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Terminal Tackle Blues

A couple of basic terminal tackle secrets to catch more Fish

Having fished in Rhode Island for many years it seems there are just a few basics changes in terminal tackle configuration that can improve most anglers fishing techniques.   Often times a rod is configured with snap swivels or coastlocks to attach a plug or other lure to the end of their line.  This has to be the biggest no-no I’ve seen when fishing.  While there are Kamikazi stripers or bluefish that will hit anything regardless, there are many more fish that show greater discernment and will not hit something that has a snap swivel on the end of it.  It is far better to use a loop knot to attach your lure to the end of the line.  The loop knot is much less visible and you will catch more fish that way.

   People will sometimes bring their own tackle on charters and another mistake I often see is when attaching a monofilament leader to a braided fishing line.  Many anglers use swivels to do this and it is not a good idea.  The main issue with this is that the swivel cannot go through the rod guides, limiting the length of your leader critically.  The other issue is that bluefish will be able to see the swivel and will often mistake it for something to eat, and cut your line off.  It is especially a problem when the leader is short and you hook a bluefish, the others will follow and try to get a piece of the action.  They may see the swivel and take a swipe at it.  The best way to attach the braid to the leader is with a uni-knot to uni-knot connection.  This gives you a very small knot which you can wind right through the guides on the rod, allowing leaders of four to seven feet in length.  This keeps the knot far away from the hooked fish and allows you to tie on new lures again and again without having to put on a new leader.

Remember as you fish it is necessary to check your leader every once in a while to see if it has any nicks in it that would require you to cut and rety the line.  Especially when you catch a toothy critter you should check it every time.   I have lost too many lures to leaders that were nicked by bluefish or kingfish teeth.  Another consideration is that a slight nick in the line that pulls a long piece off can make the leader visible to the fish you are trying to catch.

If you want to increase your chances of getting the toothy critters up to the boat, here is another option for tying your leader.  Use Suflon Nylon coated leader in 20 or 30lb test in the “bright” color.  Tie on a monofilament leader of about two feet length, then tie a two foot length of the surflon steel braided leader.  Use a uni-knot to uni-knot connection, yes you can tie the surflon.  Only use one wrap for the surflon, and 3 or 4 wraps for the mono.  When pulling it down tight, go slowly to make sure everything comes together well.  Now you have a leader that can withstand a bluefish swallowing your soft plastic bait.  As with the mono leader, you need to check it every time you catch a toothy fish as the coating can be cut or stripped and make the leader very visible to the fish.  This would then require you to retie the leader.  Kinks in the wire can also be an issue, I will usually cut the kink out or retie a new leader.

   Just these few changes alone will make a lot of difference in your fishing.  Presentation of a bait is a very important consideration, especially targeting the more finicky stripers.  I have fished in Rhode Island waters for many years and these terminal tackle techniques are the ones I have found to be the most effective when using plugs and soft plastic baits.


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