Sailfishing Tutorial

Good Luck!

Gorgeous, acrobatic, and lit-up, Sailfish rank because the # 1 sporty catch of south Florida. There is however a lot involved in the catch and discharge of these desired game fish, in the end their not the very best table fare. How much vacuum packed smoked Sailfish can you eat? So what’s involved in catching the Sailfish? What sort of bait? What is the best rod and reel set-up? What are a few of the techniques to use about the water? Let’s move on out and learn from the end result and work our approach to the beginning.

The fact is Sailfish fight their heart out, displaying themselves in full view acrobatics repeatedly. Did you ever run the 100 yard dash in senior high school? What happened whenever you finished? Had you been like me, you stood there together with your head involving the knees and attemptedto catch your breath. A Sailfish doesn’t always have the luxury of sitting there and catching his breath, they’ll sink. So what do you do when you get a Sailfish that appears half dead your boat side? You should resuscitate him! You should get some gloves, grab his sandpaper like spindle beak, remove your hook and hold him boat side, preferably with the boat in gear. You have to revive him for 5-10 minutes before you let him go. This might take some patience, nevertheless the reward is great when your prize catch swims away in a healthy body ready to fight a later date.

The above scenario is traumatizing for the Sailfish, big event? Not to mention a little novice. Many instances when a Sailfish has to be resuscitated it is because your struggle was prolonged. Fighting your Sailfish on anything lower than 20 lb. test will prolong the battle unless you chase down your fish. Personally I favor to fight my Sailfish without any help from the boat, but I also have that luxury since i have fish from a center console. My clients have on numerous occasions commended me because of not chasing down their fish, they appreciated catching their fish all independently. As an example, if the using a 12 lb. set-up, you will have to hold no less than 400 yards on your reel, and you might still get spooled from your average Sailfish if you do not chase him down. Although you may don’t get spooled what fun can it be seeing your fish jumping 300 yards out of the boat not forgetting all that line dragging in the water increasing the risk for this to break. And lastly you might have your fish boat side an hour or so later.

Fast reels, Hot baits

Among my favorite set-ups for Sail fishing is really a Shimano TLD 20, spooled with more than 400 yards of Berkley Big Game 30 pound test, followed by a seven foot, medium action Oceanmaster rod. This rod and reel set-up has caught a lot of Sailfish over the years and remains unbeatable offshore. Keeping 4-5 pounds of drag set in the strike position, most Sailfish stay within 150 yards from your boat and are brought to the stern within Twenty minutes. I use Berkley Big game fishing line of many reels, it doesn’t have a lots of stretch or memory and it is easy to tie with, it’s also abrasive resistant. With experienced fishermen aboard I’ll tie a 5/0 Lazer sharp Eagle Claw Salmon hook straight to the main line. It is possible to bring in the fish within 20 minutes and the line holds up very well, and you also get a lot more hits like that. You will need to retie your hook after each fish caught to be safe from any nicks or chaff in your line.

Putting the right bait in your hook is important to your success. We have caught Sailfish on Ballyhoo, Pilchards, and Threadfin Herring, but my best success is the valuable goggle eye. ( Literally at $50. to $100. several) They are a soft bait with big eyes and strong swimmers making them great baits for many techniques. You can catch this bait on size 12 sabiki rigs but only at night, that’s when the Goggle-eye becomes active. You can find them around structure as much as about 80 feet of water and around anchored ships. Once the sun arises the bite is off unless there is a full moon setting as the morning light breaks, then the bite lasts just a bit longer. So prepare to catch these Goggle-eyes 2-4 hours before sunrise giving yourself time to find them first.

The Technique

Setting up around the drift.

As mentioned earlier, on my flat lines I love to tie the hooks straight to the main line, otherwise I’ll tie a brief bimini to the tag end and fasten my leader, 10 feet of 40 pound test Seaguar Fluorocarbon having an Albright knot. This knot takes practice, but as soon as you get the feel of how this knot works you’ll never change. 2-3 flat line is usually deployed at 50, 80, and past 100 feet out of the boat. 2 down line is deployed at 40 and 80 feet down. The down lines are rigged different since weights are attached as well as the baits make more line twist, therefore I fasten a stainless steel ball-bearing swivel to my Bimini and then 8 feet of 40-50 pound mono attached with 1 foot of # 4 wire Kingfish rig. You do not want Kings, but ultimately your drift is going to take you over their zone, so be prepared for cut-offs. Most of the time I tie wire to any or all the rigs since the Kings bite on all lines. I use 4-6 oz weights on the down lines. The load can be attached a few different ways. I like to insert the Bimini twist into the weight then tie on my snap swivel. You may also take a piece of dental floss, attach it to the weight by leaving a long enough tag end to tie for the swivel. You may also use the breakaway technique in which you will lose the body weight. You take your line above the swivel and insert it with the weight so a loop appears conversely, then have a rubber band, input it through the loop a few times and pull the mono slowly therefore the rubber band gets stuck inside the weight. When a fish strikes, the pressure on the line will release the load. Setting your lines for the kite is the same as the organization without the weights. Tie your bimini, attach your ball-bearing swivel rated for 75-100 pounds, tie 8-10 feet of 50 leader material towards the swivel and fix your tag end in the event you prefer, to a single foot of # 4 wire leader attached with your hook via a haywire twist. Then I will take a couple foot strip of red or orange ribbon and fasten it to my swivel around the Bimini end, this way I can monitor my baits much simpler.

Slow trolling

This method is more advanced than drifting. It needs dropping your baits back about the strike. Sailfish are extremely sensitive while they pick up your bait, if your bumping inside and out of gear a Sailfish may come up on your bait, mouth it, and when your drag is tight the boat will pull it from his mouth and that he might not return. I prefer to maintain my drags in free spool with the clickers on, or on a spinning outfit I will leave the bail open, fasten a piece of copper wire to the arm that is attached to the rod making a small hook to hang the line on, having a gentle tug, the sailfish will pull the line from the tiny hook inside the copper wire and set this reel into free spool because it runs using the bait. Allow the fish eat not less than 5-10 seconds, or until he will be taking off speedily, then put your drag lever within the strike position and reel down until line starts peeling from the reel. Once the kite bait gets hit, the Sailfish needs time and energy to eat the same as above, while you reel down on the fish the fishing line will pop from the clip, so reel fast to have tight before he jumps. If he jumps before you get tight, then you missed him.

Prime time for south Florida Sailfish starts from November through April when these fish are concentrated in 100 to 200 feet of water. On winter days as the wind arrives of the east it is not unusual to get 4-5 releases in the days fishing from Ft. Lauderdale, 3 or even more releases is really a good day. Through the winter season make sure to present plenty of baits down deep, a minimum of 50 feet or maybe more down. We catch a lot of sails this way, it seems the top part of the water column is a bit too cold on their behalf especially on those days when the winds are blowing from the north.

When targeting Sailfish with Shimano TLD, look for the edge the location where the cobalt blue waters meets the green water. This is where the bait usually ends up as these two currents move against the other person. This edge always changes, sometimes you will not find blue water past 700 feet or so. Don’t neglect the bradenton area, many times I’ve put lines down from 75-100 feet and developed a beautiful tail walker. Take notice of the current also, a good 2 knot north current produces among the better bites!

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