Top Record:
Atlantic: 142 lb 6 oz IGFA Pacific: 221 lb IGFA
Trolling, Fly Fishing, Kite Fishing


The sailfish, Istiophorus platypterus, is found in the tropical and subtropical waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. Divided into two sub-species, Atlantic and Pacific, they’re a favorite target of hardcore saltwater anglers. Considered the fastest fish in the sea, clocked at close to 70 miles per hour, they crush baits with amazing power, put up incredible fights, and often display amazing acrobatic skills when hooked. Sailfish over 100 pounds are not uncommon. They range from near-shore to deep-sea waters, and are often taken while trolling, but can be caught on pitched baits or large flies. Kite fishing is an extremely exciting way to catch them. A boat is typically anchored in blue water, and then a kite is flown downwind with trolling lines attached high above the water in rings. The fishing line runs parallel to the kite string, then drops off to the surface where bait is attached. This mimics schooling fish jumping at the surface, where sailfish tend to feed. Southwest Florida has become a sailfish mecca, but the largest are found off West Africa and the South China Sea. A true trophy fish, their numbers are high, which make them rather accessible to most fisherman working with a good charter captain.