For fly lines, Capt. Bowman recommends a floating or intermediate line, preferably floating. Saltwater taper weight-forward lines or integrated shooting heads are best. Capt. Trimble’s favorite line is the Rio Leviathan, because of its 70 lb test core.
Rio Leviathan Intermediate fly line.
Photo courtesy Rio Products
Tippets and bite tippets
Let’s start with the tippet and bite tippet. For world records, the heaviest tippet class recognized by the IGFA is 10 kg (22 lb). Bite tippet length is limited to 12 inches, including knots.
The bad news is that landing even a medium-sized shark can be extremely difficult with this type of tackle, due to the abrasive nature of a shark’s skin.
As a result, pros like Dave Trimble and Conway Bowman opt for 25-30 lb tippets, with 32″ – 36″ wire bite tippets in most situations. This provides additional insurance against tippet abrasion or bite-offs. Heavier tippets also allow you to land a shark faster, putting less stress on the fish.
How to deal with wire
Single strand wire is the norm for bite tippets. Capt. Trimble prefers #7 or #8 wire over lighter wire because the fish are not leader-shy, and the heavier wire resists kinking and is easier to handle.
Use a Haywire Twist to connect the wire to a small welded ring (referred to locally as a “tuna ring”), and tie your tippet to the ring. Use a Haywire Twist to attach the hook to the wire bite tippet.
If you can’t find tuna rings, you can make a Haywire Loop in the wire bite tippet, and use an Albright knot to attach your tippet. But keep in mind that Albright knots seem to be more susceptible to abrasion damage, according to Capt. Bowman.
The rest of the leader
If you use heavy tippets, you don’t need much in the way of a leader butt. A short section of 30 – 50 lb mono is all that is needed.
Use a loop-to-loop connection to add the tippet to the butt, or tie the tippet directly to the butt section using a Double Surgeon’s knot. Keep leader length fairly short, 6-8 ft. max.