Fishing with Wire Line

By: Tim Stein

fishing with wire lineMany already know that fishing with wire line can be a great tool in your trolling arsenal, sometimes even the most productive one. The weight and diameter of the wire line helps get your presentation deeper, holds right where you put it, and sends out vibrations in the water that certainly get the attention of fish.

First choose your wire. There are many types of wire, and they are not all created equal. I recommend thirty pound uncoated seven strand stainless steel wire. I would also suggest the 1000-foot spool using no backer, but tied directly to the spool. The wire itself is very abrasive, especially when moving. It can cut through rod guides, other lines, and just about anything they come in contact with including backer line and fingers, so be careful with what comes in contact with it.

Next you will need a suitable reel. Many choose the Diawa SG47LCA, or the Okuma Convector 30D. Both reels have line counters, metal reel spools, fit 1000 feet of wire perfectly, and most importantly smooth drags. Since wire is heavy and has no stretch, the drag will be the one component keeping the drag tight enough to hold the wire where you set it, and allowing a fish to hit and run without pulling the hooks out. To fasten the wire to the reel, wrap it 4 times around the spool, and use the Homer Rhodes knot, or a crimped sleeve, cinched tight against the spool to prevent slippage. If you have trouble getting it tight to the spool, you can remove the lead from a section of lead core line, insert the wire into the sleeve, tie an overhand knot to join the wire and sleeve, then tie the lead core sleeve to the reel seat. When spooling with wire, keep the wire very tight from beginning to end to keep a good pull on the wire from digging it into the spool and becoming stuck in the loose fill.

Once the reel is ready you need to choose a rod. Not just any rod will work either. The best (most expensive) choice would be a roller rod. Do not bother with the cheaper ones as the wire can slip off the rollers and become trouble. A quality roller rod will also have more rollers to even out pressure along the rod, and priced over $200. A more popular choice would be a standard medium heavy trolling or diver rod with quality guides, and the addition of a Twilli Tip to replace the tip guide. The Twilli Tip or wire saver is a stainless steel spring used to protect the wire from bending 90 degrees at the tip and damaging the wire and tip guide. By quality guides I mean Fuji, stainless, or titanium ones that will resist being cut by the wire. Periodically inspect the guides for cuts or wear and replace if damaged once you start using your setup.

Now that your setup is nearing completion it is time to think terminal ends. With wire you have many choices to tie ends. Specially sized sleeves for each line diameter can be crimped on but require a bag of sleeves, and proper crimping tool to get the job done. Follow manufacturers recommendations and use the right sized sleeve and tool so not to damage the wire in the crimping process. My preference is the Homer Rhodes knot, and many people use a double overhand knot with good success. These can be tied easily and on the spot with no tools required. Choose a large snap swivel with large welded split ring for a connector. The large smooth ring will gently bend the wire around it, where a smaller ring will bite into the wire and cause damage and premature break off’s, and an unwelded ring can open or slip the wire through the ring entirely and become disconnected.

Now that you have made the investment in a wire rod make sure you are using a good quality metal rod holder to keep your investment on your boat. With 200 feet of wire out, Dipsy Diver, and flasher being pulled at 3 mph, your drag will be set tight to keep the reel from creeping out, rod will be straining, and wire will be singing. When a 20+ lb king smashes your bait your rod holder will be the critical link, so make sure it’s mounted properly, and in good working order. Plastic holders are not recommended for this task.

A couple tips, once you start using your wire you will notice it curling or pig tailing near the ends with slack line. This is normal, but when the coils get pulled tight there is a chance that the line will kink. If you get a kink anywhere in the line retie immediately, as the wire is damaged at that point and you will probably lose anything tied on below it. To combat this I slide on a large bead before tying my terminal end on. With this in place you can reel the bead and line tight into the Twilli spring to keep the line straight when storing or in transit.

With each fish caught on the wire you will feel every wiggle and headshake. Because of the no stretch characteristics, the rod and drag must be used effectively to fight the fish. Many guys just start cranking and ultimately yank the hooks right out of the fish’s mouth. By letting the rod and drag tire the fish you will eliminate this issue and put more fish in the box.

Tim Stein

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