Winter Sailfishing in Florida

Jess KContributor IIIFebruary 20, 2011

Catching Sailfish during the winter can be extremely easy if you happen to be fishing anywhere between Key West and West Palm Beach. Here, these fish are abundant and exciting to catch. Anyone interested in catching this species of fish can do so if they find themselves lucky enough to be visiting Florida at this time. All you need to know is listed for you here to help you get started.

  • Sailfish Bait: These fish will respond especially well to ballyhoo. Because of this, it is a good idea to stop just above a reef with a cast net so that you can catch the best bait live. Here, all you will need is a cast or two in order to have enough for your entire trip.
  • Techniques and fishing tips: The best method to catch sailfish is by trolling and skipping the ballyhoo. Since the winter will usually mean that the water is a bit rougher at this time, this method can also be helpful to people with sensitive stomachs as a boat moving forward will usually settle a stomach more than one bouncing aimlessly in the waves.
  • Fishing Locations: The places that you will want to be trolling or drifting around are usually going to be just outside of the edge of the reef where the water is between 95 and 145 feet deep.
  • Using Outriggers: If you do not have any outriggers, all you need is a clothespin rigged onto a spinning rod instead. Outriggers act to allow the bait to spread out and be dropped back as a fish hits the line.
  • Watch for the Fish: Billfish tend to approach the bait, hitting it with their bills. They will then usually turn around and return in order to eat what they consider injured prey. If you do not have any kind of fishing gear that would enable a drop back, you might not be able to catch your bill or sailfish as they will not return for the bait. However, once the fish does return, you will need to implement an extremely strong hook set. This is because the mouths of these fish are extremely hard. Once you have successfully set your hook, you must prepare yourself for chasing down your catch. You can do this by making your way to the front of the boat, fighting from the bow of the vessel.

On days when you are unable to make it out to the water, try out some great online fishing games to keep yourself entertained and your skills sharp.