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October 26, 2001

Quick-Change Blue Shark Leader

Here is a leader that is tough enough to withstand the abarasive skin of a shark and can be re-leadered quickly.

When chumming for sharks in the Northeast, anglers sometimes hook up to 50 blue sharks a day, pointlessly wasting dozens of feet of good wire in making enough leaders long enough to prevent breaking off on the shark's abrasive skin. When blue sharks are a problem, try this rig. It's good for both blue and mako sharks and uses very little wire.
Take a Penn 50 TW or a comparable reel and load it three-quarters full with 50-pound Dacron. Splice in about 100 feet of 80-pound Dacron, followed by a second splice of 15 feet of 130- to 200-pound Dacron. This allows the angler to really pressure the fish for the last 40 yards or so of the fight. Then tie on a 300-pound, heavy-duty snap swivel.
For the leader, crimp a loop into one end of a 14-foot piece of 400- or 500-pound Jinkai or Momoi monofilament and loop it to the snap swivel. Crimp a second 300-pound snap swivel to the other end. Using a monofilament leader instead of wire has two advantages: When leadering a shark, you won't damage the side of the boat as much, and when a big mako grabs the baits and leaps, the mono will absorb the shock.
For blue sharks, make an 18-inch terminal leader of 175-pound single-strand wire with a haywire loop at one end (to attach to the second snap) and a 9/0 live bait hook haywired to the other end. For mako, use 350-pound wire and a 13/0 Gamakatsu hook.
A balloon can be attached at the end of the 80-pound Dacron, leaving the bait about 30 feet down in the water column. When the current is running hard, you may want to add a 2- or 3-ounce sinker at the second snap.
For blue-shark fishing, this rig is unbeatable for its efficiency and the low cost of changing only 18 inches of wire and hook. And, with a snap swivel only 18 inches from the hook, the mate wiring the shark has something to grab.

- Sonny Vernon (age 14)
Weston, Massachusetts