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Saltwater Fish: Sailfish

SailfishSailfish
Istiophorus platypterus


Distinguishing Markings:

Dark blue on top, brown-blue laterally with a silvery white underbelly; the upper jaw is elongated into a spear.  The first dorsal is greatly enlarged in the form of a sail, with many black spots, its front squared off, highest at its midpoint;.  Pelvic fins are very narrow, reaching almost to the anus; the body is covered with embedded scales, blunt at the end.  The lateral line curves above the pectoral, then straight to the base of the tail.

 

Size: 

Common to 7 feet, over 100 pounds

 

Distribution:

Ranges throughout the Atlantic and Caribbean.

 

Habitat:

Offshore, associated with waters near the Gulf Stream and the 100 foot line

 

Food Preference:

Feeds on the surface or at mid-depths on smaller pelagic fishes and squid

 

Spawning:

Unknown

 

Fishing Tips:

A rapid growing species, reaching 4 to 5 feet in a single year; swims at speeds up to 50 knots.  Caught by trolling at or close to the surface.

 

See Also: