All Florida coasts;
Bahamas; Caribbean Islands. Most plentiful along Florida's Atlantic side
from roughly Fort Pierce through the Keys.
Like the other
Billfishes, the Sailfish is considered an ocean species, but generally
can be found closer to land than the rest, seeming to prefer areas where
coral reefs and/or freshwater runoffs mingle with ocean water. At times,
particularly in Southeast Florida, the Sailfish comes right into the
surf and quite a few have been caught over the years from beaches and
usually dark blue to black; silvery below; vertical stripes often
visible on sides.
Averages 30-60 pounds, but many under 30 pounds and a few up to 100
pounds are also taken. Potential maximum is less than 150 pounds in the
Atlantic Ocean. World record 221 pounds.
RECORD : 116 pounds.
Very good broiled or
smoked, and should be kept if inadvertently killed. Protected
Unsurpassed in its
size range for combined strength and spectacle.
TACKLE AND BAITS:
Light ocean trolling
or heavy spinning outfits with lines up to 30-pound test; 12- and
20-pound lines are adequate in experienced hands and provide great
sport. In Southeast Florida, live-baiting - either by kite fishing or
flat line drifting - has become perhaps the most popular approach to
sail fishing, with Blue Runners, Goggle-eyes, Pilchards or Pinfish being
the common offerings. Historically, most Sail fishing has been done with
rigged trolling baits, mainly Ballyhoo and strips of Bonito or other
small fish. Many Sailfish have been caught on jigs and on drifted
Ballyhoo/jig combinations. Fly casters have also taken them on occasion,
but Atlantic sails do not decoy as readily as their Pacific counterparts
and so fly fishing for them has not become very popular - despite the
fact that science has proclaimed the Sailfish of both oceans to be the
FISHING SYSTEMS: Occasionally Casting;