Sailfish vs. Swordfish: All You Need to Know

Studying Time: 4 minutes

Sailfish and Swordfish are two of essentially the most awe-inspiring fish you’ll ever see. Widely known as apex predators, the 2 Billfish are prized sport species for leisure anglers. However with lean, muscular our bodies and lengthy distinguished payments, these marine massive pictures can look fairly comparable. That begs the query: how are you going to inform if it’s a Sailfish vs. Swordfish? That’s precisely what you’re going to seek out out right this moment.

Distribution and Habitat

Sailfish and Swordfish are pretty widespread species, native to temperate waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. They’re each pelagic fish, which means that they swim all through the water column, however nearly by no means on the backside of the ocean. 

And whereas Sailfish hold to waters between 70°F and 83°F, Swordfish tolerate a a lot wider vary of temperatures. You’ll find them in waters ranging anyplace between 41°F and 81°F. Enjoyable reality: Swordfish have an organ inside their heads that heats their eyes and mind, permitting them to hunt even in extraordinarily chilly waters!

In comparison with Sailfish, Swordfish don’t simply tolerate colder waters, they swim in a lot deeper elements of the ocean, too. Whereas Sailfish can navigate waters as much as 660 toes deep, Swordfish usually dive to depths of 1,800 toes!


Swordfish are solitary fish, largely holding to themselves. In contrast to most fish, they prefer to hunt at evening. This is the reason, up till a decade or so in the past, anglers nearly completely went after Swords after dusk. Nevertheless, lately, thrill-seeking anglers found that daytime swordfishing might be simply as productive.

A Swordfish caught in broad daylight.

Sailfish, too, are largely solitary fish, however they’re not absolute loners like their cousins. When looking for prey, Sails will usually “school-up” to hunt collectively. Their “herding” ways are nothing wanting ingenious. 

Utilizing bumping and slashing motions, Sailfish use their sharp payments to direct colleges of prey. Much more spectacular, they shift their colours to speak their intentions, thus coordinating their assault with surgical precision. And that’s not all. Sails are lightning quick, too. Broadly thought-about because the quickest fish within the ocean, these guys clock in at an astounding 68 miles per hour! 


Regardless of their comparable seems to be, Sailfish and Swordfish boast a couple of distinct bodily variations.

Which is it, Sailfish or Swordfish?

Form and Measurement 

Swordfish are rather a lot larger than Sailfish, and this is without doubt one of the primary variations between the 2. Additionally, whereas the physique of a Swordfish is often cylindrical, the physique of a Sailfish is laterally compressed.

Sailfish usually develop to 120 inches in size (couting the invoice). Relying on whether or not they’re native to the Atlantic or the Indo-Pacific, they’ll weigh round 120 or 200 kilos max. For a median angler, nevertheless, a Sail starting from 40–60 kilos is commonest.

A Swordfish, however, will simply prime 130 inches. In comparison with Sailfish, they’re rather a lot bulkier, too. This permits them to simply attain sizes of 220 kilos or extra. The truth is, the most important Swordfish ever caught weighed a whopping 1,430 kilos!


However what in case you encounter what seems to be like a juvenile Swordfish? In that case, look no additional than its fins.

Sailfish boast a protracted dorsal fin that runs nearly the whole size of their body. When prolonged, the fin turns into wider than the whole physique, forming what seems to be like a sail (therefore the title). The dorsal fin on a Swordfish, nevertheless, is a slim, crescent-shaped appendage, which by no means modifications its form.


The variations between Sailfish and Swordfish don’t cease there. The 2 fish are totally different in a couple of different methods which are just a little harder to identify, however are helpful to know all the identical.

In contrast to Sailfish, grownup Swordfish haven’t any tooth or scales. As they mature, Swordfish lose their scales, which give solution to easy, uniform pores and skin. The invoice on a Sailfish is skinny, spanning round a fourth of the size of the physique. On a Swordfish, the invoice is longer and thicker, reaching nearly half of the size of the physique. 

Final however not least, the eyes on a Swordfish are a lot larger than on a Sailfish. As a result of they swim in deeper and darker waters, Swordfish have to have superior imaginative and prescient. Bigger eyes permit them to soak up much more mild than different Billfish.

Methods to Catch Them

Sailfish usually come near the floor of the water, which makes them an ideal goal for trolling. They’re a tremendous mild deal with catch, usually awarding your efforts with spectacular aerial acrobatics. If you happen to’re up for a problem, attempt hooking these monsters with a fly rod!

For Swordfish, deepwater drifting with pure bait is the best way to go. These beasts are extraordinarily highly effective, they usually usually require a lot heavier gear to land. Most anglers nonetheless goal Swordfish at evening, however as we talked about, daytime fishing might be simply as productive.

Sailfish and Swordfish are two unbelievable Billfish, every fascinating in their very own method. Now that you understand how to inform Sailfish and Swordfish aside, there’s nothing to cease you from catching one!

So there you’ve gotten it. These have been the variations between Sailfish and Swordfish. What’s your favourite factor about these two fish? Are there any variations you suppose we would have missed? Tell us within the feedback beneath.

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