Some Useful Techniques on Fly Fishing for Sailfish

November 03, 2021 Fishing Guides Views: 1906

Do you have an interest in fly fishing for sailfish? Sailfish is a ferocious predator that can be found in all tropical and subtropical waters, though they prefer to stay at the surface. Although they may hunt from beneath the surface, sailfish use their speed and agility to catch prey by pursuing them from above.

Sailfish have a large dorsal fin known as a sail, which is kept folded back into a groove when not in use. Their long streamlined bodies, black underbelly, and white top side make them visible even when they're far away - it's no wonder they're one of the most popular saltwater sport fish. If you want to enjoy reeling in one yourself you'll need the right equipment. Here are our five best techniques for catching these amazing creatures.

Tip 1

Sailfish are most commonly caught using a fly rod. If you're using one of these rods make sure it's at least 9 feet long with a 20-30lb test line. You'll need a decent length leader too, around 5-7 feet long made from 40-50lb test.

Your first consideration when fly-fishing for sailfish is where you'll be using it. If you're fishing far out to sea, on the open ocean waves, it will need to be sturdier than if you're closer inshore over sand or reef. You might even want to consider bringing two of these setups along - one lighter one for the open water and another heavier one for your time around the shallows.

Tip 2

Sailfish are fast swimmers, so you'll need a powerful rod capable of throwing large lures or flies. The fly reel should also be appropriate; look for one with good drag settings (lighter ones won't work), smooth line retrieval and large line capacity. You'll also need some heavy gear. 20-30lb monofilament or fluorocarbon line with a leader of 60lb+ will put you on the right track to catching your first sailfish.

Tip 3

If you're planning on staying closer inshore, fishing over sand or reef, then something lighter is probably in order. A spinning outfit is perfect here, just make sure your reel has good drag settings and at least 10lb test mono or fluorocarbon lines. You can use live bait here too; small mackerels are perfect as they attract most species of fish. If you prefer lures, small jigs and soft plastic tails can also be great for catching a variety of fish. 

Tip 4

If you're fly-fishing through the surf zone then your gear will need to get a lot heavier. You'll need a 20-30lb braided line on at least an 8ft rod, with a decent reel capable of holding at least 300 yards of this heavy braid. Don't forget to include a good leader too. The lure or bait you present here will vary depending on where you are fishing and what species of fish might come along - it's best to experiment until you find something that works.

Tip 5

Another inshore method is to drift fish. If you're fishing in a local river or tidal estuary, a large spinning outfit with a medium-sized baitcasting reel and 15-20lb braid will give you the speed and power to keep your line tight. You'll need around 8-10 feet of line from the rod tip to your lure or live bait, so make sure it's not too heavy for what you have! Your leader should be around 6 feet long made from 50+lb test mono or fluorocarbon. 

In this blog post, we have shared some of the best fly fishing techniques for catching sailfish. If you want to learn more about how to catch these fish, or if you're a fisherman who is interested in learning a new technique, be sure to check out our website at We have tons of content on all types of saltwater and freshwater fishing tips which will help you up your game no matter what type of water body you are fishing in!

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