We now have December upon us. We will see a lot of cool and cold fronts approaching from the north bringing cooler temperatures and wind. Along with cooler air temperatures we will be seeing cooler water temperatures. December will have the sailfish migrating south and travelling right through the Treasure Coast waters. Even though sailfish can be caught in our water all through the year, this is the time of year that we will have the biggest abundance of them and they will be hungry. Sailfish seem to like rougher days with a lot of chop on top of the water. The average boater will not have as many days to get out and look for these fish due to the fronts making water conditions rough. It will be best to watch the pre-frontal and post-frontal forecast and pick your days.
Sailfish will be in depths of 80 foot on out. There are many ways to fish for sailfish. These fish can be caught slow trolling live baits such as sardines, threadfin herring or a larger blue runner. The most common method for targeting sailfish is to troll rigged ballyhoo with a circle hook on 25-to-30-pound tackle. This range is enough for a good fight and will allow you to quickly get the fish to the boat without tiring them out too much. The circle hook rig will allow the hook to get hooked in the corner of the mouth instead of a jay hook in which the sailfish could swallow causing internal damage.
One recommended way to get the sailfish’s attention is by dragging a couple of dredges behind your boat and in the prop-wash. Dredges vary in price and in looks. If you don’t have a dredge, you should go to your local tackle shop and see the different selections they have available and prices then decide on which one fits your budget the best. You can also place some squid teasers off outriggers as an added invitation to bring a sailfish up to the surface. Keep a watch in the water behind what you are pulling and when a sailfish surfaces, drop a circle hook rigged ballyhoo back to the sailfish and reel or pull in the teaser and/or dredge back to the boat so he will eat the rigged ballyhoo.This method is used by most sailfish tournament anglers.
When hooked up with a sailfish, you will experience some magnificent jumps and speed combined into a great acrobatic show. After fighting a sailfish and getting it to the boat and getting your pictures, please take some care and revive the sailfish. This can be done by holding the sailfish boat-side with the sailfish facing the bow of the boat and slowly idling the boat forward to allow the water to wash over the gills until the fish is strong enough to swim on its own.
Be safe on the water and catch them up!