The Wire Knot & making a livebait trace
There have been a few questions about how I go about attaching the wire between the hooks of the 2 hook rig. I was using a uni knot but I've been testing a new knot over the last few weeks and now that I've caught some nice fish on it I'm quite happy to recommend it. I can't remember if I read about it somewhere or if I came up with it on my own so we'll just call the the Figure 8 knot for now. Its quite simple and very strong but there are a few caveats. You must use nylon coated multistrand wire and the strength needs to be 30lb and above, any lighter and it will likely fail. You must also test it by hooking it up to a bar and giving it a hard pull, if the wire was kinked during the knot cinching it will break, otherwise it will be solid as a rock. Its worth noting that all my traces are tested with heavy load prior to bagging, that way you know the trace wont fail when you've got a fish on.
Step 1. Tying the figure 8 knot.
Cut about 20cm of wire. Thread the wire through the eye of the hook then bring it back along the incoming wire, loop it around the wire then thread it back through the loop you created close to the eye of the hook. Once you've done that it should look like the picture below.
Tighten up the loop by pulling on both the incoming wire and the tag end and it should look like the picture below. Cut the tag end leaving about 3mm of tag. Ensure that you slide the knot down the right hand side as shown in the picture below. This will be the eye the mono gets attached to.
Tie another figure 8 knot to the hook on the other end of the wire. Test both knots by hooking it onto something and giving it hard pull. Once finished it should look like the picture below. That is the wire section completed. Ideally it should be between 10 & 15cm long for pike, 7-10cm for slimies & yellowtail.
Cut about 45cm of 40-50lb mono, using a uni knot attach it to the top hook making sure that it is tied to the left of the wire and tie a swivel on the other end also with a uni knot. Your trace should now be completed, test the trace under load before bagging. Your completed trace should look like the picture below.
Once completed and tested all my traces are placed into ziplock bags showing hook size, intended bait use, wire and mono strength.
Livebaiting test results
Well after testing out the modified rig, it works and works well. The clip allows easy changes of traces once they get damaged (and they do get damaged alot). The addition of wire between the hooks didn't seem to bother the fish at all but I am going to increase the strength of that wire to 30lb. As you can see from the pic of the tailor below, they have a nasty habit of chopping off livebaits behind the head and in a dual hook rig, the only way you'll stay connected is with wire. I'm going to go with 5/0 Gamakatsu octopus black as my standard hook size as it matches the pike size nicely, but I'll keep a few in the 3/0 size for herring. Pike is definitely a favoured livebait, as they were generally eaten within minutes of being put down there, some were even taken before they reached the bottom, but I'm sure slimies and yellowtail would work as well. Hookup rate was excellent, around 90% of all hits resulted in a hookup which is why I prefer the dual hook rig.
I'm going to be throwing around some unweighted pike into the washes over the next couple of months, just to see if there are any big tailor or trevally skulking around that are ignoring lures, it should be an interesting experiment.
Livebaiting the Seaway in 2011
I have decided to try a bit of livebaiting the seaway after a long absence so I thought I'd take a look at the rig I use and see if it can be improved.
The old rig consists of a standard 2 hook rig(Gamakatsu Octopus Black 3/0 - 7/0) on a metre long 30-50lb trace this is tied to a swivel then I place a 5mm bead on the upside of the swivel then its tied to a 5 m long shock leader of 40lb then tied onto 50lb braid. Next part is a sinker(1-4 oz) on a 1.5m long trace of 12lb mono tied to a clip. This clip is then attached above the bead.
First up I'm adding a high quality clip (shogun size 3 rated to 80lb) just below the bead, this will enable me to change traces easily as the traces are already premade. So if the trace gets abraded or the bottom hook gets cut off I'll just unclip it and add a new trace in about 10 seconds. Secondly related to the problem of getting cut off which is quite common due to the large tailor that frequent the area, I'll be adding a short wire trace between the first and second hook, this will be a limited trial to see if it has any effect on the hookup and retention rate. If it scares off the big jews then I may discontinue its use.
I'll be using two outfits. first one is a heavy outfit designed for use with 40cm+ livebaits and targeting sharks. Reel is a Daiwa Sealine LD50H loaded with 500m of 50lb Bionic Braid, Rod is a Shimano Backbone Rod rated to 20kg. Second outfit is a 7" Team Daiwa Advantage Medium Heavy rod rated to 8kg with 300m 20lb Bionic Braid, this one will be for small live baits, herring, small pike and small mullet.