The Atlantic sailfish is commonly pursued here in Florida along the coast. They are found in the Atlantic Oceans and the Caribbean Sea, except for large areas of the central North Atlantic and the central South Atlantic. In Florida, they migrate along the edge of our reef system typically swimming south against the north flowing Gulf Stream current. One of the fastest fish in the ocean, they are a fun fish to catch, commonly launching themselves dramatically out of the water in in an effort to break free.
One of the most effective ways to intercept a sailfish along its migration here is by kite fishing. They typically swim in the top half of the water column sometimes even surfing the swells in the Gulf Stream created by an opposing north wind.
This particular sailfish found its way into my kite spread one morning while fishing my 16ft. Boston Whaler off the coast of Miami. It was a cold November morning and conditions were just light enough where I could venture offshore in my small boat. I was fishing with my friend Ryan who had work to get to by 9:30 am so it was an early start to the day. We went out with the specific intention of harvesting a sailfish for a print.
We left the dock around 4 am and headed to “The Patch,” a small reef cluster that is known to hold baitfish we can fly from the kite. A couple drifts there in the dark produced one of the sailfishes favored baits, the goggle eye. An unexpected catch at this particular reef, we were happy to get them. We caught enough for a couple hours of fishing and headed to the edge of the reef.
There was a steady North West breeze and decent current flowing north so we started drifting shallow so that the wind would blow us offshore. We would start in about 100ft and drift until about 250ft then push back inshore. We did this drift a couple times and it produced a nice blackfin tuna, kingfish, mahi, and finally the one we were after… the sailfish.
Once we had our catch we ran in, Ryan got to work on time work and I went home to spend the rest of the day printing the fish. This is one of only 5 prints I took off the fish and is the last in my collection. I have yet to harvest a sailfish this year.