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Thursday, 9 February 2017

Rigging for Sailfish


After our Sailfish trip to Rompin in November I've had a few questions about the equipment needed to tackle old stick face. The following  information is by no means definitive, but should prove useful to anyone looking to try their hand at sails on fly.  And you should all be looking to!

Rods, Reels and Line 

You're looking at #12 outfits here. We all have our preferred brands and models, and on this trip there were rods from Sage, Redington, TFO and Colton on the boat.  Although all of them got it done, the Colton blue water stick which was a bit heavier seemed to be putting more strain on the angler than the fish at times but had excellent lifting power near the boat, it's probably a great stick for fighting tuna.
Obviously you need a reel to match your rod, quality brands that you trust and have confidence in are a must.  I mostly used a Tibor Gulfstream loaded with 300yards of 65lb backing and a Rio GT line for poppers. The guide's choice was a Nautilus.  I also had a Redington Behemoth with a similar amount of backing and a Rio Leviathan 500grain integrated head.  The Behemoth proved more than up to the task and, I think,  goes a long way to making this kind of fishing more accessible to a greater number of anglers.

Don't be under-gunned, I've heard of people fishing 10 weight outfits for sails and, while it's possible, I wouldn't do it.  12 is no where near too heavy and it's better for the fish, if we can beat them quickly.

Flies and Leaders


We weren't fishing IGFA leaders, but if you want to you can check out Cam Sigler's website for leader formulas.  Juan, the head guide at Sportfishing Asia generally fishes a straight 6ft (180cm) length of 60-100lb fluorocarbon. This is fine, but I prefer to have a class section that would allow me to break the fish off if a shark appears on the scene during the fight.  I used a 3ft (90cm) section of 100lb flouro and a 3ft section of 30lb fluoro with bimini twists in each end. The connections from shock tippet to leader was a slim beauty tied with one of the bimini loops, the other end was loop-to-looped to welded loop in the fly line, still fairly simple but with a breakable section in case of emergencies.


You don't need a huge number of flies for sailfish.  A selection of Sigler style big game tubes with popping heads, some Klingons and flashy profile flies, all  rigged with double 6/0-8/0 Gamakatsu octopus hooks snelled to the shock tippet.

If you would like a bill fish fly pack, don't hesitate to get in touch with me to arrange an order.


I hope this has shed some light on the gear you need to catch sailfish on fly. It can be a bit intimidating, but it's actually much simpler than a lot of people may think.