BWCA Mono versus fluoro?? Boundary Waters Fishing Forum
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05/20/2023 02:53PM  
I seldom fish waters where "toothy" fish are common so I usually don't worry very much about leaders and such. My favorite fishing technique is topwater for smallmouth, and I tie braid directly to my lure.
But I'm assuming that we will be getting into some teeth in BWCA and I wonder which is the best way to rig. Continue to tie braid directly to my lure? Or use a leader (which is another variety of choices)??
I'm addicted to Whopper Ploppers and I really don't want to lose them due to break-offs caused by teeth.
So, how do I rig?
Thanks in advance.
 
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05/21/2023 08:50AM  
Let me refer you to a 2017 In-Fisherman article by Doug Stange wherein he discusses fluorocarbon and tie-able wire leaders when fishing for pike or in waters where pike are present.

Dave Sebesta, the fishing guru at Williams & Hall Outfitters, gave a pike-fishing webinar talk this past January. His tackle recommendations were:
1. Terminal tackle: steel leaders with swivel & snap; 9” standard length; cross-lock or cross-over snaps are better because they are stronger.
2. Line: 10–17 pound monofilament (or even 20 lb); 20–30 pound braid (because it is thinner, you can use heavier braid).
 
tomnorthshore
  
05/22/2023 12:54PM  
For ice fishing, I tie a perfection loop knot on the end of my braid, then tie a perfection loop knot on the end of 3-6ft piece of fluoro and join the two using a loop-to-loop connection. This is the best way to do it for sensitivity and presentation. As for lb test for fluoro leader: I run 8-12lb test on my lighter setup, 20 on my other setups, and 30lb on my extra-heavy setup. For most boundary water lakes, 10-20lb fluoro, 3-6 feet long is perfect. I use Seaguar IceX and Blue Label for the line.
 
tomnorthshore
  
05/22/2023 01:03PM  
I landed this rare Silver Pike on 12lb fluoro, jigging a couple of feet below the ice hole. Generally, if you are using the proper gear and set the hook right, there should be very little chance of breaking off with a larger lake trout or pike.
 
mgraber
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05/22/2023 02:28PM  
I use the tieable leaders from American Fishing Wire. I like the 13lb test Surflon Micro Supreme. It is very fine, multi filament, stainless, coated leader. There are also tieable titanium leaders but they are very stiff, this is very flexible and thin (about the same diameter as 10-12# mono). A clinch knot is all you need, an improved clinch is too much. It is pretty expensive but will last awhile. The article mentioned above will also reference it, I believe. You can join with main line by tying a double uni knot or using a tiny swivel. Great stuff!
 
WesternHills
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05/22/2023 07:28PM  
The only way to go truly pike proof is to use a wire leader. However they will effect top water lures, as they add a little bit of weight in front of it. Also, the pre-made ones are gaudy looking fish deterrents, and the self tie suff like knot-to-kinky just aren't that easy to tie.....in my opinion.

Personally I have switched to using 6 inch 20-30lb mono leaders. Are they 100% pike proof? No. However, I've yet to loose a lure to a pike using them, and I've outfitted my 4-5 man group with leaders for the last few years.
 
05/23/2023 05:15AM  
WesternHills: "The only way to go truly pike proof is to use a wire leader. However they will effect top water lures, as they add a little bit of weight in front of it. Also, the pre-made ones are gaudy looking fish deterrents, and the self tie suff like knot-to-kinky just aren't that easy to tie.....in my opinion.


Personally I have switched to using 6 inch 20-30lb mono leaders. Are they 100% pike proof? No. However, I've yet to loose a lure to a pike using them, and I've outfitted my 4-5 man group with leaders for the last few years."


Is there a particular brand, etc of mono that you prefer?
 
WesternHills
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05/23/2023 04:23PM  
TAS58: "Is there a particular brand, etc of mono that you prefer?"

Heh, honestly, after searching online for weeks for what the pike/musky guys use, and then buying an 80lbs. mono leader and finding it not easy to tie, then buying a 50lbs mono leader and finding it not easy to tie.....I ended up just getting the cheap 30lbs Zebco OmniFlex from Walmart for like $3. The stuff looks like it'd be absolutely terrible to cast with if spooled up, but for a 6" leader it has worked quite nice.

Now, from what I wrote above, and my previous post, you'll notice a pattern :-). If stuff gives me too much trouble when tying it, I pass on it. Knot-2-kinky or heavier pound test line may work just fine for you, and works for lots of other people. I personally just go with line that is easier to work with, and has proven to be mostly effective. I just fish with the expectation that I might lose a $13 whopper plopper once in a blue moon. I do have some bass lures that are irreplaceable, and those I don't throw around pike.

We've used the 30lbs mono when throwing whopper ploppers, spooks, chatterbaits and inline spinners.....stuff pike go for.
 
05/23/2023 05:08PM  
Well, my solution would be to quit fishing for top water bass and perfect your walleye fishing skills. Jigs are cheap and easy to fish with mono line. Problem solved.

Also, don't tie on any lure you can't afford to lose.
 
Savage Voyageur
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05/23/2023 08:19PM  
I would suggest you run braid then transition to fluorocarbon to the lure.
 
foxfireniner
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05/24/2023 09:55AM  
i'm trying 9 inches of 50lb flouro this year.

I just hate wire leaders and usually only fish them with spoons and spinners and nothing at all for everything else. Despite what everyone says, I think wire leaders reduce your catch. The only bite-offs I have had are with smallmouth lures and hammerhandles.

I did lose a clear zara puppy to one once and found it floating in the area the next day! So its always worth checking the next day to see if he got the lure loose.
 
05/24/2023 12:04PM  
Ausable: "Let me refer you to a 2017 In-Fisherman article by Doug Stange wherein he discusses fluorocarbon and tie-able wire leaders when fishing for pike or in waters where pike are present.


Dave Sebesta, the fishing guru at Williams & Hall Outfitters, gave a pike-fishing webinar talk this past January. His tackle recommendations were:
1. Terminal tackle: steel leaders with swivel & snap; 9” standard length; cross-lock or cross-over snaps are better because they are stronger.
2. Line: 10–17 pound monofilament (or even 20 lb); 20–30 pound braid (because it is thinner, you can use heavier braid)."

That article was very helpful. Thanks for the link.
 
rpike
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05/31/2023 09:22AM  
For whopper ploppers, a light wire leader won't affect the performance much because you are keeping the swivel and leader out of the water during the retrieve.

Knot-2-kinky titanium in 18 or 25# test is very thin. It's not as easy to tie as I might hope, but it is doable. A figure 8 knot holds well, even though it doesn't look as pretty.

If you use small snaps and ball bearing swivels, I think you will be fine. I used the leaders I tied up on all the lures I was casting or trolling (except jigs) a couple weeks ago. I caught *many* 18-20" bass with them, lake trout to 12#, uncountable walleyes, and about a dozen pike.

I mostly fish for muskies in the summer. I know from hard experience they can slice through even an 80# test fluoro leader. The protection from a 20# fluoro leader is minimal; I would rate it as zero. That being said, I always have a fluoro leader section at the end of my braid in the BW. That's more as a fuse and to enable easy re-tying than anything. When you are irretrievably snagged, it's much easier to break 8-14# fluoro than it is 20 or 30# braid, IMO.
 
mgraber
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05/31/2023 04:40PM  
Not to beat a dead horse, but the answer is in the article from In Fisherman mentioned earlier and in my previous post. The AFW Surflon Micro Supreme is made for this very purpose. It ties and fishes very much like mono but is bite proof and very fine diameter. Try the 13lb. The titanium Knot2Kinky is OK but kind of hard to tie and is very stiff. Surflon Micro Supreme also attaches very well to the end of your line, regardless if it is mono or braid, with a simple double uni knot, or a small swivel. Problem completely solved. It might affect jigging for walleye, but it definitely won't spook fish while trolling or fishing topwater.
 
Hammertime
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06/02/2023 11:44PM  
I wouldn’t bother with any leaders.

I have been throwing topwater up there for the better part of 15 years and have only lost a handful of lures. Half the time you get sawed off (which is rare) the lure will float to the surface in a few minutes.

For me it’s the cost of doing business. Just not willing to risk a dandy smallmouth turning away at the last second because something isn’t right.

YMMV, good luck!!!!!
 
06/03/2023 08:00AM  
Hammertime: "I wouldn’t bother with any leaders.


I have been throwing topwater up there for the better part of 15 years and have only lost a handful of lures. Half the time you get sawed off (which is rare) the lure will float to the surface in a few minutes.


For me it’s the cost of doing business. Just not willing to risk a dandy smallmouth turning away at the last second because something isn’t right.


YMMV, good luck!!!!!"


I appreciate everyone's input and I am open to suggestions. Hammertime is telling me what I want to hear. But we all know that what we WANT to hear is not always what we NEED to hear! I'm not saying Hammer is right and everyone else is wrong, but if I can just tie braid right onto my (expensive) lure, and still have a low rate of loss, that would be fantastic.

So Hammertime,
What is your line set-up? Are you using just braid? All mono? Flouro?
What pound test? Does line color seem to make any difference?
Thanks everyone.
 
mgraber
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06/03/2023 11:08AM  
My buddy lost all 4 of his Whopper Ploppers within 3 days last season from big pike and no leaders. I came home with my original Plopper after catching more smallmouth than I could count, several in the 21-22" range using the tieable leaders. Why would a tieable wire leader spook fish more than braid? I love fluoro or mono for jigging walleye, etc. but have pretty much proven that a fine (emphasis on fine) wire leader makes no difference on topwater, at least with Plopper style baits, compared to mono and fluoro. The bonus is you have an honest shot at large pike, and you don't leave fish to die with a lure in its mouth. It is a shame to kill a 40"+ pike just because he cut you off, and Ploppers are literal pike magnets.
 
06/03/2023 11:55AM  
mgraber: "My buddy lost all 4 of his Whopper Ploppers within 3 days last season from big pike and no leaders. I came home with my original Plopper after catching more smallmouth than I could count, several in the 21-22" range using the tieable leaders. Why would a tieable wire leader spook fish more than braid? I love fluoro or mono for jigging walleye, etc. but have pretty much proven that a fine (emphasis on fine) wire leader makes no difference on topwater, at least with Plopper style baits, compared to mono and fluoro. The bonus is you have an honest shot at large pike, and you don't leave fish to die with a lure in its mouth. It is a shame to kill a 40"+ pike just because he cut you off, and Ploppers are literal pike magnets."


So, what is your tie-scheme? On the lure-end, are you tying leader directly to the lure? Or leader to a snap?
What is your spool loaded with? And how are you joining the leader to the spool line?
I'm thinking to tie my spool line to a swivel, then the wire leader to the swivel and then the leader to the lure...all connections with a clinch knot.
16' of the AFW wire leader just arrived, I have not yet experimented with any tying schemes, so I'll gladly take advice about that, too.
Thanks!
 
mgraber
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06/04/2023 10:12PM  
TAS58: "
mgraber: "My buddy lost all 4 of his Whopper Ploppers within 3 days last season from big pike and no leaders. I came home with my original Plopper after catching more smallmouth than I could count, several in the 21-22" range using the tieable leaders. Why would a tieable wire leader spook fish more than braid? I love fluoro or mono for jigging walleye, etc. but have pretty much proven that a fine (emphasis on fine) wire leader makes no difference on topwater, at least with Plopper style baits, compared to mono and fluoro. The bonus is you have an honest shot at large pike, and you don't leave fish to die with a lure in its mouth. It is a shame to kill a 40"+ pike just because he cut you off, and Ploppers are literal pike magnets."



So, what is your tie-scheme? On the lure-end, are you tying leader directly to the lure? Or leader to a snap?
What is your spool loaded with? And how are you joining the leader to the spool line?
I'm thinking to tie my spool line to a swivel, then the wire leader to the swivel and then the leader to the lure...all connections with a clinch knot.
16' of the AFW wire leader just arrived, I have not yet exper
imented with any tying schemes, so I'll gladly take advice about that, too.
Thanks! "



I'm sure there are a lot of ways to attach. What I usually do is tie 14lb Fireline, 6lb diameter (could be any line, but I love this stuff) directly to the 13 ib micro supreme with double uniknots as this seems to affect action of baits less than a swivel, although I have used a swivel here on occasion, it needs to be very small to work well. I do use a snap at the lure, and I suppose it could be a snap swivel, but I have never needed a swivel with top waters. If you also used the rig to troll a spoon or spinner then you would have to use a swivel. The less hardware the better. For knots I just use the uni knot for the line to wire and a basic clinch knot for the wire to snap or lure. Don't use the improved clinch knot, just the basic clinch works best with the wire. The micro supreme wire is very limp compared to most leader material, and very thin, but it doesn't like knots with a lot of bends and does't cut itself so simple knots work great. If you need to see how to tie any knots just go to YouTube. If you use the same pole for more finesse presentations, like jigging for walleye, just use a double uni knot and attach a length of fluorocarbon or mono in place of the wire, although you would want that leader to be several feet long instead of 10 or 12 inches with the wire.

 
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