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(Istiophorus platypterus)

The only species in the genus Sailfish, although the International Trophy Fishing Association (IGFA) publishes records for the Atlantic (I. albicans) and Pacific (I. greyi) varieties. So the absolute champion of the waters of the west coast of Africa was a fish with a record weight of 64 kg (Luanda, Angola), and in America (Santa Cruz, Ecuador) a record sailboat was caught, pulling as much as 100.24 kg!

We own the Seychelles record sailboat weighing 62 kg!

The spear-shaped upper jaw of the fish, which is a harmonious continuation of the elongated, spindle-shaped body, is almost round in cross section and has a surface with the texture of a kitchen grater. The body of these fish is covered with scales, but the scales are small, oblong and paradoxically hidden completely in the skin. So we can say that the “armor” of these “corsairs” is almost completely absent. The jaw teeth are also poorly developed in sailboats, although on an engraving in one of the volumes of Alfred Brehm you can find a “sailboat” with such a “saw” on the lower jaw that the crocodile is resting. The shape of the muscular body determines the sprinting ability of the fish. Almost all species of the family are capable of developing incredible speed - about 100 kilometers per hour (and this is in the thickness of dense salt water)!

The pectoral, ventral and caudal fins of a sailboat are rigid structures (caudal and pectoral are sickle-shaped), serving as horizontal and vertical stabilizers. The hand of the angler, who grabbed the caught fish at the very tail, will clearly feel on the sides of the caudal peduncle a pair of muscular keels, which increase the transverse rigidity of the “stern” part and serve as powerful rods of such a rudder (and “screw” at the same time) like a tail. So powerful that, having fully risen from the water, the fish can move along the surface for several tens of seconds, literally “standing” on its tail. For many anglers who caught sailboats, these fish gave such a sparkling show. The most impressive fin, for which the family got its name, not only stretches along the entire back of the sailboat, but also rises high up in a palisade of rays pulled together by a black film. Of course, with such a fin under water you can’t really accelerate, and therefore nature provided it with a notch on its back, where the fin folded during fast movement hides. In the Seychelles, this is a very common trophy - we had a case of catching 4 sailboats at the same time (on different spinning rods) and 22 sailboats during the day of fishing.


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