Here off the coast of Panama, we catch many different species of fish, including snapper, jack, and multiple kinds of billfish, including sailfish. The Pacific Sailfish, also known as Pez Vela, is one of our favorite fish to catch and always a highlight of any sport fishing adventure.

To help you get to know this species better, here are some details about sailfish fishing, the types of sailfish, and tips for how to fish for sailfish in Panama.

What Is a Sailfish?

In our region of the world, we focus on Pacific Sailfish, but there is also the Atlantic Sailfish that is a second recognized species. Both of these fish are part of the genus Istiophorus and the Istiophoridae family of fish. They are typically blue and gray and have a large dorsal fin, which resembles a sail and is how the fish got its name.

Sailfish typically live in pelagic waters and are very fast swimmers. Many people consider sailfish to be the fastest-swimming fish in the ocean. They are aggressive and excellent fighters, especially the large ones that can grow to more than 200 pounds just offshore in Panama!

How to Catch a Sailfish

To catch sailfish, we often throw out live bait when we see them tailing offshore. This will usually cause a strike, but at other times, we’ll use live bait to hook sailfish when we are also looking for tunas that are in offshore feeding frenzies. Trolling is another technique that we use to catch sailfish, in addition to cubera snappers, as the dry season transitions into the wet season.

When and Where to Catch Sailfish

In Panama, we usually shift our focus to catching sailfish around April and May, which is when the winds begin to slow down. July and August are great times of the year to catch Pacific Sailfish because the water temperature has warmed up and rain is more common.

The Gulf of Chiriquí is an excellent place to catch sailfish, especially around the Hannibal Bank area. Look for them along continental coasts, tropical reefs, and in temperate waters. Outside of Panama, other top places for sailfish fishing are Costa Rica, the Florida Keys, and Mozambique.

Catch Your Very Own Sailfish with Us!

If catching a sailfish is on your adventure bucket list, contact us to book your trip! We offer sport fishing packages, day charters from Boca Chica, and tropical island lodge accommodations to take care of all the details so you can focus on the fishing.

For sailfish fishing trip details, call Captain Shane directly at 011 (507) 6675-7191, or send us an email at [email protected].