Pacific Sailfish

Sailfish are mostly caught with either conventional or fly fishing equipment and both ways involve trolling. Lures and baits are dragged behind a sport fishing boat (this is called trolling) while it slowly moves through the water. Lures are a synonym for teasers because they incite the fish to come closer for a better look and hopefully make a pass at the bait. Boat crews drag plastic animal shapes (squids, fish, crabs) and even old compact disks; anything they think will catch the sailfish’s eye. Sailfish have good eyesight, that is how they spot their prey, and are extremely fast. In fact they are among the fastest fish in the sea, with a top speed of over 50mph for short distances. For more information on conventional sailfishing please look at our Billfishing in Guatemala page and for fly-fishing please look at our Fly Fishing for Pacific Billfish page.

After the sailfish takes the bait, the crew lets it swim away several yards before setting the hook. The inside of a sailfish’s mouth is bony and the hook will not set inside, so once the fish has taken the bait and begun swimming away, that is the moment to set the hook and hopefully it will catch on the side of the mouth. The Great Sailfishing Company supports and promotes the use of circle hooks. For more information on these hooks please look at our Circle Hooks and Billfishing in Guatemala page.

Several world records have been set in Guatemala in regards to the number of fish caught per day and our boats fish in these same Pacific waters and use the same type of equipment and methods that set these world records. Length and class of boat depends on sea conditions and distance to the fishing areas. The waters off Guatemala are placid most of the year with swells an average of one and a half to three feet. When it’s bad, swells rise five to six feet. These calm waters around the world earned this body of water the name Pacific Ocean. Lately, in Guatemala, the boats are going out between 25 to 50 miles. Therefore, the boats of choice are sport fishing craft ranging from 28 feet on up. The reason boats go out so far is that offshore from Iztapa there is a big deep basin, with a couple of dormant underwater volcanoes. This basin extends into the ocean for approximately 50 miles and has a maximum depth of almost 2000 ft making it a perfect habitat for Bonito tuna, Ballyhoo, squid and other fish that sailfish eats. Sailfish tend to be found around the rim of this basin.

The bait used in Guatemala for sail fishing is natural: Ballyhoo. Several dozen Ballyhoo are prepared with circle hooks before the boat leaves the dock, ready to be put on a tippet at a moments notice. Most anglers use revolving spool reels with matching rods. All of the crafts offered by The Great Sailfishing Company are equipped this way with a variety of name brand rods mated to either a Penn Reels or a Shimano reel. For more information on how our boats are equipped please look at our The Fleet page.

Some of our customers have asked whether swimming alongside a sailfish once it has been released is possible. We recommend that people do not swim beside sailfish since their beak is a powerful weapon, even though the fish is exhausted after fighting the angler. Sailfish use their beak like a club to stun and hurt their prey before eating it. They swim after a fish or a school of fish and after catching up (remember they are very fast) they will try to whack the fish or move through the school swinging their beak and hitting as many fish as possible. Afterwards they swim back and eat any fish that is writhing on the surface. Animal muscle, weight for weight, is stronger than our own so if a person gets hit hard by a sailfish it could leave a bruise or cause a more serious injury. Also, sailfish sometimes spear…so if a 70 pound or larger sailfish measuring anywhere from 6 to 9 feet in length, swimming close to 50 mph (they accelerate very quickly) were to make contact head on, the force would be distributed over a point about the size of a dime…a near comparison would be a thick ice pick going through a steak.





For more information or questions contact us
1-336 655 0541

Office: 00(502) 7934-62-20
Cell: 5966-4528 or 4065-1179

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