That said, I do see the circumstances where high-strength, straight through leaders are a necessity, the most obvious being where abrasion resistance is key to landing the fish. Anyone who has fished for large, powerful species amongst mangroves, trees, coral heads or other snaggy areas will know that it’s not always possible to steer your target away from every obstacle, and once you feel that grating sensation (from chaffing against something abrasive) being transmitted back up the fly line you’ll be reassured by the fact you stepped up your leader strength.
It is possible to have the best of both worlds however. Take my shark set-up, here I use strong nylon straight through to the wire tippet in order to protect from the rub of the sharks sand-paper like skin. I attach the fly with a split ring and it is this that then becomes the weak link as they are rated at 25 pounds – although I have to admit I’ve not tested this (yet). On a similar vein I also suspect the crimped loops in the wire are also a ‘weak’ point – especially since I had one fail on a rather large ‘cuda recently, although I should mention that perhaps a little corrosion was taking hold in that case.
Obviously the hook itself has a finite resistance to straightening, but I suspect the force required is very dependent on the depth of penetration of the hook point. I think I should test this (along with my split rings and crimped joints) – I have an idea of how I could reliably engineer the depth, so if someone wants to donate some hooks…
I’m also surprised when I hear about battles with 100lb plus tarpon going on for hours, although I must, at this point, hold my hands up to never hooking such a fish. I do know how hard I can pull on a fish when I’m stood on dry land, but I suspect some boat anglers fail to appreciate that the pressure they can apply is limited by the mobility of the skiff. Unless the craft is anchored, a 10 or 20lb pull is going to get the boat moving pretty easily – in fact I’d be interested to test just how much force it’s possible to produce in this sort of situation. Attach me on the bank with a #7 outfit to someone in a boat with a #12 and commence a tug-of-war and I think I can guess the outcome – the boat would end up within my netting distance. So perhaps these extended fights are affected by this or perhaps not – now if someone will invite me to go out targeting huge tarpon with them I can find out ☺
This weekend sees the second BFCC competition day of the year in Willesborough, Kent. Sekhar, Mike and Mark will be on hand for casting instruction of the highest standard and we also hope to run the full competition event schedule, i.e. #5, #7, ST27, T38, S55, T120 and accuracy. There will be members of the UK, Japanese and Chinese teams for the world championships present so it promises to be a great competition so come along if you can make it.
Have a great weekend, James