Sail fishing in Florida is an activity sure to get your heart pounding. This saltwater species is known for their acrobatic jumps when they get hooked and they turn a gorgeous color of light blue if excited. There are many opportunities to catch sailfish in Florida, and such fishing can be fun for a day, a week, or a lifetime. Because sailfish are often found in deep water, extensive experience and know-how must be garnered before doing this type of angling on one’s own.
The basics of Florida sail fishing
Sail fishing in Florida is often done out of large, sport-fishing vessels. This is because sailfish live in deep water. Although sailfish are not as huge as other billfish like marlin, they are large and require specialized tackle in order to effectively land them. Someone interested in going after sailfish cannot merely walk into a sporting goods store and procure everything they will need to be successful. So, the best way to get started in sail fishing in Florida is to hire a charter boat with an experienced crew that has all the necessary equipment.
Characterized by their long bill and their flexible dorsal fin (this is considered their “sail”), sailfish are a sought-after sport fish that is pursued throughout the warm, oceanic waters of the world. They are aggressive predators, so the use of large lures or live bait is often the most productive tackle strategy. The best lures will imitate pelagic forage fish or squid. As far as choosing the right live fish to catch sailfish with; it pays to find out what the region’s sailfish typically consume and use that as your bait.
Although those interested in fishing for sailfish will have to rely on others to guide them during their introductory experiences, over time and by spending loads of money, one can procure all the necessary tackle, experience and equipment to go after sailfish on their own. Getting equipped with a worthy saltwater fishing boat and heavy-duty saltwater tackle will take a significant investment, but the use of this equipment has many diverse applications. There are scores of exciting game fish species that can be caught with the use of gear intended for sail fishing.
Choosing a spot in Florida to target sailfish
There are countless charter boat options to choose from when going after sailfish in Florida. The internet is a great tool for learning about the different philosophies of each captain and their crew. Be sure to ask plenty of questions before committing to a particular service. If feasible, talk to others who have sail fished in Florida and see who they recommend.
It is possible to catch sailfish up and down both the east and west coasts of Florida, but the best fishing will be found in the southern half of the state, primarily on the Atlantic Ocean side. This is because sailfish prefer the warmest environment that they can find and they spend most of their time suspended in very deep water. Stuart, Florida is the self-proclaimed sailfish capital of the world, so it would make sense to plan a trip based out of any city from West Palm Beach north to Palm Bay, thus ensuring that you are in the heart of the action.
What to expect on a sail fishing trip
Catching sailfish usually involves trolling techniques. Trolling is when lures or live bait are pulled from behind the boat. Because there is no casting or reeling involved, on days when the fishing is slow, it can get a bit boring. For this reason, it is a good idea to ask your charter boat captain beforehand if there are alternative fishing locations nearby that can provide action if the sail fishing is just not happening. Many other species of fish inhabit the waters where sailfish are found, so there are other options. Plus, it is possible to catch a variety of large fish when trolling for sailfish.
If you are lucky enough to pick a day when the sail fishing is hot, be ready for intense excitement and a frenzy of activity in the cockpit of the boat. Sailfish are extremely fast and their jumping ability will make your heart flutter. Landing just a few of these incredible sport fish will result in sore arms for at least several days.
Going after sailfish is a fun way to spend a day in Florida or an entire vacation to the Sunshine State. While most people will be left with sore muscles and great memories, some hardcore anglers will end up taking it further and buying their own boat. There are few events more exciting in the world of fishing than hanging on to a rod attached to a belligerent billfish intent on getting free. One of the best ways to capture this moment is by embarking on a Florida sail fishing adventure.