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Sailfish Sport Fishing PHOTO GALLERY
Islamorada Fishing Charters Florida Keys

Sport fishing for sailfish in Islamorada , Florida Keys is a "thrill."  Hooking a sailfish, watching it tail walk across the water - sometimes right by the boat! – charging off into the horizon sometimes taking +150 yard of line; is something every angler should experience.  Imagine a sailfish, or two or three, fighting over one of your baits ”just 50 feet from the boat!” as we are slow trolling live baits or drifting with a fishing kite.

And unique to the Florida Keys and Islamorada sailfish fishing are two different sailfish conditions. First, sailfish can be “showering ballyhoo,” where you can see shining waves of frantic ballyhoo jumping across the surface as the sailfish are chasing them. We charge up with the boat and throw a couple baits to them hopefully to hook two or more sailfish. And second, if we are lucky, we could fish for “tailing sailfish” on the “powder line.” An unusual condition in the spring, where we sight fish for sailfish (and cobia) as they are surfing the waves from the East into a strong North current with a definitive “powder-blue current line” from the shallows that gets pushed out into the blue water. Here the sailfish surf the waves until they hit the “powder line” then the sailfish follow it. We search the line waiting to cast baits right to a sailfish or more as they come down the “powder line.” It is incredible.  

It does not happen every year, but I am ready for when it does. A number of years ago we had a classic “powder line,” and one day we caught four out of five sailfish on (the fifth sailfish threw the hook right at the boat after a complete fight).  This was a great day for us, because the best two boats out of Bud-n-Mary’s that day caught five sailfish too. Those guys down there are considered some of the best at this, and showed me how to fish this unique sailfish situation. I’m thankful I fished out of there for a couple of years.  

Sailfish fishing on the edge of the reef just 3 ˝ miles offshore with live baits is a very pleasant way to fish. If we are drifting and fishing with a kite, we can fish for sailfish on the surface with the kite and flat lines, and fish for snapper and grouper on the bottom with a bottom rod or a deep jig or both. Also we can catch black fin tuna, kingfish, dolphin, cobia, wahoo, cero mackerel, and even big barracudas while we are drifting or even slow trolling. If the sailfish are showering the ballyhoo we will be slow trolling live baits so we can quickly charge over to the melee of sailfish without having to bring the kite in.    

Even if we are tarpon fishing at the bridges in the spring, I’ll listen to the VHF radio or call a couple offshore charter boats on the cell to get a fish report on the edge. If it’s good we’ll make a run out there. One year, I heard them talking about a whale shark: “it’s over here, now it’s over here.” So what? Well, when you hear that you get your ass over there! Why? Whale sharks usually have lots of cobia following them! You do not radio them to find out where they are.  You do not want more boats in there. I knew just by their voices who they were and what boats to look for. In ten minutes of running from the bridge I could see them.  In one hour my single angler caught five cobia near 30 lbs., and we kept two. That is a great way to wrap up a tarpon fishing trip!