The Fish


Resident sailfish frequent the waters around Magnetic Island, Bowling Green Bay and the local reef network.  Besides their spectacular fighting ability and great visual aerobatic displays, these fish offer a memorable photo to take home when landed on board prior to release.

Sailfish (genus Istiophorus) live in all the oceans of the world.  They are blue to gray in colour and have a characteristic sail (dorsal fin) which often stretches the entire length of their back.  The sailfish grows rapidly, reaching 1.2 to 1.5 m in a single year.  They can swim at speeds of up to 68 m/h (when leaping in and out of the water), making them the fastest fish in the ocean.  They feed on the surface or at mid-depths on smaller pelagic fish and squid.

The Indo-Pacific Sailfish (Istiophorus platypterus) is a sailfish native to the Indian and Pacific Oceans.  It is dark blue on to and, brown-blue laterally with a silvery white underbelly. Its upper jaw is elongated in the form of a spear; its first dorsal fin is greatly enlarged in the form of a sail with many black spots and its front is squared off and highest at its midpoint.  The pelvic fins are very narrow, reaching almost to the anus, and its body is covered with embedded scales that are blunt at the end with a lateral line, curved above the pectoral fin, then straight to the base of the tail.