No two words are more exciting for me to say as a captain, than the words “Sail On!!”. It’s just synonymous with the type of fishing that I love the most, Billfish fishing. Whether targeting Marlin, Swordfish, or Sailfish, I am right at home, but I have to say that catching Sailfish on light tackle may be some of the most exciting fishing on the planet. Not to mention, it takes place right in my own backyard. The Atlantic coast of Florida and the Florida Keys boast some of the best Sailfish fishing you can find, all without leaving the states. Sailfish can be caught in these waters year round, but the best of it takes place during the winter and spring time of year.
Targeting these acrobatic masters is nothing short of a poker game, meaning sometimes you can go and get lucky to catch one, but the ones who are good at Sailfish fishing have honed their skills on producing high numbers of catches. The right cards (i.e. bait) and knowing when, and where to play them is key to consistently good Sailfish fishing. Winds, currents, and water quality are all factors that come in to play when deciding where these fish are going to be searching for their next meal. Take for instance yesterday, we had dirty water conditions off the reef edge and large schools of ballyhoo on the reef edge, a perfect scenario for a Sailfish to ambush these tasty morsels. And, with in a few minutes of casting a ballyhoo out in 40 feet of water on the reef edge, we were hooked up to a big feisty Sailfish. However, a few days before, the dirty water had pushed itself out deeper (125 feet) creating a color change in which all of our Sailfish were caught on that edge.
Some times the conditions are less than favorable for Sailfish fishing, but can produce anyway with a great presentation. Bait choice can be a game changer when it comes to putting flags on the riggers. Matching the hatch seems to be one of the best ways of deciding which baits to offer. In the winter months down in the Keys, live ballyhoo is the bait of choice as they are one the most prevalent food sources for Sailfish during this time. Yet, as we get a little further into spring, the ballyhoo get scarce and shad species such as pilchards, herring, and goggle eyes become the top of the list, or the bottom of the food chain, whichever way you look at it. These shad baits are very well presented by kite fishing, which suspends the bait from the kite keeping it right on the surface. This method forces the bait to create vibrations on the surface in which Sailfish can detect from hundreds of feet away. Not only is kite fishing productive, but also exciting as almost all of the bites are in plain sight of everyone onboard.
Sailfish fishing in the on the Outer Limits has been heating up lately and its only going to be getting better. Spring is just around the corner so make plans to come down and put some flags on the riggers! Call Captain Jay now and book direct 305-923-1043