On my last five trips offshore in Jupiter I've seen many free jumping sailfish. I go ahead of them and throw out a line and never hook one up. What is the deal with these things. Is this happening to anyone else? I know sailfish travel south along the gulf stream. Does anyone have any info on how to catch these free jumping sails?
We've had some luck in the past with live bait, but only when they're sunning. Kind of creep up on them and pitch it. How were you trying to do it?
BTW, pic doesn't show.
The only people that tell you it can't be done are the people who haven't done it themselves.
Are you seeing them In the gulf stream or in on the beach?
If youre seeing sails just free jumping... Those ones are tough to catch at best. The reason they are jumping most often is them shaking off parasites or other irritants. At that point they are too preoccupied to show much interest in baits...
We were in 85-110 ft. We would see them jumping and run up ahead of them and we would throw dead baits and lures. So live bait probably works the best?
Like deep said they aren't in a feed mode. Catching a sail on a drifted dead sardine is a luck thing. Livies or trolled ballyhoo are the way to go. THE KEY IS FINDING BAIT AND STAYING ON TOP OF IT.
Catching that "free jumping salfish" is often tough but more importantly those fish are usually not travelling alone. The most important thing is for someone to keep there eye honed in on where the fish came out of the water and run about 50-75 yards ahead of that spot and then throw out a couple livies. This time of year it is hard for a sail to turn down a live ballyhoo. Good luck!
I fish just to the north of you off Stuart. We honestly catch about 1/2 the free jumping sails we see - providing that I have live pilchards or sardines in my livewell and the crew can react quickly enough.
Sails will almost always be free-jumping towards the south in our area, so when you see one jumping, try to determine the speed at which it is moving. If you have a friend on board, have them pin a livey on a circle hook, while you (as the captain) NEVER TAKE YOUR EYES OFF WHERE YOU LAST SAW HIM JUMP. This is key in getting a fish to eat. If you aren't sure exactly where it might be, error on the side of caution and set up a bit further south to raise the chances that he'll pass under you. The liveys will draw them in close providing you're remotely in the sails path of travel. Often the sails will be jumping alongside a current edge, weedline, temp break, etc..
The mistake I see made most often is that by the time a boat sets out a couple liveys, they're almost always too far north and the sail is already to the south of them.
For the record, I've never personally caught a free jumping sail on a lure or dead bait... only liveys. Don't give up on catching free jumpers. Believe me, they're quite catchable!
This was a free jumper a buddy and I intercepted in 450' off Hobe Sound last August: