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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:147787 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

“Double Mahi Mahi and Sailfish Catch: Successful Day” - 4/5/2024 9:35:36 PM

Today was another fantastic day out on the water with Big Eye 2 Sportfishing in beautiful Quepos Costa Rica. Under the expert guidance of Capta (View)

“Successful Catch: 16 Tunas and 1 Sailfish!” - 4/5/2024 9:37:03 PM

Today was another splendid day for sport fishing in the crystal clear waters of Quepos Costa Rica aboard the Big Eye 2. As a professional sport (View)

“Double Sailfish Catch Three Dorados: Successful Day!” - 4/5/2024 9:37:51 PM

What a fantastic day we had on the waters off Quepos Costa Rica aboard Big Eye 2 Sportfishing. As the captain Franklin Araya I am thrilled to r (View)

“Successful Sailfish Catch with Lovely USA Family” - 4/5/2024 9:40:03 PM

Today was another fantastic day on the waters of Quepos Costa Rica aboard the Big Eye 2. As the captain and owner/operator of Big Eye 2 Sportfi (View)

“Two Sailfish and Twelve Tuna: Today’s Big Catch” - 4/7/2024 12:32:13 AM

Today we had another fantastic day of sport fishing off the coast of Quepos Costa Rica aboard the Big Eye 2. I Captain Franklin Araya had the p (View)

“Family Fun Day: 12 Tunas and 1 Sailfish Caught” - 4/12/2024 8:46:45 PM

Today was another fantastic day on the Pacific Ocean with Big Eye 2 Sportfishing in Quepos Costa Rica. I Captain Franklin Araya had the pleasur (View)

Weekend Fishing Outlook (4/12-4/14/24) - 12/4/2014 3:07:00 PM

OFFSHORE- Mixed weather over the week and a questionable forecast headed into the weekend has kept offshore traffic down. A few sailfish guys ha (View)

Recfishwest's State-wide Fishing Report 12 April 2024 🎣 - 4/12/2024 3:02:31 AM

96 Recfishwest Newsletter View this email in your browser Recfishwest Fishing Report 12/04/24 Standard - just your casual weekend in WA surfing (View)

A Very Fishy March - 4/4/2024 11:36:43 AM

Look at that report! January and February tallies were awesome but we also expected March to be strong as well. How strong? you’ll see it shortl (View)

Sailfish Are In Key West - 4/5/2024 11:29:06 AM

April 5th 2024 – The weather is what it is. North winds one day and East the next as the fight between winter and summer prevails daily here in (View)