Istiophorus Platypterus
Sailfish - Marinewise © 2024 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Istiophorus Platypterus
Other names Bayonet Fish, Indo-Pacific Sailfish, Pacific Sailfish
Size Up to 3.6 m (11.8 ft)
Weight Up to 100 kg (220 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Oceanic waters near islands & reefs
Depth Range
Sailfish Distribution

Interesting Info

  • Sailfish are a migratory species preferring warmer tropical waters and can be found in depths up to 200 m (656 ft) hunting for food.
  • They are a apex predator using their bill & sail to stun prey prior to swallowing them. Diet consists of baitfish, smaller tunas, squid, needlefish & mackerel.
  • Sailfish are one of the fastest fish in the sea, reaching short burst speeds of 110 km/h (68 mph).
  • The lifespan of Sailfish is estimated between 13 to 15 years.
  • Juvenile fish grow very quickly weighing up to 2.7 kg (6 lbs) by the time they reach 6 months.
  • They are a highly prized sports fish for anglers around the world.
  • Main predators of Sailfish include sharks, larger predatory fish & anglers.
Species Interaction

Recreational Fishing

Sailfish are a highly targeted sports fish, known for their speed, leaping ability and overall strong fight. They are a highly migratory fish preferring waters temps between 21° to 28° C (70° and 83°F).

The Australian distribution of Sailfish circum-Australia, often found in coastal waters amongst islands and coral reefs.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Istiophoriformes

Family: Istiophoridae

Genus: Istiophorus

Species: Istiophorus platypterus

Conservation Status

Based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Sailfish is currently categorised as “Least Concern”(LC).

LC is the lowest category on the scale for risk with “Extinct”(EX) being the highest.

Fish Taste Quality

Sailfish are an average table fish – known more for catch & release fishing.

Taste Rating: 3/5

How to catch

Catch Difficulty: Difficult

Tackle: Artificial Rig, Large circle hook rigged on leader with/without sinker with a crimp sleeve

Bait: Lures, Squid, Slimy Mackerel, Bonito, Tuna

Technique: Cast bait/jig/lure near schooling fish, Trolling