So far, fishing with wire line has still to be accepted by the average sea angler, although it is surely only a matter of time before this happens. Fishing with wire requires completely different techniques and equipment, but it is not difficult to learn. With a little practice, the average angler can become proficient in its use in a comparatively short time. Unfortunately, during its first introduction to Britain it received a bad reputation as many anglers, using it as just another fishing line, had poor results.
Used correctly, wire line can open up a new world to the sea angler. To hold bottom, you require a fraction of the lead compared with conventional monofilament or braided lines of Dacron or Terylene. In very strong tides, for example, and fairly deep water where you would require at least 2 lb of lead on a monofilament line to hold bottom, you can achieve the same result using wire with less than ^lb.
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 problems 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.
Finally, one word of warning to those fishing from an anchored 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.
Braided lines are soft, pliable, and can be purchased in continuous lengths of up to 1,000 yards. Unlike monofilament, however, the line is not translucent. Nor is it now manufactured in breaking strains of less than 10 lb—a great loss to the angling world. In the sizes sold, its circumference is greater than that of monofilament, and it naturally follows that less line can be wound on to a normal reel which is, of course a severe disadvantage.
Braided line possesses numerous advantages, not least its complete lack of spring. This makes it easy to wind from the spool on to the reel, it knots easily, the knots pulling firmly together without slipping, making for greater security.
The almost complete lack of stretch is a great help in preventing line from jamming on the spool of your reel, where a direct pull with monofilament line can often force one strand under others below it and bring the whole reel to a halt.
Undoubtedly, it is the nonstretch factor that has endeared the braided line to anglers who need a strong and reliable line for really hard work.
While the initial outlay may cause many anglers to think twice before purchasing a braided line, there is a strong case for its use as a longterm moneysaver.