Living up to the prestige of its name, the coveted Sailfish is described as wonderfully made, so graceful and so spectacular in action that it is accorded the honor of a prince of royal blood. Popular year-round, the Sailfish shines in local waters in December through March and during the summer months, particularly June and July.

Stuart’s reputation as the “Sailfish Capital of the World” has brought many a sport fisherman to these waters, hoping to “strike” the big one. At one point in its history, Sailfish were taken indiscriminately from local waters. Realizing the depletion of the popular fish, area fisherman agreed to tag the sails and return them to the ocean for future fisherman to enjoy. The Stuart Sailfish Club is one of the oldest sport fishing clubs in the U.S.. It promotes conservation of game fish and encourages visitors to fish in Martin County waters. The Club attracts visitors by sponsoring offshore fishing tournaments. Local charter boats are available with guides schooled in the technique of catching a sail. It takes just the right action with bait and rod to “strike” the Sailfish just as the Sailfish strikes his prey. Because it does not take the bait at once, but attempts to stun it with its sword, the fisherman must reverse the usual method of deep sea fishing, which is to “strike with the strike.’ He must be prepared to release his reel drag at the first “tap-tap” of the flailing bill, allow the reel to run freely for at least ten slowly counted seconds, than hope against hope that the sailfish has the lure in its mouth and strike. Remember this: unless you let the bait fall back as if stunned and helpless, the sailfish is going to be chagrined. It is awaiting just that, and if you do just that, most of the time you can confidently look for action. Sometimes, however, it will not be taken, even though you have done everything exactly. Then it is advisable to reel the strip lure rapidly toward the boat, and let it fall back again with the customary pause. Repeat this several times and you may force a strike that otherwise would not be coming. Some strike and are hooked without any of these preliminaries. Your guide knows exactly how to prepare the lure, exactly what distance it should be trolled behind the boat. Be prepared to do what the guide says, especially if this is your first sailfishing trip. This is your guide’s life-business of setting the stage exactly right so you will hook canny Mister Spindlebill. When you catch a prized Sailfish, please release it to live a life it enjoys as much. Perhaps, as you do your own. The more craft which come into port flying the red flags which say ” we caught him and we let him live, ” the longer sailfishing will be a viable sport.