Sailfish are master predators.
One of the more iconic big game species of fish swimming our world's oceans is the sailfish. A favorite target of legendary anglers like Ernest Hemingway, the sailfish is well known for its speed, beautiful, bright colors, and huge dorsal fins.
While these fish do not grow as large as other species of billfish swimming the oceans, the sailfish offers up an awesome fight thanks mostly to its strength and speed, which are near unmatched by any other fish on Earth.
It turns out that this species is also highly intelligent and uses sophisticated tactics to catch its prey. A BBC film crew captured some spectacular footage of a school of sailfish herding and confusing a school of baitfish for easy pickings. It is fascinating to watch these big fish hunt.
While most anglers will unfold that huge dorsal fin for photos, it is worth noting that the sailfish only unfurls that big fin when they are on the hunt. The rest of the time they keep it folded down, which helps give these fish that amazing speed they are known for. There are a lot of rumors out there about just how fast these fish can travel. It does not help that even scientists seem to disagree just how fast they are.
Some scientists have reportedly clocked these fish swimming upwards of 60 to 70 miles per hours. Others insist the top speed is closer to 22 mph. Even if that smaller number is true, that is an extremely fast fish. Take note of it the next time you are on a boat, and you will understand.
In any case, it was fascinating to learn how these fish use their dorsal fins and color changing abilities to communicate to other sailfish their plans and movements. One normally does not think of fish being that coordinated and calculating. It just goes to show that the world's oceans hold many mysteries and wonders that we have yet to fully understand.