Atlantic Sailfish -
What Charter Fishes
When Is Best:
Fall and Winter
About these Fish:
Probably the best known gamefish in the Florida Keys this fighter can reach a weight of 100
pounds; but averages around 50. He is generally found in water over six fathoms. However, it is not
uncommon to find him hunting food in the shallow waters of the reef. Fall and winter are the best
times of year to tangle with a sailfish, but they are caught year-round.
Atlantic sailfish are dark blue to dark blue-violet on top, though when excited they become brighter,
attaining a color some call “electric blue.” The sides are brown-blue fading to silver-white on the
belly. The primary color of the sail dorsal is steel blue. The upper body and the main dorsal fin are
sprinkled with light and dark blue spots. The sides often have powder blue or blue-gray vertical
stripes. Many Pacific sailfish have a gold or copper tint to the gill covers, especially when fatigued.
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.
Sailfish can be found in tropical and warm temperate waters throughout the world, mostly in the
Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. Sailfish are very plentiful off the Daytona coast. In eastern
Pacific waters, they can be found in an area generally running from southern California along the
coast of Mexico to Peru in South America.
Sailfish feed primarily near the surface, though they occasionally dive to deeper water to feed,
depending on where their prey is found. Their diet consists mostly of fish and other sea life found
near the surface and is highly dependent upon location.
Unsurpassed in its size range for combined strength and spectacle. A highly popular target for
sportfishermen, Pacific sailfish are a prized trophy species. Their popularity is a result of the
challenge of catching one using light tackle, their penchant for dramatic leaps out of the water, and
their stunning beauty. Due to declining numbers resulting from overfishing, most sailfish are now
caught and released, though this is not as common off the coast of Mexico and Central America.
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|More helpful Florida Keys and Key West websites:
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Did You Know?
Sailfish can swim 68
miles per hour, faster
than a marlin.