Copper Wire Fishing
"I started to do some research on how to fish and set up copper wire rods and to my surprise there was nothing that I could find in my many search attempts on the subject, so, I am going to tell you all about a copper rod set up and even how to fish it. Captain: Rick Pecci
First the Rod:
The rod I prefer is a Okuma Classic or the new GLT series 9 foot dipsy rod. I like this rod as I use many other trolling set ups on my boat like lead core and wire dipsy rods and this 9 foot rod can really get the copper off to the side of the boat away from the other rods.
The use of a Twilli Tip is not necessary as the copper wire has a large diameter so it won't cut through your tip top eye like 7 strand dipsy wire will.
Next the Reel:
The reel I prefer is the Okuma Convector series reels for my shorter copper and the Okuma Titus series reels for my longer copper. My 200 copper set up's have Okuma CV-45 D Convector reels on them. My 300 and 400 copper has Okuma CV-55L Convector reels and my 500 and 600 copper has the Okuma Titus 50L reels on them. All these reels are very smooth and reliable and have great drag systems on them.
Next the Backing:
I prefer to use Power Pro braided line made by Spectra for my backing. 50LB. test strength and the diameter of 12 LB. test makes this line ideal to use as a backer.
Now there is 2 kinds of Power Pro out on the market right now. A older version and a newer version. The newer version has a special coating that wont chip off called EBT or (enhanced body technology), and the color seems to be darker, and also the line just seems to perform better. I did use the older version with no problems, but found that it turned color's and faded a bit. The newer stuff seems to correct that problem.
Now the Swivel:
I prefer to use these small SPRO power swivels with no problems but make sure you use the 50LB. weight ones for Kings, and the 35LB. ones for smaller fish for better line sizing. These are super small and will go through any rod eye or reel pawl with ease, and with no damage. Just tie your backing right to the swivel using a improved clinch knot. When your attaching the copper wire to the swivel you can use a copper twist. Push the copper through and yes it does fit and leave about 3 inches of copper to twist. Now, the first twist is important it is your set twist. You need to twist this first turn very tightly and very close to the swivels end. Then make about 10 more twists as close and tight as you can, this will ensure you won't have a failure with a big fish on. Then just cut off any exess and your done.
You can also use the Albright knot to attach your Power Pro backing to your copper wire.
The Albright Knot
Use to attach backing to copper line or to join sections of mono filament that vary greatly in diameter.
Form an open-ended loop in the copper line (or larger diameter mono filament). Pass the backing (or smaller diameter strand) through the loop and take one turn around the copper line.
Wind the tag end of the backing around itself and the copper line loop. Take 10-12 winds, keeping them in place with left hand. Pass the backing through the loop so that it comes out on the same side it entered on.
Slide the coils of backing together and toward the end of the loop, stopping 1/8" from end. Take care that backing does not slide off end of the copper line before tightening.
Tighten by pulling on the tag end of the backing while holding both strands of the copper line in left hand. Pliers or a hemostat can be used on tag end. With left hand still holding both ends of the copper line, pull on standing part of backing. Pull tag end of backing again and standing part one more time. Complete tightening by pulling only on standing parts of the copper line and backing.
|note: The thin mono filament should be doubled when attaching thin mono filament tippet to heavy mono filament tippet.|
Now the Copper:
I have seen and heard about many different brands and sizes of copper wire but there is only one you want to use, the A-Tom-Mik Copper in a 45LB. 7 strand twist. This will give you the best depth to foot ratio. About 22 feet down for every 100 feet pf copper at a 2.5 MPH troll using a med size lure. (i.e. spoon or 8 in. flasher and fly)
As a quick note: There is a new copper out as we speak that is dipped in nickel and claims to be even better at reaching depth and does not kink. We will have to see about this product but it sounds good!
Ok, so here is a copper chart for you to go by:
100 feet of copper = 22ft.
200 feet of copper = 44ft.
300 feet of copper = 66ft.
400 feet of copper = 88 ft.
500 feet of copper = 110ft.
600 feet of copper = 132ft.
700 feet of copper = 154ft.
You can also run weights that clip on your copper wire like Stinger Dive Bombs and Snap weights. If you don't want to make as many copper wire sets, but there is no set scale to determine a depth rate when using an added weight. The copper give you a more precise depth you will achieve with your presentation and target the fish you see on your screen. Otherwise it's trial and error with the added weights.
Do not pay out your copper to fast and always hold each pull out with your hand and place your thumb on your spool over the copper loop going out at the time to prevent kinks and fold over coiling loops. Once you get about 50 feet of copper out or the weight of the copper wire is able to pull off the reel with out coiling then your ok to let it out faster. My advise is to set your reels spool drag so your copper payes out slowly even with out your thumb pressure.
If you do encounter a kink just take it easy and do NOT tighten the line just slowly and easily reverse the kink and smooth out the copper with your thumb or finger nail. I have done this many times and it does not weaken the line if it is a light kink, a really bad one tho, I would say would have to be cut out and retied or replaced depending on kink location and length down the copper.
Now, if you encounter a coiling problem! Just keep light pressure on the line and slowly hand feed the wire out and work the coil until this clears. You must ALWAYS keep pressure on your copper wire and never let it just lie loose. This will cause coiling. I had a really bad coil once and after about 10 minuets of working the line, I freed it and caught a King on it not soon after. Just don't panic or get to angry!
Now the outer Swivel:
I prefer to use these small SPRO power swivels with no problems but make sure you use the 50LB. weight ones for Kings, and the 35LB. ones for smaller fish for better line sizing. These are super small and will go through any rod eye or reel pawl with ease, and with no damage. Just tie your backing right to the swivel using an improved clinch knot. When your attaching the copper wire to the swivel you can use a copper twist. Push the copper through and yes it does fit and leave about 3 inches of copper to twist. Now, the first twist is important it is your set twist. You need to twist this first turn very tightly and very close to the swivels end. Then make about 10 more twists as close and tight as you can, this will ensure you won't have a failure with a big fish on. Then just cut off any exess and your done.
You can also use the Albright knot to attach your copper wire to your leader.
Now the Leader:
I prefer and use Seaguar fluorocarbon the most but I do use other brands. So, whatever name brand you believe in is fine to use. I run anywhere from a 25 foot to a 50 foot lead. Remember that copper is a Good conductor for a positive Ion current from your boat and can positively charge the water around your copper wire so the use of a long leader will negate this phenominon. So keep your leaders shorter. I found 35 foot was about the best for me.
And of course at the end of your leader you will attach a good ball bearing swivel. I do again prefer a SPRO black ball bearing snap swivel and I like the interlocking type.
Then of course your lure of choice. This can be anything you want to use from spoons to flashers and anything else in between.
Now How To Fish It!
First, some helpful hints that you need to know before you even pay out the first few feet of leader off your copper rig!
1)- DO NOT pay out the copper wire fast! Once you get your leader payed out you will need to slowly hand pay out the first 50 feet of copper or until it pulls out on its own. But do not let the copper pay out with out some resistance as it will coil and back lash. So engage your reel and use your drag to pay out the remaining copper wire.
2)- If you encounter coiling or a back lash do NOT panic! just slowly work at the back lash and you will get it going as the diameter of the copper wire is so big it it very hard to get it knotted up.
3)- If you kink your copper do NOT panic! As former information out there says you have to cut your copper and place a swivel there or even replace your copper wire, I have found that all you need to do is slowly reverse the kink out and just smooth out the kinked copper wire with your finger nails and you should be OK. I have done this many times with NO break offs where the copper has kinked.
4)- Your copper wire will tarnish do NOT clean it it works just fine the way it is. The use of any copper cleaning products will damage your backing and leaders that you have attached to it. Plus it will leave a negative scent trail in the water that will dispell a weary fish away from your offering.
Now once you get your copper wire all payed out and in the perfect depth zone you want to fish you can use a few methods in which you will further enhance your coppers ability to be stealthy.
The first thing you can use and seemingly the most popular is the mini or in-line plainer board. With these you can send out as many lines as you see fit on your boat to cover a nice spread. I have seen some boats run up to eight of these boards with great success. But, this maneuver will take much experience as to plainer placement and fish on maneuvers so you minimize tangles. So stick with two or three just so you can get used to using copper. Two on boards and one down the cute or middle of the back of the boat also called the tail gunner rod. The most popular in line board and the easiest to use is the Church Walleye Board made by the Church Company. You will need a Port and a Starboard, that's Left and a Right. There are many other brand name boards out there and you can choose the best one for you or the one you like best on your boat.
Now that you have your copper payed out all the way to the backing, you let about another 10 feet out of backing(Hint: you can let out much more if you want to, there is no limit) here you will place the Walleye Board. To clip this on you first take your board and tighten down the tension screw all the way. You place you 50lb Power Pro backing into the clip all the way to the back and set it the you set the rear pin just pull it up and place the line into the slot in the rear of the board now your set. At this time it gets a little tricky. You will have to learn the board toss. After the first few times you do it you will get it, and it goes like this: Take your now clipped board and swing it out toward the water but don't let it hit the water, pay out as much line as you can until the board just touches the water but does'nt yet, you now swing the board back and fourth a few times until you build up enough momentum to swing the board out and toss it far to the side of the boat. This has to meanings, one it starts your board planing out off you boat and second if your running rigger lines or dipsy divers it will clear your board over them.
Now your almost there you let out as much line as you want according to your liking or what the boat traffic will allow. And set your reel click and, Forget it! You must throw set your drag accordingly which is a bit light as you want to let the fish pull out your line like a dipsy rod. Now the waiting game.
It won't be long and you get hooked up! How does this look you say? Well there is no mistaken the strike. "Rod, Rod, Rod, it's the copper Port side the Captain screams"! You will first hear the drag screaming out! don't panic, but get to the rod, pull it out and apply a nice bend in the rod and hold on. Do not set the hook! The hook is automatically set when the fish hits the lure as the weight of the copper wire will be like a solid force and set it for you! You can also dislodge your board as you don't want your board to become unclipped. The fish will take allot of line usually, hence the 300 plus yards of 50lb. backing comes into play. You fight the fish as normal with a good repeat of a pump and reel system. when you start getting the board close this again gets tricky! You want the board to pop out of the water but when it does you don't want it to return to the water so keep your rod high in the air and at this point just reel with out also pumping in between. (If the board does hits the water and then what we call diving, don't panic, just let it run the dive and it will pop back up, don't pump the rod, when it pops back up keep the rod up high again, don't pump just reel until you can reach the board. When you can you just pop the release and pull the rear pin and free it from your main line. You the reel the fish in normally and with the fish in the net you are now a certified copper wire fisherman. Try all different combinations to your rig and you can modify or customize your copper to your liking and fish away! Good luck and I hope this helps you at least get started in the right direction. Tight lines Captain Rick Pecci.
Hint: If by chance your copper wire get stuck where your copper is attached to the swivel don't panic, just smooth the twist out and let it ride through the fatter part of the reel pawl. You will be fine.
Hint: Make sure you periodically check all your knots and swivel connections for wear and retie or re twist them. As they will break!