Bite indication with wire is a revelation in itself: bites from small fish are registered immediately and positively, where similar bites on monofilament would not be felt at all, due to its inherent stretch. So positive is the indication from wire line that an angler experienced in its use can, even in deep water, tell you the composition of the bottom— whether it is rock, sand, shingle or soft mud—just from the feel of the bouncing lead.
The one disadvantage of wire line is that fishing from a crowded boat becomes inadvisable. When using wire you require plenty of room between you and the next angler, as it is absolutely essential to keep wire under tension at all times, and should you become entangled with another fisherman’s line this is not possible. Wire reverts to coil form when tension is relaxed, and most efforts to straighten it result in kinks, so that it then becomes so weak that it will snap under pressure.
This brings us to the first and most important aspect of its use, and the one that causes most pro-blems to novices. Never, never lower weighted wire to the bottom from a free spool, as if you do you will not know when the lead hits the seabed. The result will be a pyramid of coiled wire on the bottom which will come back full of kinks. Lower it under slight tension, with your thumb on the spool of the reel and you will then feel the lead arrive.
The angler who likes to make himself comfortable on a convenient fish-box or fitted seat during boat fishing trips, should not use wire line. It is a material that must be fished positively every second it is in the water. Propping the rod against the gunwale, even for a short period while drinks are served or an item of tackle is fetched, is absolutely out of the question. To put wire over the side and not control it constantly is unfair and dangerous to others on the trip.
When using wire it is advisable to mount your running lead on a heavy monofilament leader at least 12ft long. This should be fastened to a small, oval link or split ring that is small enough to be wound through the rod guides and down on to the reel. It will mean, in effect, that when your lead with its normal flow- ing trace is wound in, all the wire will be back on the spool.
If you neglect to do this and mount your lead directly on to the wire, it will be left to swing like a pendulum from your rod top when moving from one anchorage to another, and this constant motion will cause metal fatigue with cor-responding weakness in the line. Wire should always be connected to the metal loop or split ring with a haywire twist, but do make a double loop through the ring before commencing the twist.
A heavy leader serves another purpose in as much as it provides a small degree of stretch between the angler and a heavy fish. Without this cushioning effect, it is all too easy to tear the hook free.
The tackle required for wire is a reel with a large diameter, yet nar-row, spool such as a Scarborough, Alvey or, ideally, a Penn Master Mariner. Normal multiplying reels with wide, small diameter spools are useless as these coil the line too tightly and it will then require a heavy lead to straighten it. For the same reason, you should use a rod with a soft action and flexible top, and it is absolutely essential that it is fitted with a roller top or better still, roller guides all the way down the rod.
Conscious of the increase in fishing with wire line, top manufacturers are now offering rods fitted with guides with extra-tough linings—principally aluminium oxide. This material is a direct spinoff from the American space project. It is so hard it can resist the cutting effects of wire passing over it. A roller tip is still essential, however.
Finally, one word of warning to those fishing from an achored boat, or more especially from a drifting boat. Never attempt to free wire with your hands should it become snagged on the bottom. It can cut through flesh like a hot knife through butter. Loop the line around a stanchion or stem post, and let the boat pull it out. It is also sound practice to use a trace of slightly lower breaking strain than the wire so that if you do have to break out, you will only lose a hook or part of the trace and not relatively expensive wire.