What is your recommendations for 14wt and above tackle for off shore game?
For a reference, I'm planning to challenge for blue/yellow-fin tuna, sail fish, and giant trevally next year. Some say 14wt is only good enough up to tuna, but I'm already inconfident in dealing with tackle heavier than my 12wt in the first place...
Take this with a grain of salt because I’ve never fished for any of those with a fly rod, but in talking to folks that have, and having a few 11 and 12’s myself, I think you’ll be overgunned with a 14 for those fish, unless you’re targeting large blue and black marlin and very large tuna 300+.
For GT, sailfish, white marlin and tuna 100 pounds-ish, you should be fine with a 12 provided you have a good reel (Tibor Gulfstream or larger, Charleton Mako etc) with 300 yds 30 lb backing. Before buying a 14 weight outfit, I would think seriously about upgrading the reel on your 12 if it isn’t one of those expensive shiney ones to stand up to those hot fish.
With GT especially, you’ll most likely be in situations where you’re blind casting over dropoffs, as well as fishing to sighted fish, and a 12 will be bad enough. Blind casting a 14 all day could have you in traction for months.
A 14 is a big stick designed for its fish fighting ability, and throwing to teased up fish, not casting repeatedly. If you were targeting those bigger fish on chartered boats with captains that specialize in fly fishing, I’d practice a lot with the 12 you already have, and plan on using the guides heavier stuff if needed, making sure it’s available and on-board before the trip. If these are the kinds of captains that do this sort of a thing on a regular basis, they ll have the latest and greatest stuff designed for this already, with multiple backups. Think of it as 2 “free” blue water trips with the money you “save”. If this is for your own boat, or you are planning on travelling to remote areas where no FF gear is available and targeting these species, than maybe buying a bigger stick with a quality reel is the way to go, with VERY limited application for other stuff.
As far as customs go, breaking rods is not at all uncommon on fish like these, so replacement might be an issue (in most cases it will be limited to a blank). If you go the custom route, clarify up front with the builder about replacement/rebuild costs.
Just my .000000002 cents. Perhaps others with experience fishing for these beasts will chime in.
Thank you Sandfly and Peregrines for insightful replies!
Sorry for late reply due to going away to the tropical island of Okinawa. I just accidentally met a good size trevally on my 9wt Xi2 from shore. I held on to the first run, but as soon as the hand line went out into reel line, nylon leader broke... I had my #6 crazy charlie tied in free knot on 9' 30lb nylon leader which is connected to 3' 60lb nylon butt section on loop-to-loop. No bimini or shock leader system for I put this line system on Rio Outbound floating aiming for distance cast, not expecting to fight heavy fish showing up from nowhere.
I think 9wt stood out OK as long as I didn't bother to lift the fish, but I didn't loosen the drag of Tibor Riptide and I didn't check the knot carefully prior to the fight . I guess it's not all about how strong the rod is, but how strong you can build your rig and reel, so that you will stand the chance...
I see the same goes into choosing tackle for off-shore game between 12 or 14wt+. I'd stick to my 12wt and work on improvement on reel and line set up.
You have some good tackle and your are right that some better techniques are in order. I would never make a cast with out knowing how the reel drag is set. How is that leader working for you? Are you having any trouble with the leader turning over?
That trevally sounds like it was one "hot" fish. Sometimes there's not much you can do. You can get cut off by coral, a tail swipe to the leader etc. and the mouths of fish, even without teeth, can wear through a shock tippet pretty easily in a long fight, and a tippet in much shorter time. That's the chance you take--- it sounds like you were fishing for bones, so you may not want a shock leader if you were targeting them--- and then along came this guy.
After a breakoff it's always a good idea to examine the leader to see if you can pin point the failure. Little pigtails, or a breakoff at the junction between two sections of leader might = knot failure, running the leader, tippet and shock leader through your fingers may turn up rough spots where it was abraded by mouths, coral etc---- not much you can do about that.
It's always a good idea to obsess about your knots and rigging including the backing to fly line knot to make sure it's solid and will pass thru guides easily( your Sage has oversize guides so it shouldn't be a problem, but it's always wise to check), the sharpness of your hooks, and the drag on your reel before fishing. Check hooks points and leaders frequently for after fishing with them awhile and after every fish.
One thing I would do is to make sure that somewhere in your leader system you have a "weak point" weaker than the test of your backing when you're fishing in waters with speedsters-- just as an example, if you're using 30lb backing make sure that there's a section of 20lb in the leader. If you do get a breakoff after a long run you don't want to lose a fly line.
I bet you had a blast and you'll remember that trevally for a long time. Sounds like you're ready for a rematch in early 09.
Happy holidays and best wishes for the new year to you and yours,