Prefered Equipment & Rigging
Sailfish and Blue Marlin on the fly is quickly becoming a popular demand here in Guatemala. Mainly because of the number of chances in a given day, all year round and Captain who know the fly game for billfish. As far as recommended equipment goes we have some very simple guidelines. For starters we would plan on a 12 wt to 14 wt set up for both the rod and reel, nothing less. The reel is much more important than the rod. We suggest the following: Tibor Pacific & Orvis Mirage is what we have on our boats. A big arbor is key when recovering line.
The rod doesn't need to be anything special, just fast action and heavy. It will feel funny at first (like a broom stick), but you will see why this stiffness is needed. Temple Fork, Cam Sigler & Orvis is what we use.
The Fly & How To Tie It
The fly used here is the Cam Sigler popper heads with PINK chicken feathers. However, you can tie just about any color combintion, as well as most homemade popper flies will work fine. Be creative! But please be sure it has a popper NO streamer flies. You need something to push water and a heavy sinking head is needed.
How To Tie A Cam Sigler Fly
Note that the backing is one of the most important parts in fly fishing for billfish. I recommend gel spun by Orvis, Rio & Scentific Angler. We put anywhere from 400 yds to 600yards of 35 lb to 45lb gel spun on our reels. With lots of backing in the water and high speed runs with sails the pressure on the backing is immense.
Here is a system to set up for billfish on the fly. We use Suffix Hi-Vis for the mono and cut back Rio Leviathan flylines. You are not casting far! Just 10-12 yards tops. You are casting to the fishes tail as we yank the teaser just behind the transom. Yes the action is that close!
Other brands will work fine for bill fish line (scentific angler makes a great line too), but its important you use a shooting head at least 550 gran or more. Its a quick cast, and that diameter line will have less drag in the water than floating line, and lastly the popper head tends to drive and smoke a lot more with a shooting head pulling it down, better action. Its never 100% flat so the fly needs that shooting head to help it perform or it will foul and look bad. WIindy days or a rough ocean make the fly tumble vs dig and smoke like we want.
Preparing For The BITE
Communication is VERY important with catching a sailfish on the fly. Upon arrival to the Blue Bayou Lodge, Capt Chris Starrs will conduct a meeting the night before your first day of fishing. With the help of our sailfish mount at eye level, and the lodge pool, we will practice casting, talk about hook set, and the mates fishing with you will check all of your gear to be sure everything is ready. This gets us all off the dock quicker, and reduces confusion the next day.
Most of the boats have a similar spread. One outrigger is pulled up on the anglers casting side, and much of the spread is hookless boat rod teasers. The Angler & Mates will be fishing very closley. The Captain will holler out the fishes poisition, at this time any other teaser in the way will be cleared quickly. (Note, anytime you hear about a fish in the spread, your fly is in the water, READY!) The Capt will ease the boat out of gear, from there the angler needs to have his or her fly in the water semi loaded for a quick cast command. This all happens within seconds. As the fish reaches the transom (usually 10 yards), the Capt will holler ''CAST'', the mate will yank the teaser and you will attempt to cast at the fishes tail. Once the sailfish realizes the teaser is gone, it will turn around to discovery your fly be stripped towards it and it should pile on the fly. We only suggest a lite lean or sweep against the fishes corner or its mouth. The Capt will have a better view and will help by saying ''LEFT SWEEP or RIGHT SWEEP''. This means keep your rod low, and set the fly against the fishes mouth.
When a marlin enters the spread the procedure is even faster and different from that of a sailfish. You need to cast to the marlins mouth and usually across the wash. You may be asked to cast over lines. We will also practice this situation, for its a good idea to have a 14 wt with a bigger fly & hook close by. All is very exciting, but unless you are truly briefed and have practiced you will not be able to reap the reward. This separates us from other lodges.
Any Questions please contact Capt Starrs