Kayaker Lands Sailfish Quarter Mile off Shore in Panama City Beach

by October 16, 2009 • 7 comments

Anglers all over the Panama City Beach and Destin area are baffled at the recent wave of sailfish being caught in close proximity to our white sandy shoreline.  Talking to Brad Stephens from Sunjammers, he was telling me that nobody has ever known sailfish of any kind to be so close to shore.  “They’ve been hitting 4 and 5 a day out at the new pier,” Stephens said on the phone earlier.

Brad owns Sunjammers, a kayak store on Highway 79 in Panama City Beach.  I had lunch with him today and upon checking out his web site when I got back to the office, I found videos of kayakers catching sailfish with condos in the backdrop.  I immediately had to give him a call back and ask about it.

Not sure why all of a sudden so many sailfish were playing so close to shore, Brad explained that some of the kayakers that have landed these beautiful fish are on his fishing team Team Sunjammers.  Trolling Ballyhoo behind their kayak just a couple thousand feet off shore, anglers have attracted small sailfish that often end up giving them quite a ride in their little boat.  I say small, but they are really quite large, especially for fishing from a 13 foot kayak: the one in the video below was probably around 7 feet and weighed around 70 lbs.

This brings up an interesting topic, fishing in Panama City Beach.  I’ve been told this is one of the best places to go, and frankly, this is something I have no experience in.  So, upon asking, Brad consented to take me on a two part fishing adventure: first, to explore the protected waterways and familiarize myself with the gear; and second, go into the Gulf of Mexico and troll for King Mackerel.  Our adventure is planned to start one week from tomorrow.  Thanks Brad!

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1 Jeremy October 16, 2009 at 3:41 pm

Yep, there’s reports all the way down to Pensacola. Nobody can explain why they’re so close but everybody’s glad to see them!


2 Nikki Lindsey October 16, 2009 at 7:40 pm

Jason, you’ll love kayak fishing. It is so fun. There is nothing else like being on the water as the sun is coming up and seeing dolphins swimming a few yards away. From everything I’ve heard, the fishing has been really good lately.


3 Lori Duncan October 20, 2009 at 8:43 pm

Was this video taken overby inlet beach near Carillon? Cool catch!


4 Brad Stephens October 27, 2009 at 8:02 am

Video was taken off of Destin.


5 Lori Duncan October 27, 2009 at 8:20 am

Thanks, cool vid!


6 Jeff Phillips November 11, 2009 at 9:28 am

We saw about 3 fins sticking out of the water last Wednesday from the beach in front of Aqua Beachside Resort. We knew they weren’t dolphins, but we weren’t sure what they were. At first, we thought sharks, but after watching the videos, they looked to be the tail fins of more sailfish.

I have reeled in a cobia and a decent sized wahoo (along with a bunch of other stuff) but I don’t think I have the energy needed to tackle something like this. Looked awesome =)