everything you need to know about the TACKLE...


Rods Reels Lines Weights Traces (Boat) Traces (Shore)
Swivels Hooks Lures IGFA Extras (Boat) Extras (Shore)

Introduction: At a later stage, we will introduce a section on knots...  For beginners, we would recommend monofilament, of circa 18 lbs (6-7 kilogram) breaking strain, with a shock leader of 10 lbs breaking strain for each ounze of lead i.e. 6 ounze lead (175 grams) => 60 lbs (26 kilogram) leader, as a multi-purpose selection.

Shock Leader:   Shock leaders are very important in beachcasting and even in some boat fishing where the rod takes a severe strain during the casting action.  A shock leader is a short piece (c 10 m) of much heavier breaking strain monofilament (mono) line, which runs from the trace back onto the reel.  A substantial number of "turns" of this line should be on the reel when the rod is set up, with a trace attached to the shock leader via a swivel.  When the cast takes place, just prior to the release, the strain on the rod and line is taken by the rod and by the heavier shock leader line, provided it runs from the weight right through the rod and down onto the reel.  If you did not have a shock leader, the strain can snap the lower breaking strain main line or even the rod itself!  Apart from being expensive in terms of lost gear, "crack offs" are extremely dangerous...

Braided Lines: Braided line is a weave of materials, a bit like a fabulously thin rope, and it is typically used as the main line when boat fishing and/or for hook lengths i.e. snoods.  They were originally developed for game / fly fishing.  It has become more popular as a mainline, especially when fishing in deep waters from a boat where sensitivity is required.   The key feature of braid is that it does not stretch, so you can detect the fish taking a bait or lure at depth - not always true with a standard monofilament line.  Since they are far thinner, they thus suffer less from currents in boat fishing.  Braid lines for freshwater fishermen can be made to float or sink or sink slowly akin to fly lines.  At sea, this feature is not that important, unless you are fly fishing for bass etc. in which case it is a key decision for the angler.   The key feature in braid is that it is more sensitive to the bite, but since it is a less elastic line, braid is "brittle" and can cause you problems when fighting bigger fish.  Braid is not for the beginner.  The knots required for braid are more difficult to tie than those used on monofilament (mono) lines.  Most rods are designed for use with mono lines.  Regardless of whether you are using braid or mono, if you are actively casting a weight, it is vital to use a mono ‘shock leader’ for the final 25 feet (7.5m).  This shock leader is of a far stronger breaking strain and it is essential if you are using braid as a main line.  The mono 'shock leader' used at the end of a braid main lines acts as a shock absorber.  It is important to ensure that the breaking strain of the mono trace line is less than that of the braid main line, to ensure that the mono trace line (not shock leader) will be the piece of line that stretches... and possibly breaks.  This is to save you time and money since braid is infinitely more expensive than mono!  Braids will last a long time and have a higher degree of resistance to abrasion.  On old boat rods the more modern braids can damage the rings, so new rings with plastic inserts may be needed.  Braid is worth the added expense when boat fishing.

Braided Hooklengths: Braided hook lengths are softer and more supple than braid used for mainline and they have a very small diameter for their strength compared to mono.  Flourocarbon mono lines are also becoming popular as hook lengths thanks to their ability to disappear almost completely when immersed in water.  All hooklengths shoudl be of a lower breaking strain to the mainline, so that if you snag up you will only lose the hooklength.  Over foul ground the line from weight to trace can be equally or lighter still; - this is a "rotten bottom" link. If it snags, you only lose the weight and not the expensive rig.  Hooklengths or snoods should have a breaking strain 20 per cent less than that of the main line on your reel...  Braid is not good off the shore for whilst it will cut across the tide and is resistant to abrasion, any rock or snag, floating weed rafts or other obstructions can cause you heavy and expensive losses.  Using the wrong line will spell disaster.  Angling articles often refer to the line diameter in millimetres (e.g. 0.12mm), rather than its strength. Finally it is worth repeating that braided hooklengths and main lines are far more expensive than standard mono alternatives...

Avoid pre-stretched lines; these are very specialised lines, useless for sea-fishing.  

Breaking Strain:   All lines are classified by their breaking strain.  This is the amount of pressure and not the dead weight that a fishing line will take before it snaps. It is surprising how tough quite 'light' lines are - try pulling one apart in a straight line!  In recent years the introduction of kilogram weight breaking strains has caused some difficulties in that the numbers had to be rounded either up or down from the old imperial (lbs) measure.  Check it carefully but these days most lines are described in both measures.  For main lines, anything from 12-18 lbs (5-7 kilos) line is sufficient for most light sea and shore fishing.  It depends on the conditions, whether you will get wear and tear from roungh ground, rocks, etc. and what you are looking for - 18 lbs line might be a bit light if you are after a 50 lb tope!  For boat fishing it is probably best to increase the breaking strain, and if you are after big specimens then the usual maximum is 30 lbs (14 kilos).  For big game fish like the Blue Fin Tuna, lines up to 130 lbs (58 kilos) are acceptable to the I.G.F.A.  Again braid lines offer the same breaking strain as far bigger diameter mono lines, hence their populaity for fishing off boats.

Monofilament Lines:  Monofilament (mono) is your standard fishing line and is a single strand of material.  It can be referred to as mono or 'cat gut' and yes, that was really used in bygone times!  Mono is the cheapest line available and effective but it does stretch, which means that it is harder to detect a fish biting or a take, especially at distance or at depth.  There are a multitude of different colours from which to choose... green to grey, brown to yellow, and as indicated the more expensive flourocarbon lines which will dissappear in water...  Some manufacturers are producing mono that is highly coloured and flourescent, specifically designed for use as trace line at depth i.e. for curious species like plaice.  Most anglers seem to prefer coloured main lines (for clear vision out of the water!) with the "clear" lines becoming increasingly popular for hook lengths and traces.

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