Florida Sailfish Fishing Charters

Florida Sailfish Fishing Charters

Top Florida Sailfish Fishing Destinations

Best Sailfish Fishing Charters in Florida

Florida: 534 fishing charters available
Excellent
4.9 / 5
(73 reviews)
Miami Beach
 Instant Confirmation
trips from $800
Excellent
4.9 / 5
(36 reviews)
Jacksonville
 Instant Confirmation
trips from $450
Excellent
4.8 / 5
(242 reviews)
Panama City Beach
 Instant Confirmation
Excellent
5.0 / 5
(61 reviews)
Jacksonville
 Instant Confirmation
trips from $550

Sailfish Fishing in Florida

Sailfish
  • Size 40 to 60lbs
  • Food Value Low
  • Game Qualities Good
  • Habitats Offshore

(Istiophorus platypterus)

Few fish can cause as much excitement as the Sailfish Florida has swimming up and down its coasts. Quick and freakishly agile, this predator can swim up to 70 mph and is able to tail-walk 50 feet across water’s surface. It’s no wonder anglers have developed a keen passion for this fish, along with some creative ways to catch him.

You’ll find Sails swimming around Florida throughout various seasons as they migrate along the Gulf Stream, closely followed by anglers who are eager to catch them every step of the way. For those who are hoping to get in on the action, here’s a rough guide to help you follow these majestic predators wherever they roam.

Where to Find Sailfish in Florida

The best Sailfishing in Florida is primarily found in Atlantic waters, especially in the Keys and along the state’s southeast coast. These southern seas offer quick access to the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, along with a couple of other perks which make for prime Sailfish hunting grounds. As they make their way up the Atlantic coast, Sailfish keep swimming farther and farther out from shore. 

The Florida Keys

The middle Keys and the waters surrounding Islamorada are especially productive Sailfishing spots. You’ll find Sails along the Florida Reef just 4 miles from shore. This fish likes to feed near other local reefs, as well, such as the Alligator, Molasses, Conch, Tennessee, and Sombrero Reefs (to name a few).

You’ll also find Sailfish offshore, swimming in the Gulf Stream roughly 10-20 miles from land. Sails are most prevalent in these warm, tropical waters from November to February. They tend to peak in December and January.

Miami

As Florida’s Sailfish make their way north, anglers in Miami have a blast fishing for them just minutes from the dock. Here, the Gulf Stream runs 2-5 miles offshore, bringing Sails within easy reach during winter months. These flamboyant predators peak briefly in November and December, followed by a longer season from February to May.

Stuart

Next up is Stuart, the “Sailfish Capital of the World.” In recent years, the Sailfishing farther south has surpassed prospects in Stuart, but this town still holds on to its title and there’s plenty of reason for anglers to pay a visit.

The Gulf Stream runs 10 miles from shore here, bringing Sailfish through twice a year. You’ll catch a longer run of Sails from November through March, followed by a second peak season in July.

But the real reason why this town got its reputation is the fact that you can also catch Sailfish closer to shore—much closer. The infamous “Sailfish Alley” passes by here on its run from Fort Pierce down to Miami. Fishing boats make a sharp turn out of St Lucie Inlet and head south, often catching 10-15 Sails in a day without even losing sight of the coast. It’s best to hit this Sailfish highway in winter.

Florida’s Central and Northern Atlantic Coast

Following the Gulf Stream north, Sailfish typically reach Florida’s upper coastline by summer and early fall. By the time they make it to St. Augustine, anglers have to travel more than 50 miles offshore to find them. However, the odd Sailfish has been known to turn up at the mouth of St. John’s River and other coastal destination here and there.

The Panhandle

As many Sailfish make their way up the Atlantic Coast, others cruise the waters inside the Gulf of Mexico. If you’re fishing from Florida’s Panhandle, you might encounter a Sail or two just several miles offshore in summer months. The waters around Destin are especially popular for this fish. Anglers even managed to hook a Sailfish while fishing off the Okaloosa Island Pier in Fort Walton Beach.

Florida’s West Coast

You may also run into Sailfish on a deep sea excursion out of Florida’s west coast. Ten to sixteen-hour trips in the Gulf will take you 45+ miles offshore, where Sails and many other predators roam the Bluewater. They reach their peak season here in summer and early fall.

How to Catch Sailfish

There are several ways to catch Sailfish, but kite fishing tends to be the method of choice. Your kite will soar high above but your bait (often Ballyhoo or Mullet) will stay in the water. When the fish bites, your line will pull free from the release clips attached to the kite line. This technique can even catch multiple fish at once.

You can also sight fish, drift fish, or troll for Sailfish. It’s common to troll dead bait or lures at a high speed along the northern Atlantic coast because this method covers more water. South of Jupiter, Sailfish are more common and anglers prefer live baiting for them.

In the shallow water of the Keys, anglers have developed a special technique for targeting packs of this species while they “shower” ballyhoo. As the pack closes in on the Ballyhoo, these baitfish jump and splash the surface, creating a “showering” effect. You can cast a bait (live ballyhoo) into this feeding frenzy for a chance to hook a Sailfish.

If you’re trying to catch a Sailfish from a pier, use a live goggle eye hooked on a bronze 6/0 hook with an 8’ leader of 50 lb test line. Tie a balloon to the connecting swivel and let it float out from the pier.

Florida Sailfish Fishing Seasons

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Seasonality

Sailfish fishing in Florida varies moderately throughout the year. High season is January to February, July and November to December. Low season is April to May and October. There is no closed season.
Florida
Excellent
4.5 / 5
Based on 25,510 reviews by FishingBooker anglers

What anglers said about Sailfish Fishing in Florida

Go with a fishing guide and make sure he knows that you have never fished before.
Excellent
4.3 / 5
Go with a fishing guide and make sure he knows that you have never fished before.
NANCY  S.
NANCY S. Sebastian, FL
Call Captain Brandon at Reel Fishing Charters as he is knowledgeable and professional and provides a great experience.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Call Captain Brandon at Reel Fishing Charters as he is knowledgeable and professional and provides a great experience.
Frank  B.
Frank B. Beaconsfield, QC
We caught a bunch of Spanish Makerel and a few blue fish. The captain knew when and where to catch them and stayed on them when we did.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
We caught a bunch of Spanish Makerel and a few blue fish. The captain knew when and where to catch them and stayed on them when we did.
Kevin  L.
Kevin L. Ottawa, ON
Make sure you bring hat, sunblock, polarized sunglasses, snacks and your own beer if you want.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Make sure you bring hat, sunblock, polarized sunglasses, snacks and your own beer if you want.
Timothy  S.
Timothy S. Hopewell Junction, NY
If you're not from the area, expect it to be real warm and multiple patterns happening at the same time.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
If you're not from the area, expect it to be real warm and multiple patterns happening at the same time.
Chad  W.
Chad W. Murfreesboro, TN
Due to bad memories of seasickness suffered on deep sea fishing trips I took when I was a kid, I chose Lake Clarke Shores and Captain Ricky for my daughter's first fishing trip. Couldn't be more pleased.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Due to bad memories of seasickness suffered on deep sea fishing trips I took when I was a kid, I chose Lake Clarke Shores and Captain Ricky for my daughter's first fishing trip. Couldn't be more pleased.
Eric  N.
Eric N. Pittsburgh, PA
Give the captain details of exactly what you are looking for and make sure they can deliver that experience.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Give the captain details of exactly what you are looking for and make sure they can deliver that experience.
Mark  G.
Mark G. Mount Prospect, IL
Go with David Paycheck, you’ll have a great time and will catch a ton of fish!!!
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Go with David Paycheck, you’ll have a great time and will catch a ton of fish!!!
Kevin  M.
Kevin M. Orlando, FL
Let the captain teach you how to cast, put bait on, and sit back and enjoy!
Excellent
4.3 / 5
Let the captain teach you how to cast, put bait on, and sit back and enjoy!
John  R.
John R. Orange City, FL
Check the weather forecast as it can be somewhat unpredictable in the winter months.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Check the weather forecast as it can be somewhat unpredictable in the winter months.
Peter  B.
Peter B. Santa Clara, California
Talk to the captain about expectations vs. what he thinks he can get you. They are very helpful and work together with other captains to see where they can go to make sure everyone is having fun.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Talk to the captain about expectations vs. what he thinks he can get you. They are very helpful and work together with other captains to see where they can go to make sure everyone is having fun.
Joe  F.
Joe F. Mount Laurel Township, NJ
The fishing here was excellent. Calm water and endless bites. Great for family or those that enjoy reeling in the fish. We didn’t troll today, our preference was for everyone to catch many fish. We caught our limit!
Excellent
5.0 / 5
The fishing here was excellent. Calm water and endless bites. Great for family or those that enjoy reeling in the fish. We didn’t troll today, our preference was for everyone to catch many fish. We caught our limit!
AnnMarie  H.
AnnMarie H. Vienna, VA
Take Dramamine the night before going out, tip that was given to us and we made it through the day well.
Excellent
4.7 / 5
Take Dramamine the night before going out, tip that was given to us and we made it through the day well.
Steve  A.
Steve A. Barton, ND
Be prepared for wet, dry, cool or warm climate. Remember that some days you fish and some days you catch and always remember it is the experience and making memories of a lifetime!
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Be prepared for wet, dry, cool or warm climate. Remember that some days you fish and some days you catch and always remember it is the experience and making memories of a lifetime!
Melinda  B.
Melinda B. Farmington, MO
Get in touch with jump on charters and Captain Benny. You will be very happy
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Get in touch with jump on charters and Captain Benny. You will be very happy
Scott  C.
Scott C. Shawnee Hills, OH
We have fished a few places in SW Florida in the past year. Englewood is a gorgeous community without the hectic feel of Naples or Ft Myers. We had fish on all day long. Would highly recommend to anyone wanting a more laid back fishing day, where you catch a lot of fish, which is more of what my family enjoys.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
We have fished a few places in SW Florida in the past year. Englewood is a gorgeous community without the hectic feel of Naples or Ft Myers. We had fish on all day long. Would highly recommend to anyone wanting a more laid back fishing day, where you catch a lot of fish, which is more of what my family enjoys.
Becky  P.
Becky P. Tice, FL
Don’t hesitate to book a trip in December as the weather is wonderful and the fishing fantastic. Lock it in now and make some memories!
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Don’t hesitate to book a trip in December as the weather is wonderful and the fishing fantastic. Lock it in now and make some memories!
Jason  E.
Jason E. Rocky Mount, NC
Take a lot of shiners, it is a live bait lake. Have fun. Some times Mother Nature changes your plans, but a bad day on a lake is still better than any day at work. (Note) This is the first trip my captain took that he only boated 3 fish.
Excellent
4.7 / 5
Take a lot of shiners, it is a live bait lake. Have fun. Some times Mother Nature changes your plans, but a bad day on a lake is still better than any day at work. (Note) This is the first trip my captain took that he only boated 3 fish.
Melvin  K.
Melvin K. Tremont, PA
Lots of sunshine and beautiful waters - we even saw dolphins. Super easy to get to boat and free parking to boot.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Lots of sunshine and beautiful waters - we even saw dolphins. Super easy to get to boat and free parking to boot.
Julie  M.
Julie M. Rosemount, Minnesota
Being from the north, I truly needed to get some Florida guidance. Go out with a guide.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Being from the north, I truly needed to get some Florida guidance. Go out with a guide.
Larry  O.
Larry O. Delray Beach, FL

Fish Species Similar to Sailfish in Florida