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March 18, 2013

Using Wire leader

Wired! Look to the past for productive new tactics.

Rescigno swears by wire on cedar plugs too. “Wire brings out the best in a cedar plug,” he says. “It lets it track with more of an erratic action. The only downside is where the wire enters the head, the wobbling sometimes kinks it. If the wire looks compromised, cut off the bent or kinked portion, re-rig, and get that lure back out there.”

Capt. Bouncer Smith is a ­living ­legend in South Florida, an area devoted to 30- and 50-pound fluoro leaders and small circle hooks for sailfish. Smith bucks the tide. “Most every day when we’re sailfishing, I attach a 9-inch length of No. 4 (40-pound-test) single-strand wire to the end of my 14-foot, 60-pound mono leaders with a small swivel,” he says. 

Smith contends that, especially with circle hooks, the light wire slides through the maw of sailfish better than mono and fluorocarbon, which is imperative for circle hooks to set effectively. In addition to converting more sailfish bites to releases, wire traces stop kingfish and wahoo from biting their way to freedom, as they commonly do with nonmetallic leaders.

Wired Shallow

Perhaps wire is more difficult for fish to see when trolling or drifting. But how about in clear inshore waters and for species known to be very cautious?

“Wire leader is a staple in my tarpon fishing,” says Smith. “With dead baits on the bottom and with live mullet, I use a couple of feet of No. 8 (93-pound-test) single-strand wire. Tarpon have no teeth, but when they clamp down hard on a mono leader, their mouths are rough enough to keep the leader from sliding. And when that happens, they feel the pressure, jump and throw the hook before it’s set. Wire slides through their jaws and lets the circle hook set the way it should. We fish in cloudy water quite a bit, so I’m not worried about the tarpon noticing the wire.”

That premise applies for that trophy snook fisherman; snook also have a raspy mouth. The same can be said of big striped bass, cobia, amberjack, groupers, snappers, dolphin and tuna.

Smith discovered that wire works wonders on mutton snapper, even in the clear shallows of Biscayne Bay. “Years ago, we were trying to catch sharks in the finger channels with No. 7 or No. 8 wire leaders and barracuda chunks and fillets,” says Smith. “The lemon and spinner sharks didn’t cooperate, but we started catching mutton snappers. We then switched to monofilament leaders and smaller baits for the muttons, but they wouldn’t bite. We went back to the wire leaders, and they bit. The wire leaders sank and become covered with sand, while the mono leaders remained visible to the snappers.”

And if catching snappers on wire isn’t impressive enough, how about bonefish? “Four to five inches of No. 3 (31-pound-test) wire carries a bait to the bottom without the need for a split shot. The wire disappears under the silt and goes undetected by bonefish.”

There are times when you can’t beat ­old-fashioned single-strand wire. Think about that when you’re ­struggling to get a bite, and when those finesse tactics just aren’t cutting it.