Summertime Sailfish

Many anglers can find an active Sailfish fishery and bite throughout the spring and summer months in the bluewater. Commonly throughout the spring, during the warming water trends and massive migrations of bait, sailfish are commonly found offshore feeding near and around the surface. Many anglers look to target these sailfish in the Gulf waters anywhere from 60ft of water to 200ft of water. These sailfish tend to hang around color changes and tide lines in the Bluewater currents, in exchange with both steep and gradual drop offs of the ocean floor. These contour ledges allow sailfish to carrell and ambush baits within the appropriate thermocline. As warmer waters approach in the later summer months, the sailfish tend to feed more towards the surface. Just like a surface predator they will hold to structure that is on the surface, such as weed lines and floating palettes, feeding on flying fish and baits at the surface. Many of these sailfish are caught on surface structures in 100ft of water or more. Other Circumstances are applicable, for example when there is a prolonged south east wind, this can have sailfish circling large schools of ballyhoo that have been pushed over and displaced from the atlantic currents, in rougher waters. The sailfish will stage and feed on the shallow ledges. Ledges even as shallow as 80ft will hold the displaced ballyhoo, when the water temperatures are still relatively cool and water clarity is moderate. When the sailfish are comfortable staging on the shallow ledges feeding on ballyhoo or cigar minnow bait balls for short periods of time.

Through both the spring and summer sailfish can be easiest to target behind the shrimp boats trawling nets! The sailfish tend to feed on the surface around the discharged by catch, most commonly there tends to be a whole school sailfish feeding on the culled by catch. Sometimes they feed aggressively and other days they feed more docile, the secret to catching these sailfish is having the right bait such as a cigar minnow or even pilchards, a wide spectrum of both small and large live baits will be most effective when dialing in the sailfishes current feeding pattern. Anglers can have much success turning a single catch into multiple catches if they are prepared for the opportunity. Sailfish fishing in the gulf is a blast, there is plenty of opportunity to come tight with a circle hook on sailfish in the gulf from early spring to early fall! Anglers can have plenty of luck fishing behind these shrimp boats all day long.

-Ryan Collins

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