Sailfish have extremely long bills that are the source of many memories of mine. They are dangerous and need to be tired out properly before bringing them on the boat; but they always have a burst of energy left for fighting you. Their bills can cause some serious injuries and even damage boats. My good friend Brad was holding the leader on one that we had brought boat side. It seemed worn out until he reached for its bill. Suddenly it jumped right at him and speared him in the bicep, leaving about three inches of its bill behind in Brad’s arm. Brad was pretty calm about it. He just looked up at everyone and declared: “I’m ok”. He pulled out the piece of bill and promptly fainted on deck. It was a massive hole and there was an enormous amount of blood. It required a phenomenal number of stitches!
What makes Sailfish fishing in Fort Lauderdale so exhilarating?
Among Fort Lauderdale’s most sought-after game fish, sailfish can reach speeds of nearly 70mph underwater. That is exceptionally fast and quite a feat to combat when hooked on your line. They are breathtakingly beautiful and their aerial displays are simply unrivalled by any other fish. They also swim in schools and we often have several on our lines at one time. Watching them all leaping about should be considered the eighth wonder of the world.
What do Sailfish look like?
Sailfish have elongated bodies, very long bills and a massive dorsal fin along their entire back that looks like the sail from a sailboat. They have gorgeous colors consisting of black backs, blue sides and silver bellies and they are often tinged with stunning green and purple hues.
How big are Sailfish?
These awesome predators average between seven and eight feet in length and frequently exceed just over 100 pounds in weight. They can grow into true giants of the sea and are simply massive.
Where do you find Sailfish in Fort Lauderdale?
We catch them right on the reef, from 60ft of water all the way into the wide open ocean. They prefer deeper waters though and the main body of fish congregate in depths ranging from 100ft to 200ft.
What baits are used for Sailfish?
Live baits such as squid, tuna and small mackerels are irresistible to sailfish. They can be caught on lures and dead baits as well but they are phenomenally intelligent and hard to deceive. You need to mimic the natural movements of their prey fish.
What tackle is used to catch Sailfish?
Sailfish are best caught on light 20lb-30lb conventional and spin tackle. Avoiding heavier tackle when live baiting will allow you to fight them fairly and feel their power better. Dredges and kites are great equipment to use for fooling them.
What methods are used to catch Sailfish?
Ninety percent of sailfish are caught when live baiting. We either kite fish for them or slow troll live baits from the outriggers. The idea is to get them to think our bait is panicking in the water. If using dredges then we want them to think our multiple baits are a school of prey fish.
What are the regulations for Sailfish fishing in Fort Lauderdale?
An angler may harvest one fish per day and it must measure at least 63in from the tip of the nose to the fork of the tail. When it comes to sailfish though, we practice and encourage catch and release.
What is your favorite Sailfish recipe?
These fish are highly sought-after game fish. I prefer to release them as they are prized more for sport than they are for food.