As for us, we use – floating, intermediate and sinking lines, and has had success with all depending on the application.
We use full floating or intermediate lines when we have a popperhead on the fly. The splashes and sound created by the popper head helps attracts a sailfish’s attention.
The advantage of using floating or intermediate lines is they’re easier to pickup and make another quick cast to the fish. A pick up and lay down cast essentially.
False casts in this situation is almost a big no-no as the sailfish will be gone in seconds if there is nothing behind the boat for them to prey on.
Full sinking or sink tip lines that brings the fly sub surface has a distinct advantage however, better hookup rate. Getting hooks into the hard bony mouth of a billfish is notoriously challenging.
Sinking lines however, are more difficult to pickup out off the water to quickly make another cast. But it is possible.
When not using popper heads, we prefer sinking lines. In short, all lines can be used depending on the application.
Having said that, my goto line is the sinking fly line.
What about backing line? Have 300 meters or 300 yards, minimum. Since we’re here, and I think I’ve mentioned this somewhere before but I’ll say it again because it’s that important, ensure your reel has very good, strong and smooth drag.
Take me to your leader
Sailfish are not generally leader shy. Especially when they’re hot on a teaser. 20-25kg (60 or 80 lb) tippet are common.
If you’re concerned about losing your entire rig on a big sail, a class tippet should be used. If you’ve never caught a sailfish, you should go with at least a 30-pound-class tippet.
An example of a sailfish leader rig can be: 4-feet of 60-pound mono > 1-feet of 30-pound of line-class tippet > 1-feet of 80-pound shock tippet.
The above is not the only way to rig and many charters/anglers have their own rigging preference.
We prefer to keep the leader short as that makes it easier to cast those big flies.
Please contact us if you have any questions.