish release was backed up b (View)

June 17 2021 - 6/17/2021 1:57:53 PM

The mega panga Harvester delivered results on the 17th with angler Sam Goodbread reporting fine Sailfish action. Safe released as always by Mate (View)