Description: The Sailfish is Florida’s state saltwater fish. They are dark blue on top, blue to brown on the sides with a silvery white belly. Sailfish bodies are covered with embedded scales. The upper jaw is elongated in the form of spear and has a greatly enlarged first dorsal fin, in the form of a spectacular sail that runs almost the length of its back and is covered with spots.
Aliases: Sail Fish, Billfish
Habitat: OFFSHORE blue water fish. Sailfish can be found year-round in the Keys.
Tackle Used: Conventional heavy tackle, trolling
Fight: This is a fight you have to experience. A Sailfish will surface the water with its sail fully erect to chase your trolling bait, attempting to stab it with its bill. Once hooked, the Sailfish will jump from the water under “full sail” displaying different colors. Not an experience you’re likely to forget.
Vital Stats: Sailfish grow rapidly, sometimes 4 to 5 feet in a single year. They can grow to 128” and weigh in at 128 lbs. Sailfish swim at speeds up to 50 knots.
State Record: 126 lbs. caught near Big Pine Key
Limits: One fish per harvester per day (aggregate billfish bag limit applies). Sailfish must measure 63” minimum from tip of lower jaw to fork. All landed fish must be reported to NOAA within 24 hours 1-800-894-5528.
Flavor: Poor flavor. This trophy fish is most often released alive.