Sailfish

Sailfish with their broad sail-like dorsal fin and spectacular aerobatics are unmistakable.

Often an angler’s introduction to offshore fishing, sailfish with their broad sail-like dorsal fin and spectacular aerobatics are unmistakable. Found in both the Atlantic and Pacific, the species are the same, though in the Atlantic they average 30 to 60 pounds sometimes topping 100; the Pacific sailfish, found from northern Mexico to Panama, generally run larger, averaging 60 to 80 pounds, and commonly over 100.


On the east coast they’re caught incidentally in summer as far north as New York. In winter and spring a directed fishery throughout Florida and the Keys offers targeted action. Traditionally caught by trolling rigged dead baits or lures, but off South Florida and the Keys, anglers have developed refined methods of live baiting and kite fishing. For sheer numbers, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Panama remain the prime destinations. Live release predominates in this fishery.