As the winter months take hold here in Southern California, anglers jonesing for a big-game adrenaline rush will often travel far afield in search of their fix. Many anglers choose the long-range boats leaving out of San Diego headed for points south along the coast of Baja Mexico. Others travel even further afield. Central America is a popular destination to target big-game fish like marlin, roosterfish, and sailfish.
The sailfish is considered the cheetah of the ocean, reaching burst speeds of close to 70 mph in order to hunt down its prey. In this article from Fly Life magazine you’ll learn more about this majestic ocean predator and watch a video of them in action.
The Sailfish, is a species of billfish living in warmer sections of all the oceans of the world. They are predominately blue to gray in color and have a characteristic erectile dorsal fin known as a sail, which often stretches the entire length of the back. Another notable characteristic is the elongated bill, resembling that of the swordfish and other marlins. They are therefore described as billfish in sport fishing circles.
Sailfish grow quickly, reaching 3-feet 11-inches to 4-feet 11-inches in length in a single year, and feed on the surface or at mid-depths on smaller pelagic forage fish and squid. Individuals have been clocked at speeds of up to 68 mph, which is one of the highest speeds reliably reported in any water organism. Generally, sailfish do not grow to more than 9.8-feet in length and rarely weigh over 200-pounds
The sail is normally kept folded down and to the side when swimming, but it may be raised when the sailfish feels threatened or excited, making the fish appear much larger than it actually is. This tactic has also been observed during feeding, when a group of sailfish use their sails to “herd” a school of fish or squid.
Photos: SoCal Salty (top); Fly Life magazine (above)