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 Sailfish
(Istiophorus platypterus)


 Distribution & Size

The Sailfish (Istiophorus platypterus) is found around all Florida's coasts.  It is more plentiful along Florida's Atlantic Coast.  In general it is found closer to land than the other billfishes.  The fish averages 30 to 60lbs, but many under 30lbs are caught and a few over 100lbs are taken.  The potential maximum is less than 150lbs in the Atlantic Ocean. 

These old boy's in our photo were rather pleased with their catch. Well they were until I told them it was undersized and illegal. They left the dock pretty quick!

General Information

Unsurpassed in its size range for combined strength and spectacle. What they lack in hard runs is made up for by their aerial acrobatics. Said to be able to swim at speeds of up to 50 mph. Sailfish are a rapidly growing species; they reach 4-5 feet in one year. They feed aggressively on small fish and squid. Off southeast Florida, sailfish move inshore to shallow water and spawn near the surface in summer. Females swim slowly with their dorsal fins above water, accompanied by one or more males when spawning.

 Tackle & Bait

Light trolling or heavy spinning outfits are used.  Light tackle provides incredible sport for the experienced angler.  Historically most Sail fishing has been done with rigged trolling baits. You need at least 200yds of line on your reel otherwise on the first run the Sailfish will strip off everything you have.........you have been warned. Sailfish are an offshore species and are associate with waters near the Gulfstream and near the 100 fathom line. Blue runners, pinfish, mullet, scads, ballyhoo and squid attract cruising sailfish. Sailfish are known for their fast runs, acrobatic jumps and head-shaking attempts to throw a hook. Sailfish tire easily and should be revived after a long fight to ensure their survival. Most anglers release these fish.


 Eating Qualities

Very good broiled or smoked. Fish are only usually kept if inadvertently killed.  Protected commercially. If you had a great fight please return your catch for the enjoyment of others.


ELECTRIC BLUE operates  a POLICY OF CATCH and RELEASE ON ALL BILLFISH.

 State Limits and Regulations

The sailfish is Florida's state saltwater fish. Its name originates from the greatly enlarged first dorsal fin that runs almost the length of its back and is covered with spots.

FLORIDA STATE RECORD is 126lb caught near Big Pine Key and the WORLD RECORD is 221lbs.

 

Size Limit 

Closed Season 

Daily Rec. Bag Limit 

Remarks

63" Over All

None

1 per person per day aggregate billfish bag limit

Measured tip of lower jaw to fork. Illegal to buy or sell. Federal size limits apply. Hook and line only.
HMS Permit required in Federal Waters.
All landed fish must be reported to NOAA within 24hrs on 800-894-5528

FLORIDA FISH
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