Sailfish Fishing Charters

The Basics of Sailfish Fishing

When taking to the waters for a sailfish fishing charter in Key West, anglers will encounter an abundance of this species. It's a fun species to fish and will jump dramatically out of the water when hooked. Sailfish are migratory, appearing near the Gulf Stream starting in January and running through May and lingering into the summer, with some populations year round. Getting a sailfish on line and seeing them start what is called "tail walking" on the water surface is an amazing thrill. They tend to be found near the 100 fathom line in the warmer waters. In the summer off Florida, sailfish come closer to the surface and move inshore somewhat to spawn.

Sailfish are easy to identify, first because of the large sail-like dorsal fin, and secondly through coloring that helps distinguish them from other billfish. They are dark blue on top, blue to brownish along the side, and have a silver underbelly. The upper jaw is very elongated and looks like a spear. Rapidly growing, they can reach 4-5 feet in length in only a year and it is Florida's state game fish.

What's unique, How They Feed

Sailfish will eat a variety of bait fish. Squid, scads, ballyhoo, blue runners, and pinfish are good bets. The sail is typically down unless the fish is excited or frightened. It's one of the fastest fish in the sea and has been clocked near 70 miles per hour. They will also bring the sail up when feeding, likely using it as a herding tool for feeding on schools of fish. In addition to tail walking, sailfish will thrash their heads dramatically and expend a lot of energy during the fight, sometimes requiring revival techniques prior to releasing.

How We Catch Key West Sailfish

When not out in the open water near the Gulf Stream, sailfish tend to congregate near reef edges and back eddies where color changes are found in the water. They will use the color changes to hide, slipping in and out of the Gulf Stream waters to ambush bait. They can also be spotted herding feeding fish and sometimes driving them into just a few feet of water to make feeding easier. Trolling through the areas or using free live live bait are great tools for catching them.

Book a sailfish fishing charter today! This is an exhilerating experience!