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AOJ Outdoor Tips

Tip #13 DEEP Sea Fishing - Making a TUF decision!

Cook Inlet - World's Second Largest Tides! Alaska Halibut - Going Deep for the Barndoors!

What do these things have in common? Well, in a nutshell....a lot of work. You see, during the major (flood) tides which occur twice each month, Cook Inlet will change from 25 to 30 feet between high and low water. And if you are fishing from an anchored boat in 200 to 300 feet of water with a 6 knot current, you will find that FOUR pounds of sinker is the typical weight needed to hold your bait on the bottom. Just reeling in your line for a bait check after a missed strike will have you worn out in short order with many hours left in your trip.

Technology to the Rescue! Most anglers by now have heard of the spectra-fiber fishing lines commonly referred to as Tuf Line, SpiderWire, etc. These lines are an Alaskan halibut angler's dream come true, but at a significant cost. This latest discovery in fishing line composition is very spendy, running as much as $10 per 50 yard spool. When one realizes that a typical halibut reel contains 300-400 yards of line, replacement cost using the Spectra Fiber lines will cost a bundle.....for each reel.

So how do these "Super" lines fit into this tip? Well most typical halibut fishing reels use 50 - 120 lb. test braided dacron for fishing line. The bad thing about this type of line is its diameter. The larger the line size, the more drag exerted on it by the running tide and the more sinker weight needed to hold the bait on the bottom.

But contrary to dacron line, super line is incredibly strong for its much so that an 80 lb. test spectra fiber line is the same diameter as 40 lb. test braided dacron. So switching your halibut gear to super lines will allow you to actually move up in line strength while decreasing your diameter. End result - much less weight to hold your bait "in the zone" when fishing deep. And much more enjoyable fishing.

There isn't any need to replace all your dacron line with spectra line. Typically the first 100 yards on the reel gets the most use during the season. So replacing the first 100 yards of dacron with 150 yards of spectra line will give you a thinner line requiring less sinker weight and also be much easier on the wallet. Its resistance to abrasion and fraying is an added bonus not to be overlooked.

These "super" lines do require following a new rule due to its unique characteristics and potential pitfalls. Be sure to follow this recommendation from the manufacturers if you decide to use spectra fiber lines.

Well tied double line knots such as the Triple Palomar or Double Uni Knot are required to avoid significant strength loss. The Uni Knot system is preferred due to its easy tying. Illustrated at the right is how to tie a SINGLE line uni knot. Tying a double line uni knot is performed the same way only the line is first doubled into a loop before beginning the tie as illustrated. If you will be attaching your halibut hook directly to your spectra line instead of using a leader, it is advised to double the line first before threading through the eye of the hook and tying the knot.

Another problem is attaching the spectra fiber line to your dacron backing. An improper knot joining the two can either cause the super line to cut through the dacron line or to break itself. Either way the result is a lost fish and a lot of line. So be sure to follow the example below to insure the connection will hold up under the rigors of Alaska's deep sea fishing conditions.

That about sums up this tip. If you get tired of reeling in 3 or 4 pounds of lead each time you need to check your bait as I do, this solution will be affordable and greatly appreciated the first time you go out. Good fishing.

Klondike Kid

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