Lead Core Fishing And Set Up


 Lead Core Set Up:

Lead core is a great system that many anglers over the years have been using for various species of fish. We have now simplified the technique for it's use out on the big lake for all Salmon and all Trout species.

 Here is how you set a lead core rod up:

 First, pick a good rod and reel combo, I prefer a Okuma brand rod and reel combo.

 Okuma's new Classic series the GLA Classic Salmon Series rods.

First the rod. A 8 1/2 foot down rigger rod is my choice rod as it have a great tip that can give you a nice action with the strength in the butt you need to land big fish.

There is no need for a spring tip or twilli-tip on these rods as the lead core has a soft sheath and will not cut through the tip.


Now for the reel. For most applications of a lead core set up the reel sizing is important, like the Okuma Convector series level wind reels in a size 45 or a CV 45 D will accommodate up to a full core, or 10 colors (100 yards) depending on how much backing you apply(roughly 300 yards). For more than a full core, or 10 colors, (100 yards) you will need to jump up to a CV 55 L,  level wind Convector series reel to hold all the line.

Now, you can also choose to run smaller runs of lead core, such as sections of colors, like a 3 core, or 5 core, or 7 core etc.. This allows you more con troll in shallower water conditions, and most charters will have an array of these smaller cores to more suit their individual needs. Setting these up, will allow you use smaller Convector reels like the CV 30 D's but take note: you may want bigger reels like the CV 45 D's, to be able to utilize the reel in other applications if needed.

I have several core set up's on my boat: a 3 color, 5 color, 7 color and a full core.

All will get me to different depths of water.

Now the backing. I use and love Power Pro. It is the number one backing I have used in my career. I have tried many in the past but this stuff is awesome. 50LB. test strength with a 12LB. diameter and moss green in color. 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.  

300 yards are minimum for me, as I use these rods for Kings, and I suggest the same for you. If you are using these for Brown Trout, or other smaller spices, then less can be used. The knot I use to connect the lines is an improved clinch knot and it works fine for me.


Now the swivel. I 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. 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.


Now the lead core itself. I use the Suffix brand lead core but you can choose any brand you like. 27LB. 100 yard spools or 10 colors, is the most popular size on the lake. Also, many people believe that the lead core is the factor for the weight of the line, but in reality, if you read the package you will find that all lead core lead weight is the same, just the outer sheathing is different in pound test.

To attach the core to your end SPRO 50LB power swivel you need to push back the sheathing about 4 inches or so and then break off the inner lead core so all your left with is the sheathing. You then tie an improved clinch knot to your swivel and your done and ready for your leader, ball bearing swivel, and your lure.

Now, 100 yards is 10 colors and in a around about figure you should be getting about 5 feet of depth per color trolling from 2.5 mph or less.

You can use all 10 colors and put it out accordingly which is called a full core and that is one set up we do use.

 A double core is a 200 yard set up or 20 colors and can get to around 100 feet roughly. This is now not used any longer as copper has taken over and is easier and more efficient than lead core of that amount.

Now, if you want to reach certain more presice depths, and you want to run a in-line plainer board then you need to set up smaller cores. For example: a 3 color, a 5 color and a 7 color would cover a 15, 25 and a 35 foot depth plus your full core at 50 feet gives you some serious options. 

Now the secret to this whole rig is the fact that you can take let's say a 5 color core and let it out the full 50 yards or 5 colors or 150 feet and let it out right to your backing and even a bit further, you can then, hook up a Church Board in line Walleye board to the backing and then, let it out to any length you prefer off the boat. You now have a stealth presentation that you can use with a more precise depth application. And this is the same with the other differnt number color cores like the 3 or 7 colors cores or even the full core. I really like the Church Tackle Walleye boards as they are the most user friendly and best preforming boards out there.

The reason we use the smaller cores and not just a full core put out to the certain number of colors is that, if you put the core out say 5 colors and that's it, and place that in the rod holder, it would work fine for a chute core, but the fact is if you want it to become a stealth presentation off the side of your boat, you can't fit the core into the Walleye boards clip and that's why we use the smaller cores. And if you could fit it into the clip or to force it in, it would surely cause wear on the core and subsequently a break. Using the smaller cores with the backing will allow you to place the board on the backer line and that will allow you to use the boards clip accordingly with no wear and tear on your core line.

Now the leader.

I use Seguar fluorocarbon leader material the most, but I do use other brands also. Just choose the one you like most. Leader length will be determined by the fish you seek. Brown Trout, you want a longer lead say like 50 to 100 feet of 10LB. test. Kings, will be 35 to 50 feet of 30LB. test. But try different lengths off your boat and take note of the results.

At last, all you need is a good quality ball bearing interlock snap swivel and your golden! FISH ON!

Now for the fishing end of it.

You will need a good set of rod holders to place your lead cores in. I use a Big-Jon quad set with an additional single in the front. As you know I charter so multiple rods are a must for me. In a regular set I could use up to 6 lead cores on boards and even some down the chute. Experiment on your boat and start with just 2, one on each side until you get use to setting these out. Remember one thing, when setting or paying your line out do it slowly until about 30 to 50 feet of core is out, then your OK to put it out faster. This will ensure you there will be no tangles or kinks in your core.


An early King off of 7 color core.

All in all using a lead core rod set up is quite easy and the more you use them the more you want. There is still a place for lead core rods on the big lake and I use them quite often with great success. Good luck with yours and good fishing

 Early Brown Trout off out 5 color cores.