Tackle and Tactics
Mike Ladle


Information Page

Is your tackle stout enough?.

I was going to put some more of my 'tropical holiday fishing snaps' on this page but then realised it will complicate my filing system so decided to compromise by writing a bit about beefing up tackle for big, fast fish.

I've been fishing for a long time and you would imagine that I was able to tie a decent knot by now. In fact I've prided myself on not only tying things up firmly but on checking that any connection was sound before I cast. I stick to a few 'tried and trusted' knots, wet them and snug them up neatly and then give them a bloody good pull before consigning them to the deep. On the whole they never let me down and the only times I get broken are when a fish finds a snag of some sort. Similarly, although I have changed my line and trace wire over the years I always made sure that any new stuff was better than the old. Over the years I've gone from Racine Tortue monofilament to Maxima monofilament to Fireline braid to Whiplash braid (my current favourite). I use crimped Drennan wire for traces and have never had any trouble with it, although it does kink if you get snagged or when you play a big fish.

Since going to Tobago and catching/losing a few good fish I've had to rethink my entire armoury of tackle. The Whiplash is still OK but having had a few apparent 'cut offs' either on fish or coral, I decided to add a few feet of nylon rubbing trace to the end of the braid. This is no problem and an Albright knot serves to make the join but after some really severe tests with big jacks I began to wonder if the nylon loop was in danger of slipping out of the knot. To prevent this possibility I now make a KNOTTED loop in the nylon before tying on the braid. So far so good.

The next problem was barracuda. They will bite through nylon or braid as if it was not there, so wire is essential. Twenty or twenty-eight pound Drennan wire, neatly crimped (it does make a tidy join) seemed fine until we hooked bigger fish and then, once or twice, they bit us off during prolonged battles. Back to the drawing board and forty-pound, 49 strand 'American fishing wire'. This is tough stuff, a lot thicker than the Drennan but much less easy to kink. However, we could not find suitable crimps to give the favoured three-fold strong connection and still make a tidy job of it. After much trial and error I decided that it was better to knot my lure permanently on to the wire with a loop. The wire is not soft enough to avoid a bit of a kink at the knot but on reasonable sized plugs (11cm+) it is OK. At the other end of the trace I loop on a smallish (40lb), good quality swivel. It is now easy to blood knot the swivel to the end of my nylon rubbing trace. All my lures are permanently on wire so it is simple to cut the nylon and tie on another. I am now reasonably confident about this set up (nothing lost yet anyway) and will stick to it until I lose a fish.

For pike fishing I shall probably still use Drennan wire for traces but when I'm shore fishing in tropical seas the rubbing trace and loop-knotted wire will be the order of the day.

If you have any comments or questions about fish, methods, tactics or 'what have you.'get in touch with me by sending an E-MAIL to - docladle@hotmail.com


Is your tackle stout enough?

What is it?

This fish, presumably a big barracuda, had been on for some minutes.  The tackle was sound but shortly afterwards the hook hold gave way.

Rubbing trace.

The braid is attached to the knotted loop in the nylon.  Ignore the kink in the nylon which is just to show where it is knotted.


This Drennan wire is folded so that there are three thicknesses in the crimp.  It makes a neat join.


The 49 strand wire is tied to the lure with a loop knot.  I now use the same knot to tie on the swivel.


The teeth of this small barracuda are literally razor sharp.


Jacks will test every link in your gear to destruction unless you are meticulous.