Spread ‘em out...
Article by Mike Laubscher of Blue Water Charters | Durban
For Big Game and Billfish
I know there are many ways to rig up ones tackle, and how to set a good spread. I have spent many hours on the water and the system that I am using has developed from many a lost fish and which positions have caught more fish.
After many years of using thick wind on leaders connected with bimini twists, I had lost many a fish either on the initial take when the bimini would pop or at the end of the fight when the wind on leader connection would fail. I hate losing fish and so I started analysing what was going wrong and sought after better solutions.
The bimini twist was a failing point and after testing and even trying to find other ways to tie it I found that when pulling up the twist the line would weaken as it got “hot”, further to this the bimini twist was only good for one big fish.
Wind on leaders are connected to the thick line by way of a Chinese cuff and after time this can also fail and then the connection simply parts, using these thick wind on leaders also takes up a lot of space on the spool and so reduces the amount of line on ones spool.
This season I used a completely new system on several rods and it has worked the whole season without a single failure where as the 2 rods I still ran with my old system failed a few times.
No more Bimini twists, I am now using a 50mm Aussie plait and although the connection takes slightly longer than a bimini its can last a whole season and many big fish. The plait does not heat up the line and so the connection if done properly is fool proof.
No more wind on leaders, I am now using 4m of double line, and a long double line connection is also much easier using the plait when compared to the bimini. The double line is then connected to a heavy duty stainless snap. With this method one can fill up your spool right to the brim and gain at least an extra 50-70m of line which counts when you have a big fish on.
My lure leaders are now 5m long, I have found that short leaders make handling big fish difficult, the snap so close to the lure makes an additional unwanted bubble trail and when leadering a fish the snap itself can hurt ones hands. I find that the lures swim better with less chance of rolling or twisting. Also it is not good to have a big fish so close to the rod. Many may disagree and prefer short leaders for fear of getting tangled up, but the solution is to simply leave excess line overboard.
Setting your spread
Depending on conditions I will either run 5 lines or 7 lines; usually I prefer to run 7 lines and I have found that certain positions produce more fish that others and getting your lures into clean water with a good smoke trail and popping action is the key as these are the lures that produce the fish.
I don’t like using tag lines, and yes I know many swear by it but for me I find that they just let your lures run into the wash.
I run a single line on my out riggers with 2 tag points, the 2nd one about 600mm down from the top one. I don’t like using rigger clips (They tend to fail at times), and prefer the old tried and tested method of using rubber bands connected to snap swivels.
So if running a 5 line spread:
1st line goes on the up rigger and out back in the centre, I call this the Shotgun, but it’s also known as the Japan or Hong Kong position.
I like to run this with a large bird and it must be at the end of my wash in the clear water, your speed will dictate how far back this needs to be.
2nd and 3rd lines will go on the outside rigger positions; I like to run these lures without birds, these lures will run nice and clear out the wash on either side of the boat,
4th and 5th lines will run on the inside rigger positions (600mm down from the top ones), these lures I like to run with small birds and they will run just on the edge of your wash closer in than the outside rigger positions.
If Running 7 lines:
Here I will run 2 lines off the corners and run them without birds, I like to flat line these lines by clipping them with a rubber band on the boat and I also prefer to run larger lures here in the open holes of the prop wash so they are in clear water.
Your speed will depend on the conditions, good conditions mean you can run faster and when running faster one set’s the lures further back so the swim correctly, in rougher conditions one must slow down and so the lures must run closer to the boat to run correctly.
As lures get closer to the boat they tend to run more aggressively which is why when in rough conditions one brings the lures closer in to compensate for the slower speed.
The main and most important thing is that your lures run right, leaving long smoke trails and popping nicely every 4-8 seconds.
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