When an excited sailfish is attacking the teaser, the mate quickly pulls it away from the fish. The skippers slips the clutches into neutral. At the same time, the angler casts his fly or hooked bait to the fish and begins his retrieve. If all works out well, the sail grabs this next-best offering, often very close to the boat.
Most provided tackle aboard charterboats is 20-lb on the East Coast and 30-lb in the Pacific, the difference being the size of the fish. This lighter tackle allows the angler to stand up while playing the fish. It's a nice waltz across the deck.
South Florida decorum often calls for live goggle-eyes. When sails seem educated to every well dressed ballyhoo and the most accurately split-tailed mullet, they will often take a well-presented live bait. Goggle-eyes are often fished from kites, which offer the advantage of keeping most of your terminal tackle out of the water. Live baits are also fished from outriggers or flat lines. Slow trolling to maintain steerage works, but drifting is better.
Boat speed is at idle when slow trolling simply maintained by slipping one engine into gear for a few seconds and doing the same with the other one. Usually the skipper faces aft, working the clutches to his rear. When the sailfish takes a bait, it's usually seen. For natural baits, trolling speeds of 4 to 5 knots seem to work best. With artificials, the boat moves a little faster-- 6 or 7 knots. High speeds, 8 to 10 knots, as used for marlin and school tuna, are not very effective.