Sailfish in Fort Lauderdale traditionally bite in the late fall and early winter months. The sailfish season starts around October and begins to fade off around February. Now, sailfish are swimming around off our coast all year, but those months are just the best to catch them. Well this year, we had an excellent season for sailfish during the summer months of July, August and September. Most of the sailfish that we caught were actually on the drift fishing boats and most were caught on accident. When I say “on accident”, I mean that we weren’t targeting sailfish and caught one anyway. This is the story of a fish we caught last week while drift fishing off Fort Lauderdale. We were fishing in 120′ of water and using dead sardines as bait. We had already caught a bunch of bonitos and few kings that day, but we didn’t expect to get what we did.
Here we were, just drift fishing away. Catching a kingfish here and a bonito there. Occassionally someone fishing the bottom would pull up a nice mutton snapper. Then some guy on the bow yells, “I’ve got a big one on here!” Everyone on the boat kinda says, yeah right, its just another bonito, man. Then he jumps. The sailfish skyrockets out of the water, 20 yards from the boat. Bill first, then the body with the sail erect, until the fish comes completely out of the water and shakes his head from side to side. The fish falls back into the ocean with a crash of saltwater sprayed in all directions. Everyone fishing along the side of the boat stands to attention and points. What a site and what an exhilarating feeling. Thats what makes these fish the most sought after gamefish in the ocean.
The fish knows he’s hooked now, and he strips line off the spool as he takes a run away from the boat. The angler holds the rod tight, his heart is beating a million beats a second and he’s thinking, “God don’t let him break the line. PLEASE!” For most people this is a once in a lifetime experience. A sigh of relief comes over him as he turns the fishes’ head and starts to reel in some of the line he lost. But the fight is not over. The fish charges the boat and jumps again, attempting to shake the hook out of his mouth. At any second the hook could pull and every time the fish jumps, he puts a different angle on the hook in jaw. And that hook is wearing a great big hole that gets bigger with every tug. He’s lucky this time and we get the fish to the boat. The mate leans way over the side and grabs the fish by the bill and heaves him up and over the rails. What a sight. The fish is all lit up with irridescent blue and purple colors. A quick photo of the trophy fish, a pat on the head and a splash for the release.
Everyone on the boat comes over to congratulate the angler on an awesome fish. “Nice job man’, “pretty work buddy”, “good one bro”. An excellent catch, no matter where in the world you are fishing. Sailfish are one of the most sought after gamefish in the world and unless you fish South Florida waters often, catching one is usually a once in a lifetime feat. They call sailfish the ballarina of the sea because of the awesome show of acrobatics they often put on when they are on the line. No other fish fights quite like a sailfish and if your ever lucky enough to catch one, it certainly is a fish for the wall. Good luck out there guys, sailfishing season in Fort Lauderdale hasn’t even started yet this year and they are already biting good. Tight lines…