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October 25, 2001

Tapered Mono Tag Ends

After choosing the right leader, fitting the perfect sleeve and crimping it just right, don't just lop off the tag end with any old pair of fishing pliers. Many times over the years I have checked a bait that had just raised a looker only to find a tiny strand of weed stuck on the tag end of the connection. Did this piece of debris cause enough distraction for the fish not to bite?

After choosing the right leader, fitting the perfect sleeve and crimping it just right, don't just lop off the tag end with any old pair of fishing pliers. Many times over the years I have checked a bait that had just raised a looker only to find a tiny strand of weed stuck on the tag end of the connection. Did this piece of debris cause enough distraction for the fish not to bite? Maybe, maybe not, but taking one extra step to complete the assembly properly can keep you from having to ask the next time.
The basic side-cutter fishing pliers that most of us carry will mash the mono tag end, leaving a bulky stub that will find small pieces of weed or debris (Loop 1). A sharp pair of mono cutting scissors works better when preparing this important connection. Cutting or crimping the tag end flush with the end of the aluminum sleeve is not much better than leaving a poorly cut tag end because the 90-degree corner that results tends to find and hold weeds also (Loop 2). The third loop in the photo shows a cut with a nice sharp angle, but it creates a nasty crevice between the tag and the main line just the same. The solution: cut the loop at a 45-degree angle to close off the sharp angle created by the end of the tag sleeve (Loop 4).
This results in a connection that deflects anything that slides down the leader away from the crimp.

Scott Kerrigan
Wilton Manors, Florida