Sailfish Season is Here: Expert Tips for Catching the Elusive Fish in the Florida Keys

It's that time of year again, when sailfish flock to the waters off the Florida Keys in search of their next meal. These majestic creatures are known for their impressive size and acrobatic leaps, making them a popular target for anglers in the area.

But catching a sailfish is no easy feat. These intelligent fish are known to be savvy and elusive, and can be difficult to hook. That's why we've consulted with local fishing experts to bring you the best tips and strategies for landing a sailfish during your next trip to the Keys.

When to Go:

The sailfish season in the Florida Keys typically runs from November to April, with peak season occurring in January and February. These months offer the best chances of finding sailfish in the area, as the water is cool and clear and the fish are actively feeding.

Where to Look:

Sailfish can be found in a variety of habitats, but they are most commonly found near deep sea drops and channels, where they can access a rich supply of baitfish. Look for areas with a steep drop-off or a channel that runs parallel to the reef. These areas often attract schools of baitfish, which in turn attract sailfish.

What to Use:

When it comes to bait, live ballyhoo is a favorite among local anglers. This small, slender fish is native to the Keys and is a common food source for sailfish. Other effective baits include live pilchards and threadfin herring.

As for tackle, it's important to use a rod and reel with a fast action and a strong backbone, as sailfish are known to put up a fight and can easily break lighter gear. A braided line with a high tensile strength is also recommended, as it allows for a more precise and powerful cast.


One of the most effective techniques for catching sailfish is kite fishing, which involves using a kite to hold the bait in the air above the water. The kite creates a visual disturbance that can attract sailfish from a distance, while the bait dangles below, tempting them to bite.

Another technique is live bait trolling, which involves towing a live baitfish behind the boat at a slow speed. This can be especially effective in areas with a strong current, as the baitfish will swim naturally in the water, making it more attractive to sailfish.

No matter which technique you choose, it's important to be patient and keep a keen eye out for sailfish. These elusive creatures can appear at any moment, so it's important to be ready when they do.

With these tips in mind, you'll be well on your way to landing a sailfish during your next trip to the Florida Keys. Happy fishing!