One of the most sought after game fishes in South Africa and the world

(Istiophorus Platypterus)




Other Names

Saily, Seilvis

Identification of the Sailfish

The Saifish has a slight built compared to other billfish. It has a slender elongated body with a long bill. As the name implies the Sailfish has a large, prominent dorsal fin that looks like a sail when spread. The colour of this “sail” is metallic blue in colour with dark blue or black spots. The upper part of the body is a blue-black colour to electric blue with the sides or flanks is silver with a coppery hue. Vertical bars with softer blue spots run down the sides. The bottom or belly is a silvery white. The Sailfish is known to reach weights of up to 100 kilograms, but the average size of these fish caught are between 15 and 45 kilograms.


Sailfish can be found in the tropical and sub-tropical waters of the Indian and Pacific ocean.

How to locate this fish

These fish can be found in the open ocean but will also on the continental shelf where they can be found in muddy, discoloured water that are typically found near river mouths or in bays. They will also be found close to reefs or other structures.

Baits to use

Trolling small lures like soft flathead lures are most commonly used. A belly strip of fish can also be added to the hook. One can also use livebait from a drifting boat or trolled slowly.

Tackle to use for catching Sailfish

Light gamefish tackle (between the 6 and 15 kg class) with sharp hooks and a good quality reel with a smooth drag can be used.

Sailfish Fishing Video

Multiple hook-ups on Sailfish

Fishing for Sailfish is always one of the ultimate goals of many a fisherman.