Notices

Top 20 World Sailfish spots (long thread)

Old 05-05-2006, 07:40 PM
  #1  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location:
Posts: 3,328
Default Top 20 World Sailfish spots (long thread)

I just got this in my mailbox and thought you people might find it informative. Enjoy.



SOUTHEAST FLORIDA, U.S.A.
(Palm Beaches to Ft.Lauderdale)
SCORE: 46

This upscale strip of coastline attracts more than tourists in the winter. Schools of sailfish move in, sometimes in hordes, pursuing ballyhoo. Families who stay ashore will never lack for things to do.

Shots per day (prime season):*
Expect at least two or three shots most days; on exceptional days, look for 15-25 strikes.

Size of fish: *
Not monsters, sails will run 35 or 40 pounds, for the most part, off southeast Florida.

Release: **

Distance to fish: **
Gulf Stream is often just a few miles out; sails often caught a mile or two off the beach -- but at times a run of 20 or 30 miles up or down the coast may be called for, depending where the fish seem to be holding.

Length of prime season:***
While late spring and summer aren't normally peak time, sails are always around, and good days can/do happen any month of the year.

Ocean conditions/weather:**
Lots of lovely, calm days here -- but don't look for best sailfishing then. Sail skippers want winter fronts with strong northeast winds sweeping in; close-set 3- to 5-footers signal "sailfishing weather."

Charter boats, availability/quality/crews:
***
Just about any sort/size charter boat you could want, you'll find. Most crews know their stuff.

Charter boat, cost (per day):
**1/2
Most full-day offshore charters will range from $650-$1,000.

Accommodations: ***
You name it; you'll find it. Lots of pricey hotels but plenty of humbler options as well; even near the beaches, $100-$200 per night will cover a room nicely. Almost limitless eateries abound – ditto for Miami, below.

Other stuff to do:***
Shopping, beaches, nightlife, the Everglades and more – shorebound days need never be boring. Again, the same holds true for Miami.

Travel costs: *
Only an hour or two drive from Miami (though traffic on the freeways can produce peak-time tie-ups).

COZUMEL, MEXICO
SCORE: 57

This Caribbean island, about 28 miles long and 10 miles wide, has long been a hotspot for sailfish, which gather each spring and summer to feed in the channel that separates the island from the mainland. Although Cozumel is the most populated of Mexican islands, much of it remains pristine and is an easily reached, tourist-friendly destination.

Shots per day (prime season): *****
No shortage of sails here: In season, 15 shots make up a pretty typical day. Good days can double or even triple that.

Size of fish: ***
Lots of sails in the 50- to 60-pound range (often running a bit smaller early on and larger toward season's end).

Release: *
While most sails are released, it's not always automatic; the release-minded angler may do well to get this issue squared away with a skipper ahead of time.

Distance to fish: ***
A run of 10 to 12 miles is standard, generally off the Yucatan side of the channel between the mainland and "Coz."

Length of prime season:**
May through September is prime period; May is usually a top month.(Historically March through June offered the peak period, but in recent years that seems to have shifted.)

Ocean conditions/weather:*
If you want flat-water fishing, better look elsewhere. Coz has great sail action, but typically in 12- to 25-knot winds pushing close-set 6-footers or better. Also, when fishing just off the Yucatan drop-off and close to shore, boats work nearly in the breakers, so it really becomes rock-'n-roll time. But the Cozumel regulars insist the sail action is so fast, they never have time to give sea conditions a second thought.

Charter boats, availability/quality/crews: ** Roughly 30 or so charter boats on hand, most of them pretty good with crews to match.

Charter boats, cost (per day):*
Figure $500/day to charter an offshore boat (though you can easily pay up to two to three times that for a top-of-the-line sport-fishing yacht down from the States for the high season).

Accommodations: ***
Great choice of lodging here with prices to match, from 35 bucks or so (in town) per night to 200-plus (on the water). Ditto on meals-- $15 will get you all the local food you can eat, but if you want to spend $50 or more, you can do that, too.

Other stuff to do: ***
Reef and cave diving, Mayan ruins, jungle tours and nature reserves, nightlife, shopping, sky diving.

Travel costs: ***
Best coach price we found: $640.


MIAMI, U.S.A.
SCORE: 47

It's hard to forget the sight of sailfish balling bait virtually in the shadow of South Beach's pastel high-rise hotels. True, some days you'll work for your sails, but a good shot at a world-class day within an hour or less of Government Cut makes Miami a good bet for serious sailfish action.

Shots per day (prime season):*
Hoping for three or so shots is completely realistic on the theoretically average day -- but so are 15 to 20 shots on outstanding days, which do happen here in the winter.

Size of fish: **
More often than not, sails you release off Miami will be less than 50 pounds.

Release: **

Distance to fish: **
Charters find sailfish action within a few miles from shore though, as for the Palm Beaches, a north-south run of five to 20 miles maybe warranted.

Length of prime season:***
Best chances for excellent sailfishing come during the winter and spring, but as for the southeast coast above Miami, sails can be encountered throughout the year -- even during August and September when sails may turn up in 1,000 feet, balling sardines. However, if sailfish action is what you're after, book your trip for March or April -- when it's hard to go wrong.

Ocean conditions/weather:**
See the description for the southeast coast, above; pretty much the same applies for Miami.

Charter boats, availability/quality/crews: ***
You can find pretty much whatever you might want at docks from Haulover north Miami Beach) to Miami Beach, downtown Miami(Bayside) and Key Biscayne. Good chance you'll do some serious kite fishing, which, for many boats, has become a productive, popular method to nail sails.

Charter boats, cost (per day):**
Figure on spending $700-$800 for larger, all-day charters out of Miami, or you can hire one of the fast, well-equipped center-console or walk-around charter boats skippered by some of Miami's best for $500-$600.

Accommodations: ***
No destination offers a greater selection of hotels and motels, from flophouse to presidential suite. You should be able to find reasonable accommodations for under $100, especially if you look inland a bit, away from the beaches.

Other stuff to do: ***
Whaddya, kidding? Professional sports, beaches, golf, NASCAR races, South Beach's Art Deco district, boat shows, snorkeling, bonefishing, the Everglades, art festivals and on and on. It's Miami!

Travel costs: *

LA GUAIRA, VENEZUELA
SCORE: 37

While famed La Guaira Bank won't normally provide the nonstop sailfish action available elsewhere, it surely has its days, and these can occur any month of the year. La Guaira does provide some of the best opportunities in the world to couple sailfish with other billfish (blue marlin, white marlin, broadbill) to make for slam catches or even grand slams.

Shots per day (prime season):*
A couple shots at sails would represent a pretty normal day, though certainly double-digit days do occur.

Size of fish: **
Sails here will average 45 pounds or so though once in a while fish closer to 80 pounds will be released.

Release: **

Distance to fish: ***
It's 12 to 16 miles to La Guaira Bank, depending at which end of the bank you start fishing.

Length of prime season:***
You'll catch sails here throughout the year -- there is no specific peak time; some years, sails occasionally show up in unusually large numbers for short periods.

Ocean conditions/weather:*
La Guaira is famed for billfish, not calm seas. Although the ocean may become tranquil off the northern Venezuelan coast at times, be prepared for a pretty rugged sea.

Charter boats, availability/quality/crews: ** Boats available for charter vary from 20 or so to 35; the lower figure is more likely during spring since that's blue-marlin season and fewer boats are willing to charter then. Local crews are mostly well versed in both light-tackle and fly fishing for sails.

Charter boats, cost (per day): 21/2*
Charter boats from 35 to 60 feet will range from $650-$1,400 per day.

Accommodations: ***
Excellent hotels nearby; while rates will run about $160 per night, much better deals are available as part of package fishing trips.

Other stuff to do: **
Shopping and dining are available in Caracas, about a half-hour from the marina. Some anglers enjoy the nightclubs in the city, as well.

Travel costs: **
Figure $500-$600 much of the time as a good coach price from Miami.

CANCUN/ISLA MUJERES, MEXICO
SCORE: 53

The top of the Yucatan peninsula offers reliable sailfishing in the morning and a chance to explore Mayan ruins in the afternoon, if that's your thing. A short flight from Miami, it's a favorite Caribbean destination among many blue-water fishermen who also find good marlin fishing here.

Shots per day (prime season): ****
With a little effort and luck, you'll realize seven to 10 shots a day; with a little more effort and a good dose of luck, you may well enjoy 10 to 40 shots.

Size of fish: *
Most sails here run 30 to 50 pounds, but much larger fish can be found -- witness the women's 12-pound line-class record of 112 pounds, which has stood since it was caught off Cancun in 1979.

Release: **

Distance to fish: **
An average run is five or so miles, though good action may start a couple miles from the dock -- or as much as 40 miles on some days.

Length of prime season:***
January through June offers the best chances, with April and May the historical peak; however, during the last couple seasons, January through March -- weather permitting -- saw great sailfish activity out of Cancun. Don't look for numbers of sails in summer and fall, but they are around -- and so are (better numbers of) marlin: A number of grand slams and even some double-grands have been taken during these months.

Ocean conditions/weather: **
Early-season fishing usually means brisk northerlies, hard seas --and good action. By April, things tend to calm (with seas coming down to 3 feet on a typical day). By May, the sun often rises over a flat ocean.

Charter boats, availability/quality/crews: ** Besides a dozen or so Mexican boats, in season you'll find American boats that charter also. A few boast good fly-fishing skills, such as the charter Keen M, which has guided anglers to fly-rod records. (Two sails on fly hold world records from these waters, including a 71-8 on men's 8-pound tippet.)

Charter boats, cost (per day):**
Local boats will run $500-$900 for the day; larger American boats will cost well into four figures.

Accommodations: ***
You'll find plenty of first-rate hotels here in the $100-$300 range but also perfectly adequate rooms for as little as $55 per night and plenty of restaurants from Domino's Pizza to upscale Mexican cuisine.

Other stuff to do: ***
Plenty of options -- similar to those listed for Cozumel.

Travel costs: **
Rates similar to Cozumel; served by several major and a number of regional airlines.

EAST CAPE, BAJA, MEXICO
SCORE: 55

While it is growing, the East Cape -- some 50 miles north of Cabo – retains much of its sleepy, unspoiled character. Good prices, great fishing and hospitable residents have created a clientele hardcore in their loyalty. Sailfishing peaks, conveniently, when the best numbers of big marlin -- blues and blacks -- prowl the warm Sea of Cortez waters here.

Shots per day (prime season):**
Look for three to five shots most days, during best sailfish months-- but up to 15 on an exceptional day. Also, chances are good in the heat of summer for blue marlin and a wide-open bite on school yellowfin tuna.

Size of fish: ****
The average sail off the East Cape will run well into three digits. A massive 192-pounder remains the women's 50-pound line-class world record since its capture off La Paz, just north of the East Cape, in 1950.

Release: *
Many skippers/fleets wouldn't dream of keeping a sailfish – but not all think that way yet, so it's best to ask beforehand.

Distance to fish: *
I've seen sleeper sailfish barely off the beach; a run of four or five miles will do the job as a rule though sometimes up to a 20-mile run will be necessary.

Length of prime season: **
June through October will offer best sailfish sightings, with the sizzling months of July and September often just as red-hot for sails.

Ocean conditions/weather:***
Generally light seas, and by August, often nonexistent, especially in the mornings. (However, hurricanes are more likely during the hot months, and they can rough things up pretty well for a day or wo.)

Charter boats, availability/quality/crews: ***
In all, the East Cape charter fleet, including super pangas, probably consists of 200 or so boats. The "cruisers," mostly 28- to 34-foot flybridge convertibles, are adequate if not always outstanding. Crews vary in their ability to speak English or tease sails to the fly, so check around.

Charter boats, cost (per day):*
Hard to beat the charter rate here; for a full day (usually from around 7 or 8 a.m. to 3 or 4 p.m.), you'll pay no more than $300 or$400 for a cruiser -- and only about half that for a (perfectly adequate) super panga.

Accommodations: ***
Quite a few hotels up and down the coast here offer a variety of rooms from $100-$300 or so per night; meals are often included in these rates, but there are also plenty of eateries around where $5-$20 will buy you dinner.

Other stuff to do: *
Not a lot beyond the beach and water-sports, including diving/snorkeling, though some enjoy desert horseback outings.

Travel costs: **
With a 50-mile taxi ride from Cabo, figure $600-$800 from Miami -- however, those flying out of Los Angeles can pay less than half that amount.

IXTAPA-ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO
SCORE: 60

Tucked in beneath the rugged Sierra Madre range, Zihuatanejo and Ixtapa combine a laid-back vacation setting with super prices and some of the best sailfishing this side of Guatemala.

Shots per day (prime season):*****
When conditions are right, 15 to 20 shots per day are likely, but 30-shot days aren't unusual, either.

Size of fish: *
Although sails can be abundant, they're not large, most often running 35 to 40 pounds.

Release: **

Distance to fish: **
A run of 10 miles or so is fairly typical.

Length of prime season: ***
December through May.

Ocean conditions/weather: ***
If you like it calm, the Pacific off Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo is hard to beat; seas more than a couple feet are the exception.

Charter boats, availability/quality/crews:*
While only a few full-time charters operate out of Ixtapa, you'll find another 40 or so in Zihuatanejo, including both small convertibles and pangas.

Charter boats, cost (per day): *
Like Mazatlan, charter rates of $300 or a bit more per day are pretty hard to beat anywhere.

Accommodations: ***
Zihuatanejo and Ixtapa offer an impressive diversity of hotels, from one to five stars, with rates as low as $60 or so per night to as much as $400-plus.

Other stuff to do: **
Again, great beaches, diving and an 18-hole golf course offer diversions.

Travel costs: **
Here, too, $700-$800 is a likely coach rate from Miami.

MAZATLAN, MEXICO
SCORE: 48

Across the Sea of Cortez from and slightly south of Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan may receive less attention, but can offer world-class billfishing -- and at bargain-basement prices.

Shots per day (prime season): **
You could figure on a half-dozen shots on average during the sailfish season, and you wouldn't be far off most days.

Size of fish: ***
Pacific sails in this area average 70 pounds. They do get a good bit larger, however -- witness the 198-pound monster taken here in 1954, still the men's 80-pound line-class world record.

Release: *
Some Mazatlan charter fleets release all billfish. While not all charters automatically release sails, most will comply with anglers who request release.

Distance to fish: ***
A run of 15 or so miles will put you in prime sailfish grounds.

Length of prime season:***
While in most areas, sailfish season runs for several months continuously. Prime months are split here, with May-June and November-December the best bets.

Ocean conditions/weather:***
Rough weather's the exception here; most often, the ocean varies from calm to a light sea.

Charter boats, availability/quality/crews: ** Convertibles in the 28- to 33-footrange have generally very experienced crews.

Charter boats, cost (per day):*
At $350-$400 per day, Mazatlan charter boats offer one of the Pacific's best blue-water fishing bargains.

Accommodations: ***
Again, Mazatlan lodging is a steal, at $60-$120 per night for a variety of rooms from adequate to excellent. Throw in a good dinner for 10 or 12 bucks, and what's not to like?

Other stuff to do: **
Great shopping and dining in town; extensive beaches (with some good roosterfish action along them).

Travel costs: **
While better deals are more likely out of Los Angeles or Houston, from Miami you'll likely spend $700-$800.

IZTAPA, GUATEMALA
SCORE: 62

No place onearth has received as much press for its sailfishing as this little seaport of 10,000 people on the southern Guatemalan coast. Fishing is generally so productive that perhaps the greatest danger is overexpectation: Even Iztapa has its slow days, requiring long runs for just a few sails. But that's not the norm. Go with a buddy, and you'll pay about three grand to fish three full days out of Fins 'n Feathers Inn -- a fair market value, apparently, since the operation keeps very busy.

Shots per day (prime season):******
The numbers say it all: 20-shot days are run-of-the-mill (not according to rough estimates, but from figures in captains' logs -- see for yourself at www.artmarina.com/guatemala/records/records.);40 to 50 per boat is an excellent day; but figure 60 to nearly 100 for real bragging rights here.

Size of fish: ****
Figure 75 pounds or so for a realistic average though some do top the century mark.

Release: **
Release of sails is a no-brainer in Guatemala. Don't forget, this is the epicenter of circle-hook catch-and-release fishing.

Distance to fish: ****
While a run of just 10 to 20 miles may be enough during the summer, don't be surprised at other times to run 30 or 40 miles – or more.

Length of prime season: ***
Although traditional wisdom suggested that summer was less productive for billfish, in recent years, skippers like Ron Hamlin have proven every day of every month can be prime season for sails off Iztapa.

Ocean conditions/weather: ***
Outside of the occasional cold front that pushes down during the winter months or the odd tropical wave in the summer, the seas of Guatemala are normally remarkably flat.

Charter boats, availability/quality/crews: ***
The charter fleet of small convertibles -- both American and Guatemalan -- offers well-maintained, serious fishing machines. Crews have had ample chance to gain experience, and most are ready to help clients battle light-tackle or fly-rod sails.

Charter boats, cost (per day): ***
This is no Mazatlan or Zihuatanejo; in fact, you'll pay about three times the bargain rate there, with a day charter costing$900-$1,250 or more. For a three-day fishing trip, you'll pay about $2,600 as part of a group of three or about $3,000 with one partner. Those prices include boat, room, meals and air/ground transportation from Miami.

Accommodations: **
Locally, not much in the way of hotels; however, Fins 'n Feathers Inn offers packages that include its first-rate rooms and great meals.

Other stuff to do: *
It's a good thing fishing's so fast because there's really not muchelse to do down here.

Travel costs: **
You can get to Guatemala City from Miami for $400-$500. The 60-mileground transfer ride to Iztapa runs a hundred bucks round-trip. Photo: Roy's Zancudo Lodge, Costa Rica

FLAMINGO, QUEPOS & GOLFITO - COSTA RICA
SCORE: 57

For many anglers, Costa Rica is hard to beat as a sailfish destination, with hotspots off the Western part of the country (Flamingo and Quepos) and along the Southern Pacific Coast. Timing is important, as seasons run fairly short. A number of fly-rod experts targeted Quepos sails in the 1990s, resulting in seven of 14 tippet-class records caught here, including three over 100 pounds, the largest 128 1/2 on 20-pound (men's, 1993). The Golfito area -- at the southernmost portion of Costa Rica, just, above Panama -- also offers outstanding sailfish action.

Shots per day (prime season): ****
During peak sailfish season, 10 to 15 shots per day is a reason able expectation. Look to double that on exceptional days.

Size of fish: ***
While these Pacific sails may be as small as 30 or as large as 130, they'll typically run roughly midway between those extremes.

Release: **

Distance to fish: ***
Most often, a run of 12 to 15 miles offshore will suffice for sails, but when blue water moves farther out, the run might be twice that.

Length of prime season:**
The season's pretty short in each area (though the sails move up or down the coast, so Flamingo and Quepos together share about a six-month season): February through April out of Quepos and, up the coast, June through August out of Flamingo. To the south, in Golfito, the peak season for sailfish is December through April.

Ocean conditions/weather:**
Flamingo sees some pretty rugged seas in the winter months – but much calmer in the summer when the sails move up. The Pacific off Quepos tends to be more welcoming. The weather off Costa Rica’s Southern Pacific Coast (Golfito) is typically ideal for spotting and taking on sails from December through April, prior to the area’s rainy season.

Charter boats, availability/quality/crews: ***
With roughly 60 or 70 boats operating out of both Flamingo and Quepos, one has plenty of small and large convertibles from which to choose. Crews will vary, but many are top notch. The Golfito area resorts, such as Crocodile Bay Lodge and the smaller Roy’s Zancudo Resort, have their own sportfishing fleets.

Charter boats, cost (per day):**
You can typically book a 31-footer for $650-$800, larger boats for considerably more. Charter boats in Golfito are generally included in the all-inclusive fishing packages offered by the region’s lodges and resorts.

Accommodations: ***
Good variety of hotels, mostly in the $100-$130 range. You'll probably pay $12-$25 for dinner. All-inclusive packages at the Golfito area resorts/lodges (including fishing/meals) start at about $2,500 (double occupancy).

Other stuff to do: **
Explore the Arenal Volcano park or great beaches (with some great near-shore fishing), hike the forest or ride horses through it, or white-water raft jungle rivers.

Travel costs: *
Typically low rates from Miami to San Jose will get you there, coach, for $400 or so; for another $150 or so you can fly on to Quepos, Flamingo or Golfito.


PI'AS BAY, PANAMA
SCORE: 50

Good fishing for big sails (no place holds more world records for Pacific sails) with tremendous fishing for blue and black marlin in the offing help Pi’as Bay, just 35 miles north of the Colombian border, rank high among prime sailfish spots.

Shots per day (prime season): **
You should expect at least a half-dozen shots and 15 or so on a very good day.

Size of fish: ****
Big, averaging 75 to 100 pounds -- world-record big, as in five conventional line-class world records for Pacific sails: 141 1/2pounds (men's 4-pound class, 1992), 171 1/2 pounds (men's 12-pound, 1976), 116 pounds, 4 ounces (women's 6-pound, 1975), 130 pounds (women's 8-pound, 1985) and a whopping 199 pounds (women's 80-pound in 1968). Add to that one amazing fly record of 136 pounds on 12-pound tippet (men's) by Stu Apte in 1965.

Release: **

Distance to fish: **
Expect a run of just four to 10 miles.

Length of prime season:***
Best sailfishing occurs during the first half of each year (January through June) but often doesn't get red-hot until April.

Ocean conditions/weather: **
Seas can vary considerably, depending upon season and conditions, from calm to fairly rough. May and June offer the calmest weather during peak sailfishing.

Charter boats, availability/quality/crews: *** Tropic Star Lodge features 11 of theBertram 31s so popular along Pacific ports. You'll find crews responsive and very experienced. Also a few private charters available.

Charter boats, cost (per day):***
For a six-day fishing trip at Tropic Star, you'll pay about $2,700in a group of three or about $3,400 with a partner; that will include boat, lodging and meals.

Accommodations: ***
Very comfortable at Tropic Star.

Other stuff to do: **
Mostly fishing, though you can dive, kayak, explore La Playa Blanca(aptly named "White Beach&quot, hike through the mountain jungle or take a cruise upriver when tides permit.

Travel costs: **
You can get to Panama City from Miami for $400 or a bit more, but you'll need $315 for the air charter to the landing strip at Pi'as Bay.

FIJI
SCORE: 47

This fascinating Melanesian country boasts more than 300 islands. Its winter (summer in our hemisphere) offers a good chance to tangle with big sailfish.

Shots per day (prime season):**
Three to five should be about right on average days.

Size of fish: ****
Big: commonly 125 to as much as 160 pounds. The 189-poundworld-record Pacific sail in the women's 130-pound class was taken here in 1967, and sails well over 200 pounds have been landed.

Release: *
Fortunately, local crews aren't wild about keeping sails for food, though anglers may want to make clear in advance their interest in releasing.

Distance to fish: *
Not far -- often just a mile or two, where the reef edge (which sails frequent) drops off sharply. In fact, fishermen after reef fish such as snapper hook sails on occasion.

Length of prime season: ***
All the way from April through December will produce good sail action -- though June through September will be the peak.

Ocean conditions/weather: *
From July through November you can generally count on the steady southeasterly trade winds of 15 to 20 knots kicking up 3- to 5-footseas; it gets trickier when the winds blow against the currents that run between islands.

Charter boats, availability/quality/crews: **
A dozen or perhaps 15 good charter boats are available full time in addition to smaller, open boats. Knowledgeable crews aren't always the norm, here, though they are learning.

Charter boats, cost (per day):*
Rates remain pretty decent: $400-$600 per day will get you a charter.

Accommodations: ***
For $60-$80 per night, you can find plenty of very decent accommodations (though more pricey, five-star digs can be had on some of the more secluded islands). Eight to 12 bucks will buy you some great dinners.

Other stuff to do: **
The tourism industry remains pretty basic, but besides fishing, there are opportunities to enjoy the culture of a friendly people-- plus great beaches and surfing, incredible snorkeling and diving, jungle mountains and waterfalls and great light-tackle variety fishing.

Travel costs: ****
You'll pay $1,400-$1,800 or more for this trip out of Los Angeles on Air Pacific, New Zealand or Qantas.

DUBAI, UNITED ARABEMIRATES
SCORE: 42

Hard to imagine a more fascinating place in the world to pursue sailfish than just off the dunes of the Middle Eastern desert. It's not likely to be a major destination on every sailfish enthusiast's "must" list, but for numbers and size, Dubai's the real thing. However, until current unrest in the Middle East abates, this might be one best left on the "future" list.

Shots per day (prime season):*
Expect three or so shots, but a 20-shot day is entirely possible.

Size of fish: ****
These are big sails -- unusually fat sails, according to visiting anglers -- and will average 70 to 80 pounds.

Release: **

Distance to fish: ****
No short runs, here. The amazingly shallow Persian Gulf requires a run of 25 to 30 miles to find fish (and even out there it's just over 100 or so feet of water).

Length of prime season:***
September through March; forget spring and summer when the Gulf water temperature heats up to something only a little less than full boil.

Ocean conditions/weather:***
Glassy, calm seas usually make the run to the sailfish grounds a pleasure; only the odd hard blow off the desert roughs things upfor a day or two.

Charter boats, availability/quality/crews: **
Up to eight charters may be available to take anglers sailfishing out of Dubai -- nothing fancy but at least adequate and often well equipped. Crews vary, but many know what to do.

Charter boats, cost (per day):*
On better boats, $550 per day is the going rate -- considering the long run, not a bad price.

Accommodations: ***
No shortage of facilities here, from basic "self-catering" apartments at $40 per night, to $80 bed-and-breakfasts to much fancier hotels. (You want fancy? Try the presidential suite at the Burj al Arab -- for a mere $15,000 per night.) You can get a decent dinner for $10-$20.

Other stuff to do: **
Great shopping, interesting food, chance to ride camels and event our an "authentic" desert Bedouin camp. (Those quotation marks are there for a reason.)

Travel costs:*** *
You'll probably invest a couple thousand or a bit more into a trip to Dubai.

PHUKET, THAILAND
SCORE: 44

Exotic, distant, different -- all this and sailfishing, too! The fishery is still pretty limited in facilities and interest, but lots and lots of sails prowl Thai waters off Phuket.

Shots per day (prime season): ***
Six to 10 shots per day wouldn't be unusual; 15 to 30 (especially at destinations farther from Phuket) constitute a really good day.

Size of fish: ***
Sails from 50 to 60 pounds represent a rough average, but they can run as large as 120.

Release: *
Check it out before you fish: Some charters release all their sails; others plan to keep them.

Distance to fish: ***
A run of about 16 miles is required from Phuket to the closest productive sailfish grounds; best action is at Koh Rok, but that's60 miles out.

Length of prime season:***
July through December most reliably; sometimes good sailfishing occurs during spring and summer, as well.

Ocean conditions/weather: **
During the summer monsoon season, June through September, expect lots of rain and rough seas; however, fishing can often be in the lee of islands. From October on, the weather tends to be sunny and mostly calm.

Charter boats, availability/quality/crews: *
You'll find 15 or so charters in Phuket, varying from poor to (a few) quite good. Some crews speak English; many do not. Some crews understand the nuances of serious light-tackle fishing for sails; many do not.

Charter boats, cost (per day):**
Just as the quality of boats varies, rates will range considerably, from $200-$600.

Accommodations: ***
You name it; you'll find it here and at just about any price you want to pay, from 10 bucks to 2,000! Ten or 12 bucks will get you great dinners.

Other stuff to do: ***
Yes, there's fabulous diving and championship golf (where you might bump elbows with Tiger Woods), and you can sample the country's wilder side, from riding elephants to the legendary nightlife.

Travel costs: ****
A couple grand, give or take.

DAKAR, SENEGAL
SCORE: 43

Senegal offers not only numbers of sails but some of the biggest in the Atlantic, per the seven world records from these waters, one over 100 pounds and another an ounce shy of that mark. And it is, for those in the eastern U.S., one of Africa's more accessible sailfish hotspots.

Shots per day (prime season):**
An honest average would be a half-dozen shots in a day, but over twice that number happens regularly.

Size of fish: ***
The typical sail will run 50 to 60 pounds -- but there are plenty of bigger sails to be had, witness eight world records (82 pounds, 7ounces for men's 2-pound class in 1990,89-15 in mens' 4-pound, 90-13 in women's 6-pound, 99-13 and 99-15 tie in women's 16-poundand 62-14 in women's 16-pound tippet).

Release: *
Some will, some won't; some do, some don't. Find out in advance.

Distance to fish: ***
A 15-mile run will put you in the best sailfish grounds, most of the time.

Length of prime season:**
Sails usually show up just after blue marlin, usually by the middle of June, and will be around in good numbers through October.

Ocean conditions/weather:***
Seas are a seldom problem during sailfish season, though it is the rainy period - a good foul-weather jacket can be handy.

Charter boats, availability/quality/crews: **
Small flybridge boats from several sources up to 31-foot Bertrams, many with experienced crews; Saly Fishing club offers Bertrams and center-console outboards.

Charter boats, cost (per day):*
Hard to beat the going rate of $350 or so per day.

Accommodations:***
Good variety of hotels in Dakar from $70 or so per night to $200-plus and great meals for $5 to $15. You can arrange a full package deal, including accommodations, meals and charters, from Saly Fishing Club, about 50 miles from Dakar.

Other stuff to do:*
Shopping, sightseeing, festivals - but best to have a trusted local "guide" along with you.

NOSSI BE, MADAGASCAR
SCORE: 51

Nossi Be (also spelled Nosy Be) means "big island" in Malagasy -- but it's the dozens of tiny islets around Nossi Be that actually make it appear big. Situated at the northwest corner of Madagascar, it faces Mozambique, across the Mozambique Channel, the edges of which sailfish patrol in numbers. Towering above this unique sailfish spot is Mt. Maromokofro at 9,450 feet.

Shots per day (prime season):***
It's not unusual to get several shots per day at sails year-round; however, during peak months you're likely to average seven or so, and on particularly good days, up to 20.

Size of fish: ***
Look for Indian sails here to average 70 to 75 pounds.

Release: *
Charter crews, once unhappy at the idea of releasing food fish like sails, are becoming more receptive to the concept; the abundance of reef fish helps ease such requests.

Distance to fish: *
No distance -- much of the time, you'll have lines out within a mile or two of the beach.

Length of prime season: ***
It's really pretty prime here all year, but sails invade en masse from May through November.

Ocean conditions/weather:***
While there will always be exceptions, most of the time the sea is amazingly flat here. In part that has much to do with the fact that Nossi Be is protected by high mountains to the east, from which most weather originates.

Charter boats, availability/quality/crews: **
You'll spend roughly $700 for an all-day charter on a larger boat; smaller open boats cost about half that amount. While they're roomy and comfortable, the 45-foot Mauritian-built craft may lack some of the sophisticated touches of expensive Western yachts. Most skippers and crew are local; their lack of longtime experience in big-game fishing may be evident, and unfortunately, most speak little English. However, the knowledge of South African light-tackle and fly enthusiasts who come here to fish is beginning to rub off.

Charter boats, cost (per day): **
Rates here are about the same as for Kenyan charters -- $700 (or$350 or so for smaller open boats).

Accommodations: ***
The single lodge that caters to anglers, Beach camp is good but not luxurious, with eight thatched huts under coconut palms right a thigh-tide mark. The owner has deliberately eschewed electricity to keep with a very comfortable desert-island experience. The food is outrageous. And it's all for $60 per night!

Other stuff to do: **
Snorkeling, unspoiled beaches and jungles with fabulous wildlife --but when you're not fishing, don't look for more than that at Nossi Be.

Travel costs: ****
It may be only 60 bucks a night at Beach camp, but it's a bit more to get there: $3,500 and up.

MALINDI, KENYA
SCORE: 48

A world apart and an ocean away, Kenya offers anglers the chance to catch Indian Ocean sails just off the east African coast.

Shots per day (prime season):**
You're likely to get a chance to hook four sails here on an average day during the best months, but on a very good day that figure could rise to 20.

Size of fish: ***
Average fish will run 55 to 60 pounds, but bigger fish will be taken.

Release: **
Releasing sailfish is common, and tagging is widespread among charter fleet.

Distance to fish: *
Barely offshore -- a run of a mile or two, or perhaps three, is all it takes most of the time.

Length of prime season:**
November and December are best months; there's reason to believe plenty of sails remain right into February, but by the beginning of the year, most anglers have turned their attention to big marlin.

Ocean conditions/weather:***
Calm conditions with a gentle, consistent offshore breeze typify most of the sailfish season off Kenya.

Charter boats, availability/quality/crews: ** Among Hemingways, Malindi Gamefish Club and Pemba Channel Fishing Club, you'll find about 40 charterboats. Add about the same number of private boats available for charter, and you've got most of the possibilities for the country. Boats and crews will vary, but some mates rank among the best for Indian Ocean billfish. They're used to fishing with day-trippers, however, so you may have to work hard to convince them to let you set your own hooks.

Charter boats, cost (per day):**
Figure on $700 or so for a larger boat. (Smaller "ski boats," as South Africans call open fishing craft, can be had for $400 or so.)

Accommodations: ***
For $80-$100 per night, you can get an excellent room and meals, too. Some are comfortable if rustic (such as the Driftwood Club), but Hemingway’s rates five stars as an outstanding luxury fishing resort.

Other stuff to do: ***
Fabulous shopping ops, visits to game reserves, ancient Arab ruins and more -- a visit to Kenya has much to offer.

Travel costs: ****
This is another one of those two-grand trips, give or take a couple hundred.

BROOME, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
SCORE: 40.5

You'll know right away that you're not in Kansas anymore when you come to thiscorner of Oz, literally around the world from the United States. The motto in the harbor might be Sailfish R Us. The Indian Ocean waters don't drop off to deep, clear depths as around many tropical atolls, but the shallow, often turbid shelf that runs far offshore is productive and very much to the liking of sailfish.

Shots per day (prime season): **1/2
1/2 Four to eight fish is the norm, but look for 25 to 30 on particularly good days.

Size of fish: **
These Indian Ocean sails average 45 to 55 pounds.

Release: **
Your only argument here would be if you wished to keep a sailfish; release is expected.

Distance to fish: ***
Generally an 18- to 30-mile run.

Length of prime season:**
Sails seem to be around most of the year; weather dictates the June-October season more than anything else.

Ocean conditions/weather: **
During the main fishing season from June through October, winds blow primarily offshore, from the east. The opposite of many coastal areas, any breeze and attendant wind chop (no swell this time of year) often occur in the morning, flattening out by afternoon. High-pressure systems to the south can bring 15- to30-knot winds sweeping in.

Charter boats, availability/quality/crews: ***
Six or so charters range from 28 to 60 feet. Crews are very experienced, specifically with sailfish -- and fly fishing for them.

Charter boats, cost (per day):**
Expect to spend $500-$800 for the day.

Accommodations: **
1/2 Broome ain't Sydney, but it offers a good range of accommodations from hostel to five-star swank. Something in between those extremes will set you back $80-$125 per night, with dinners in the $15-$20 range. It's worth noting a very favorable exchange rate for Yanks, these days.

Other stuff to do: **
Soak up some amazing coastline and beaches. (But watch out for those hungry saltwater crocs -- residents take them as seriously as they take the croc warning signs posted on some area beaches.)Also, Broome is jumping-off point for a trip into the moonscaped coastal wilderness of the continent's northwestern most corner, The Kimberley, where more good fishing awaits. You can also visit the dinosaur footprints via hovercraft or Willie Creek pearl farming --a huge business here.

Travel costs: ****
Voyaging to the other side of the world isn't cheap: Figure on spending $2,000-$2,500 to get here.

BOM BOM, PRINCIPE ISLAND
SCORE: 58

The small,volcanic island of Principe (summit 3,100 feet) lies just off thewest coast of central Africa, along with its slightly largercountry mate, Sao Tome. The relaxed pace on tiny Bom Bom with itstiny charter fleet is in sharp contrast to the world-class actionfor big Atlantic sails within sight of the island. This fishery hasproduced five of nine fly-rod records listed in the most recentIGFA record book, including a 94-12 for women's 20-pound tippet(1998) and a 102-pounder in the men's 20-pound tippet class (1993).Getting here isn't cheap, but staying here is.

Shots per day (prime season): ****
Bom Bom's waters offer a dozen or so shots on a typical day duringprime season and 20 on a very good outing.

Size of fish: ****
Atlantic sails run big, here -- 75 to 85 pounds most commonly. Thewomen's 50- and 130-pound line-class records of 114 pounds, 10ounces and 91 pounds, respectively, came from Principe.

Release: *
Crews aren't likely to have a problem releasing sails, but it'salways a good idea to clarify your intentions beforehand.

Distance to fish: *
A mere two- or three-mile run will put you in sailfish country.

Length of prime season: ***
You can enjoy a respectable three hits most of the year, but duringSeptember through December you're more likely to average 12.

Ocean conditions/weather:***
Typically calm seas (and a short run, to boot).

Charter boats, availability/quality/crews: **
Four boats -- that's it -- 28- to 32-foot Blackfins and Bertrams.Skippers are generally international, crews local.

Charter boats, cost (per day):*
Charters here run $450-$650 per day.

Accommodations: ***
There's one lodge on Bom Bom, and it's superb -- chalets withmini-bar, satellite TV and so on. And it's only $100 or so pernight. But wait, there's more: That includes all meals.

Other stuff to do: *
Outside of fishing, diving/snorkeling or relaxing, not much, thoughyou can visit the cocoa and coffee plantation houses abandoned bythe Portuguese when the islands were declared independent in1975.

Travel costs: ****
$1,500-$2,000 would be a reasonable ballpark figure for getting toBom Bom.

FLORIDA KEYS, U.S.A.
SCORE: 48

Although thissouthernmost extension of the Florida peninsula offers excellentsailfish action, there's plenty offshore to grab anglers' attention- including dolphin, blackfin (and particularly off Key West)yellowfin tuna, wahoo, cobia and more. With Florida Bay on one sideand Hawk's Channel plus the Atlantic on the other, no place thestate offers more diverse fishing, from flats to blue water.

Shots per day: **
During prime season, four or five shots per day represents arealistic expectation, though 20-shot days are quite possible.

Size of fish: *
Not surprisingly, sails off the Keys are similar in size to thoseoff Miami and farther up to the Palm Beaches - which means nothuge. That said, the occasional big boy shows up: In 1993, thecurrent men's 8-pound line-class Atlantic sail came in off KeyWest, a 105-pound, 14-ounce fish.

Release: **

Distance to fish: **
Much of the action occurs along the reef edge, typically a run ofjust 4 or 5 miles, but again, charters will work north or south asfar as 10 or 15 miles when called for.

Length of prime season:***
Prime months off the Keys are, logically, pretty close to those forMiami, though December can be a red-hot month here.

Ocean conditions/weather:**
Here, too, when wintertime fronts bring brisk north-nor'easters,sailfishing peaks - though the curvature of the keys may provide atleast a small bit of protection from the worst seas. On the otherhand, skippers don't mind the rugged seas. which give them thechance to spot southbound sails "surfing" down wave crests.

Charter boats, availability/quality/crews: *** Plenty to choose from withlots of good skippers and mates. Many troll ballyhoo (often themajor forage of choice for sails off the keys).

Charter boats, cost (per day): **
As always, plenty of variation but $700 to 800 represents a typicalday rate for a good sailfish charter boat.

Accommodations: ***
While you won't find quite as much to choose from as in Miami orsoutheast coast communities, lots of hotels are available atreasonable cost.

Other stuff to do: **
Most non-fishing activities will be water-oriented:diving/snorkeling, windsurfing and the like. Extensive flats ofFlorida Bay offer world-class fishing for bonefish and tarpon aswell.

Travel costs: *
Upper/middle Keys are an easy one- to two-hour drive from Miami.Key West is a bit farther, or you can fly down for a couple hundredbucks.
twotems is offline  
Old 05-05-2006, 08:07 PM
  #2  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Amelia Island, FL
Posts: 4,667
Default Re: Top 20 World Sailfish spots (long thread)

Guatemala, hands down. We tore them up. 5 or 6 on at the same time!




March 11, 2006.......

Captain Ron Hamlin on the Cptn Hook....

"When the fumes settled the numbers read 188 bites with 124 sails released! Captain Hamlin, who has over 21,000 career releases, had set the new Single Day World Record!!"

Thats right, 124 releases in 1 day! It can't get better that Guatemala when the bite is on !
Reel Boobs is offline  
Old 05-05-2006, 09:47 PM
  #3  
Senior MemberCaptains Club MemberPLEDGER
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: CA & San Carlos, Mx
Posts: 20,518
Default Re: Top 20 World Sailfish spots (long thread)

I can only speak for the places in Mexico, and this promotional material overates these number of strikes about 300-500% IMO.

In the good old days we would release up to 15 sales in a day, but these same spots are lucky to see 2-3 fish a day peak seasons.

Long liners have done their job.
Bullshipper is offline  
Old 05-06-2006, 01:46 AM
  #4  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location:
Posts: 3,328
Default Re: Top 20 World Sailfish spots (long thread)

I posted it just for information really. Personally I was more interested in ocean conditions, best time of year, distance to grounds and accomodation/entertainment. Sailfish aren't really a big priority anymore on my list of fish to catch. Now if they're 100+lbs like some of those places have........................................
twotems is offline  
Old 05-06-2006, 09:33 AM
  #5  
Senior MemberCaptains Club MemberPLEDGER
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: CA & San Carlos, Mx
Posts: 20,518
Default Re: Top 20 World Sailfish spots (long thread)

I am not trying to bust your chops on this twotoots. Just trying to give some viable information as to what's really clickin on the Pacific Mainland and the Baja.

I haven't seen a +100 lb sail in a couple of years, untill a fellow weighed a 193 punder 2 months ago near Loreto, which will break the all tackle record.

But as an example, Hautulco is a very good port for sails that borders the Guatamalan border, and in a 3 day tournament that ended last week, an 84 pounder won the car. This is one of the best places in Mexico for Sails, and only 40 fish were released or weighed in the three days for 23 boats. They said the water was green, but results are results, and they don't schedule tournaments out of season in my experience.

Bullshipper is offline  
Old 05-06-2006, 09:49 AM
  #6  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Amelia Island, FL
Posts: 4,667
Default Re: Top 20 World Sailfish spots (long thread)

Bullshipper - 5/6/2006 9:33 AM

I am not trying to bust your chops on this twotoots. Just trying to give some viable information as to what's really clickin on the Pacific Mainland and the Baja.

I haven't seen a +100 lb sail in a couple of years, untill a fellow weighed a 193 punder 2 months ago near Loreto, which will break the all tackle record.

But as an example, Hautulco is a very good port for sails that borders the Guatamalan border, and in a 3 day tournament that ended last week, an 84 pounder won the car. This is one of the best places in Mexico for Sails, and only 40 fish were released or weighed in the three days for 23 boats. They said the water was green, but results are results, and they don't schedule tournaments out of season in my experience.
193# Sail, D@mn thats a hog! How many inches was that fish? I have never caught one over 120+/- lbs.


BTW, the IGFA All Tackle Records for Pacific Sailfish is 221 lbs, in Ecuador, 1947.
Reel Boobs is offline  
Old 05-06-2006, 09:58 AM
  #7  
Senior MemberCaptains Club MemberPLEDGER
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: CA & San Carlos, Mx
Posts: 20,518
Default Re: Top 20 World Sailfish spots (long thread)

I'm sorry. They are claiming 236 lbs, so that would break the record. Looks over 11 feet to me. Here's a photo.

http://www.bloodydecks.com/forums/sh...ad.php?t=40022
Bullshipper is offline  
Old 05-13-2006, 04:15 PM
  #8  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Elkton, Maryland
Posts: 1,057
Default RE: Top 20 World Sailfish spots (long thread)

My vote would be for North Pacific coast of Costa Rica. I went with my wife on our honeymoon there. We hooked up with 14 sails and released 6 in a half day charter. Largest being 110#. Very nice fish. I have fished the Dominican, Keys, and Tahiti and this was the best trip I had ever been on hands down.
mytime is offline  
Old 12-09-2006, 07:49 AM
  #9  
MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Lake Park,FL
Posts: 48
Default RE: Top 20 World Sailfish spots (long thread)

Sounds awesome, next time try fishing Guatemala. I just returned from Guat. The bite was pretty good 20-46 releases per day with an occasional blue. Stay here while you are down www.pacificfins.com good luck
Attached Images  
venture39 is offline  
Old 12-09-2006, 06:18 PM
  #10  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: in the Pacific
Posts: 418
Default Re: Top 20 World Sailfish spots (long thread)

Guatemala #1, CR #2, Pinas Bay #3. FYI - Artmarina is gone forever. The buildings and boats were sold to satisfy a legal battle.
59022 is offline  
Old 12-10-2006, 04:51 AM
  #11  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Australia
Posts: 226
Default RE: Top 20 World Sailfish spots (long thread)

I can vouch for Broome Western Australia I fished the 94 and 95 comps. Our first year 94 we only tagged 6 fish up until then had never caught a Sailey. Came back in the 95 and pricked 36 fish put us in 6th place. The Broome comp tags 3-600 fish per comp with the top boats tagging 40-60 fish in 5 days. First started off as 6kg comp, then live baiting was banned and the line class raised to 10kg. Blacks can turn up at times with fish ranging from 30-250lb. Broome is very tidal and most of the good fishing is around neap tides, spring tides can be 1 meter to an amazing 9 meters, thats right a 30 foot tidal range takes quite a while to get used to that much movement. But a magical place to fish non the less.
Baystalker is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread