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October 26, 2001

Making a Wind-On Trace

A method of rigging wire-line outfits in a way that would eliminate the need for hand lining long monofilament traces.

Several years ago, I accepted an invitation from a charter-boat captain to fish a tournament in Key Largo, Florida. He asked that I provide all the tackle and do the rigging, angling, wiring and gaffing, since only the two of us would be aboard his vessel. I brought several 20-pound outfits for surface trolling and a 50-pound, wire-line rig - my "money-in-the-bank" wahoo rod.
I rigged the latter outfit in the traditional manner: a ball-bearing snap swivel at the end of monel wire and clipped on a 24-ounce trolling sinker. I attached the other end of the trolling sinker - again with a snap swivel - to 150 feet of 125-pound-test monofilament in order to keep the bait well separated from the sinker. The relatively heavy mono makes it easier to retrieve the long trace by hand.
And, to keep the mono from tangling around feet and other obstructions in the cockpit, I wrapped it directly onto a plastic yo-yo hand-line spool. Finally, I rigged a 6-foot single-strand wire leader ahead of the bait.
As luck would have it, we hooked a wahoo within five minutes of deploying a bait on this wire outfit. With the fish still well behind the boat, I put the rod in a holder and retrieved the long monofilament trace by hand onto the spool - tedious work indeed - and we finally landed the fish. The next day didn't produce any wahoo, but the largest dolphin of the tournament hit a lure trolled on the wire-line outfit, and I again hand lined the trace, only to have the bull make a second run and take back all the mono I'd just retrieved. Even worse than seeing all that hard-fought line going back into the ocean was nearly getting beaned when the trolling sinker zipped past my ear.
After the tournament, I decided to figure out a method of rigging wire-line outfits in a way that would eliminate the need for hand lining long monofilament traces and also prevent possible injury from flying sinkers. My method involves a different way to attach trolling sinkers and allows mono traces to be reeled right up to the leader, which eliminates hand lining and allows mono traces to be lighter and less visible and lets baits move more freely:
1. Cut two 4-inch pieces of hollow-core Dacron line - 80- to 100-pound Dacron works well for 50- to 60-pound wire line.
2. Insert the end of the wire line into an end of one of the pieces of Dacron. Slide the wire about 1 inch into the Dacron, then come out the side of the Dacron "tube."
3. Leaving 2 inches of Dacron hanging from the wire, push the wire back inside the Dacron and out the other end. You now have a 2-inch Dacron loop suspended from the wire line.
4. Push the loop a couple of feet up the wire, then repeat the entire process with the second piece of Dacron.
5. Take a trolling sinker with snaps on both ends and position the Dacron loops so their spacing matches up with each snap.
6. Using nylon thread, wrap the Dacron that covers the wire, securing the wraps with a series of half hitches. Coat the wraps with cyanoacrylate cement or Pliobond glue.
7. Make a loop in the end of the wire line with haywire twists and barrel wraps. Tie a short Bimini twist in the end of your monofilament trace (this can be the same strength as the wire line and should be 100 to 150 feet in length).
8. Join the wire line and monofilament trace with a loop-to-loop connection; this can be wrapped with thread, if desired, and glued. Tie a snap swivel on the other end of the monofilament trace and attach your leader.
To use it properly, let out the monofilament trace and wire line until the Dacron loops clear your rod tip. Attach the snaps on the trolling sinker to the Dacron loops and continue to deploy. When retrieving, stop before the sinker
reaches the rod tip, remove the sinker and reel the monofilament trace right onto the spool.