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The Best Fishing Rod for Sailfish

Updated: Jul 21, 2022

Want to know what makes the ultimate fishing rod for catching sailfish? Get advice from fishing rod builder, Drew, of RodsbyDru.

Not many people know that fishing rods are built differently for catching specific fish. Here, we'll talk about what makes the best fishing rod for sailfish–a sought after game fish that you can catch ... with the right rod!

Here's an awesome snapshot of a sailfish we caught in Piñas Bay, Panama.

Coming from a fishing rod builder, the most important factor for your sailfish rod is the weight. Weight is especially important for pro fishermen using a dead bait tournament circle hook rod.

Weight and Guides:

To achieve a light-weight rod like this, I like to use 8 or 9 Fuji titanium ring guides plus a top depending on the length of the rod. From my experience, the more the better. Multiple guides give you extra confidence in alignment and strength without compromising fast action performance.

The lighter butts are made of foam, and I like to put heat shrink on the bottom butt for extra durability when rods are going in and out of the rod holder. I also like the Winthrop Epic Butts as they are also very light. Slick Butts and Aftco butts are very durable choices as well; they are just a bit heavier.

Below you can see the Winthrop Epic Butt and Fuji guides.

The reason for the importance of weight is constant usage. The tournament angler has the rod in his hands most of the day, and if he is casting to the dredge constantly (that's the goal!), a lighter rod is obviously better.


The rod needs to be long enough to cast in front of the dredge for prospecting, and short enough to be manageable in the pit. The best length rod for sailfishing is between 6 foot 7 inches and 7 feet.

The Blank:

The actual blank needs to have a light tip for circle hook fishing. Think of the old Shakespeare Ugly Stik blanks that had a light tip with the backbone to actually catch the fish.

You don’t want a noodle of a blank that bends all the way to the reel seat.

When catching tournament fish, speed is paramount, and the difference in winning and losing usually comes down to one or two fish. So, if it takes longer to catch the fish, you can’t get your spread out and catch more. Today, the Calstar Graphiter series seems to work well for this; its fiberglass top and graphite base allows for the soft tip and load-ability.

Now, these are the ideal specs for a custom built sailfish rod. Shimano and other production builders have something similar manufactured - it's the custom rods that distinguish a good rod from a great rod.

Below is a set of custom sailfish rods we made for a client.

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