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

May 1 2021 - 5/1/2021 10:35:05 AM

The Discoverer welcomed Jordan Chastain and his party for fun day of fishing on May 1. After a nice Sailfish release they stayed busy all day wi (View)

May 4 2021 - 5/4/2021 10:42:50 AM

The Explorer and Sean Scully stayed busy on May 4 with a wonderful Sailfish release backed up by a nice-sized Yellowfin Tuna. Awesome work by Ca (View)

April 19 2021 - 4/19/2021 11:35:22 AM

The Explorer delivered a great fishing experiance on April 19. Check out this young angler’s awesome Yellowfin Tuna score. This awesome Sailfish (View)

April 20 2021 - 4/20/2021 10:45:18 AM

Captain Alex posted a banner day with angler Colorado angler Chris Vargoshe. The day’s scorecard was dotted with superb Sailfish releases. The a (View)

April 21 2021 - 4/21/2021 11:13:35 AM

The Harvester stayed hot on the 21st with a nice Double Sailfish release highlighting the trip. For the dinner table they added a tasty Dorado. (View)

April 22 2021 - 4/22/2021 12:59:19 PM

Captain Fico and the Explorer closed out the month of April with a flurry of great catches. In addition to a bunch of nice Sailfish releases the (View)

April 26 2021 - 4/26/2021 2:30:16 PM

Dave Caywood and his family enjoyed a great day on April 26. A nice Sailfish release was augmented by a lovely Yellowfin Tuna. (View)

April 18 2021 - 4/18/2021 3:36:04 PM

The Explorer stayed hot on the 18th with this excellent Sailfish release. (View)

April 19 2021 - 4/19/2021 4:02:49 PM

On April 19 the Harvester stayed on the Yellowfin Tuna bite while also mixing in some super Sailfish releases. Once dinner was safely on ice the (View)

April 19 2021 - 4/19/2021 4:15:05 PM

The Discoverer fought a swarm of Super Sailfish on the 19th. Excellent fish handling means safe live releases for these billfish. What a fun day (View)