Mackerel Patterns, Sailfish, Bill Fish Flies

Mackerel Patterns, Sailfish, Billfish Flies, Winston B2X Fly Rods


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Mackerel Patterns
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February 01, 2004, Sunday, 1:00pm - 5:00pm
Fly Tier's Round Table
"
Learn how to tie Mackerel Patterns"
FPF Blue Mackerel

8"-9" flies are big flies by most standards, but they are medium size Billfish flies.  That is what we are tying here; flies for fish that eat flies the size of trout.  If you are a big game hunter show up for this program.  

There will be a movie that will get your juices flowing. 
The program and instructions are free.  
So are the coffee and snacks.
Bring snacks to share if you want to.
Bring your own tools, and materials and tie along.  Beginners are welcome.
Group Leader: Mark Bachmann

Sailfish On The Fly
Mike Senatra & nice Mexican Sailfish.

Life  is full of challenges.  Or maybe life is about challenges; meeting them and beating them.  Some challenges are thrown at us by luck or divine intervention. Others are of our own choosing; mountains to be climbed or dragons to be slain.  Some people need to do the difficult in order to grow.  There is a lust for adventure, a need to tempt things beyond ones control.  Why else would one fish for sailfish with a fly rod?  At first glance Sailfish would seem like very unlikely quarries for fly anglers.  The sport of fly fishing is usually associated with smaller species that live in relatively confined areas.  Sailfish live their entire lives in the open Oceans of the tropical and semi-tropical parts of the world.  Only rarely do they come close to shore.  Often large expanses of deep blue water have to be covered just to find one.  Small Sailfish are fifty pound.  Large ones might exceed 200.  When hooked they display the power of a missile launched from a submarine.  They have enough power and stamina to hurt you; to cause you physical pain.  And of course therein lies the attraction, the fact that they ain't 

easy.  Or at least that's the way our quest started out.  Yet now, three seasons later, every one of my closest friends have caught at least one Sailfish with a fly rod.  Mike has caught a couple, so have Jeff and Tilda.  Patty got one, I've landed several and so has Troy.   Yup, and no doubt they Ready to land.
Troy & Mark. still are not easy,  but in some ways not as difficult as we had first imagined.  Even the heaviest fly tackle is considered "light-tackle" by deep sea fishing standards. We have caught sailfish on 12-weight, 14-weight and 15-weight fly rods.  To me, 12-weight rods are a little light in the butt to get the best performance out of 20-pound test tippet.  And they are a little light for casting the large flies that seem to produce the most strikes.  A 15-weight rod is a little   
more than you need for the average size fish.  No doubt it would be handy for really large fish.  We have used several brands of 14-weight rods and this seems to be the ideal size to match the fish and the size flies that are used to get them.  We started out using a 500-grain line, but have since switched to a 600 grain line.  The heavier line loads the rod and turns over the big flies easier.  We load our reels with 450-500 yard of backing.  This used to require a very large reel when we were using 30-pound Micron.  Now we use 50-pound TUF Line which is much smaller in diameter and our reels are getting smaller.  The smaller diameter of the TUF Line creates less water drag than the old style backing and should make it easier if you are into setting light tippet records.  Reels the size of an    Sailfish with FPF K.T.s Squid Tube Fly in the jaw.
Mike with another Sailfish.  FPF Blue Back Tube Fly in the foreground. Abel Super #13, Ross Big Game #8 and Tibor Gulfstream are adequate and proven in the field.  Sailfish lack teeth that would damage your leader, but there are a zillion little jaggers on the bill.  This necessates the use of a bite tippet.  By IGFA rules this bite tippet can be no more than 12" long including the knots.  This is only a partial help since the bill on some Sailfish measures nearly 2-feet long.  However to date we have lost no Sailfish due to the
class tippet being rasped in two.  Any leader used for big Tarpon would work for Sailfish.  We have been using the Climax Stu Apte Big Fish leaders marketed by Cortland.  We have used an assortment of of flies.  Two patterns have brought all our success.  Those are the FPF Blue Back Tube Fly and the FPF K.T.s Squid Tube Fly. 

Billfish Flies, world class selection & quality !!!
"What tipped us off, was these two world traveler types stopped in the shop on their way back from the South Pacific and said, "the best billfish fly selection that they had ever seen was in Welches, Oregon."
Bluewater Fly Fishing Book FPF Bleeding Mackerel, Red/Yellow 
Pink Squid Billfish Popper FPF K.T.'s Squid
Green Machine Billfish Popper FPF K.T.s Squid Tube Fly

FPF Ballyhoo

FPF Blue Back Tube Fly

FPF Hot Fish

FPF Hot Pink-Black Mackerel Tube Fly

FPF Blue Mackerel

FPF Mean Joe Green

FPF Green Mackerel

Billfish 6-Pack Fly Set

FPF Pink-White Mackerel

Trey Combs Tandem Hook Rigs

Striped Marlin, Loreto Mexico, July 2003, photo by Mike Senatra. Billfish are a diverse group of saltwater fish that have long, sleek bodies, huge powerful tales, retractable fins and a raspy spike sticking out of the noses.  There are quite a wide variety of colors and sizes.  All species are most prominent in warm water Oceans.  All species possess huge quantities of stamina and physical strength.  Bill fish attract the most expensive boats to the most expensive tournaments.  Billfish can
be categorized realistically as the most elite group of sport fishes.  One of the most elite quests provided by the sport of angling, is to catch and release a  widest variety of billfish species with a fly rod under IGFA rules.  These rules state that you can tease fish within casting distance with a trolled lure but, you must cast to and hook your fish with a fly while the boat is out of gear.  Since most billfish are used to catching their prey when it is moving fast, this kind of "bait and switch" tactic takes tremendous team work between the fly fisher and the crew of the boat.  The angler needs split-second fly casting skills with specialized heavy-duty gear.  This takes practice.  Once a billfish is hooked, the angler needs to have fish fighting skills and enough stamina to wear down a fish that weighs 50-300 pounds.  Even though the tackle you are using is heavy by freshwater standards, it is still a fly rod and reel which will limit your leverage.  Maximum tippet strength allowed is 20 pound test.  If you are able to land your fish, you will know that you have earned it.  Billfish that are commonly caught with flies are: Sailfish, Striped Marlin, Blue Marlin, Black Marlin and White Marlin.  Only a hand full of anglers have caught all five species with flies.  If you are looking for the ultimate quest with a fly rod, you need look no further.

A monumental work "Blue Water Fly Fishing" is an adventure in itself…. And is must reading for anyone with salt in their veins. Hard bound, glossy, full color-w/Mike Stidham pencil drawings, 285 pages.
Order yours now, only: $60.00


Pink Squid Billfish Popper

They gotta' see this one if it's anywhere near 'em.  Designed by Trey combs.  Works well with Trey Comb " Tandem Hooks" (not included). 
Item Description Size Price To Top
15374 Pink Squid Billfish Popper 6" - 7" $14.95

Green Machine Billfish Popper

Looks just like tasty a baby Dorado.  Designed by Trey combs.  Works well with Trey Comb " Tandem Hooks" (not included). 
Item Description Size Price To Top
15375 Green Machine Billfish Popper 6" - 7" $14.95

FPF Ballyhoo, blue/pearl/red

The is a very good fly for Caribbean Sailfish.

Item Description Size Price To Top
00741-5x5 FPF Ballyhoo, blue/pearl/red 5/0x5/0 7" $16.95

FPF Hot Fish
This flashy fly has fairly large hooks, but is easy to cast, one that you definitely need in your assortment.
Item Description Size Price To Top
00707-6x6 FPF Hot Fish 6/0x6/0 8" $19.95

FPF Blue Mackerel

A very good fly for all species of billfish, one that you definitely need in your assortment.

Item Description Size Price To Top
01164-5x5 FPF Blue Mackerel 5/0x5/0 9" $18.95

FPF Green Mackerel

Single hook fly. Comparatively easy to cast.

Item Description Size Price To Top
00706-7/0 FPF Green Mackerel 8/0 8" $14.95

FPF Pink-White Mackerel

Blood shot and wounded, vulnerable and tasty looking. Maybe the number one pick for Sailfish.

Item Description Size Price To Top
01175-5x5 FPF Pink-White Mackerel 5/0x5/0 9" $16.95

FPF Bleeding Mackerel, Red/Yellow 

Very popular in Australia.  Works well with Trey Comb " Tandem Hooks" (not included).

Item Description Size Price To Top
00703-10t FPF Bleeding Mackeral, Red/Yellow  10 inch 
tube fly
$17.75

FPF K.T.'s Squid

A very good choice for throwing at billfish that have been teased up with squid.

Item Description Size Price To Top
00715-5x5 FPF K.T.'s Squid 5/0x5/0 7" $18.95

FPF K.T.s Squid, Lavender / Pearl  These flies make some of the best hookless teasers we have found.  Also deadly with hooks in them.  Works well with Trey Comb " Tandem Hooks" (not included).
Item Description Size Price To Top
01170-10t FPF K.T.s Squid, Lavender / Pearl 10 inch 
tube fly
$19.95
02182-12t FPF K.T.s Fat Albert Squid, Lavender / Pearl 12 inch 
tube fly
$21.95

FPF Blue Back 
This is the big daddy of billfish flies and our #1 pick for many situations. Works well with Trey Comb " Tandem Hooks" (not included).
Item Description Size Price To Top
00704-12t FPF Blue Back  12 inch 
tube fly
$19.95

FPF Hot Pink-Black Mackerel 
Another bloodshot pattern.  Very popular world wide. Works well with Trey Comb " Tandem Hooks" (not included).
Item Description Size Price To Top
01168-12t FPF Hot Pink-Black Mackeral  12 inch 
tube fly
$19.95

FPF Mean Joe Green
A great green back pattern for larger fish. Works well with Trey Comb " Tandem Hooks" (not included).
Item Description Size Price To Top
01172-12t FPF Mean Joe Green 12 inch 
tube fly
$19.95

Billfish 6-Pack Fly Set
(1) Pink Squid Billfish Popper, (1) Green Machine Billfish Popper, (1) FPF Blue Back 12",
(1) FPF Blue Mackerel 9", (1) FPF Pink-White Mackerel 9", (1) FPF K.T.'s Squid 7"
(3) Trey Combs tandem hook set 7/0 x 7/0
Item Description Price To Top
BILLSET Billfish 6-Pack Fly Set $125.00

Tandem Hooks. Trey Combs tandem hook set.
These hooks are used with any big game tube flies.  The doubled stainless steel cable is epoxy coated and protected by plastic tubing.  Even numbers have straight eyes, odd numbers have turned up eyes.
Item Description Size Price To Top
00752 Trey Combs tandem hook set, straight eye 8/0 x 8/0 $9.30
00755 Trey Combs tandem hook set, turned up eye 7/0 x 7/0 $8.89
00751 Trey Combs tandem hook set, straight eye 6/0 x 6/0 $8.89
00754 Trey Combs tandem hook set, turned up eye 5/0 x 5/0 $7.75
00750 Trey Combs tandem hook set, straight eye 4/0 x 4/0 $6.99

Field Test Report: Winston B2X, Round-2
No trick picture....a 40-pounder. No matter how hard you try to prevent it, there is always a chance of mortality in "catch and release" fishing.  My sailfish had died even though we had towed it for nearly a half a mile trying to resuscitate it.  Determined that the meat would be in top condition when we got back to port, I opened it up and threw the guts overboard.  Within minutes a couple of very large Dorado were circling the boat; brought in by the smell of blood.  Mike Senatra 
grabbed the nearest rod at hand; my Winston 1290-4B2X and fired the attached 12" Blue Back Marlin Master tube fly in front of the lead fish.  The surprising part wasn't that the Dorado would eat a fly that large, but that the fly was rigged with a tandem 8/0 hook rig and yet Mike was able to cast the fly with a 12-weight rod.  The Dorado ate the fly on the second cast and after a long spectacular battle was landed and released.  The mature bull appeared to be about 40 pounds.  We had matched the B2X rod with a 400 grain Rio Deep-Sea line and obviously it performed well.  However, a couple of days later I changed to a 500 grain Deep-Sea line to get a faster sink rate while fishing along some rocks and thought the rod handled this heavier line very well also.  The fish that live along the rocks eat small flies and casting them was easy.  It is possible that the 500 grain line might handle large billfish flies better than the 400 grain line.  I will have to wait until the next trip to find out.  You should carry both lines if you are going to fish the Mexican coast.

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Your commentary is always welcome.  Drop us a line: flyfish@flyfishusa.com

 The Fly Fishing Shop HOME. The Fly Fishing Shop, Welches, OR

1(800) 266-3971

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Fish long & prosper
,
Mark & Patty

 


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