A major factor in successfully teasing billfish into casting range for the fly-fisher is natural bait robustness. Experienced crews understand this and generally overcome the problem by using only the firmest, freshest baits, stitching them to the leader to add strength. But even a well-stitched bait that’s old and soft can tear away from the leader. And there are times when obtaining fresh bait is just not possible.
On a trip to Guatemala, I fished with Capt. Ron Hamlin, multiple world-record holder for Pacific sailfish on fly tackle and skipper of the Capt. Hook out of Iztapa. He regularly raises between 15 and 20 sailfish a day into his spreads. With these numbers, he needs a way to keep his natural teasers in the game longer, so he adds a strip of pork rind to one side of his bait. The pork rind can withstand the tremendous forces a “hot” billfish generates and still maintain its integrity – and they can be used over and over.