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Stan West

I’m Stan, a salmon troller. My home port is Bodega Bay, CA . I began commercial salmon trolling in 1992. Since there is no commercial fishing manual, it takes time to learn all there is to know about choosing the right gear.


I would like to take this opportunity to discuss a few things I have learned over the years. I will first start with choosing the best trolling wire. Okay, we have 1/16th 1x19 ,1/16th 1x7, and 1x7 5/64th, hand tie, or brass stops. Which type of wire should I use?


Well, after spending years talking to the old timers about their preferences, talking to the manufacturers, and anyone else I could talk to -- I have come to the conclusion that the strongest wire is 302-304 stainless. Unlike 316 stainless (which will start fracturing over time and get weak), 302-304 stainless has some iron in it. It is more flexible and goes around your block without fracturing.


Now we have to choose hand tied or brass stops. So many fishermen prefer hand tied. Well, hand tying is time consuming – that’s why the cost is so high. I also hear fishermen say the brass stops start to slip. If that happens, just re-crimp. Also, check your line voltage. Too much line voltage will eat your brass crimps and wire. You should check your voltage every year anyway, and if your brass crimps are shiny, you might have a problem.


After experimenting with both hand tied and brass stops, I can say, I prefer brass stops. I can see them better and they are easier on your hands. I have had wire with brass crimps on my boat for over 3 years without any problems. However, we do offer both brass and hand tied.


Now we come to 1x19 -- this is my favorite. 1x19 refers to the number of strands and the diameter is 1/16th. That is why I got into wire, I could not find this wire anywhere. I only use this wire on my floats (aka pig lines/dogs). It is very forgiving. And unlike 1x7, it is very hard to kink. You can make quick turns without 1x19 kinking, it is also very soft on your hands.


Unfortunately, some of the first 1x19 that came out would fray. I ended up purchasing some of this wire, and I understand why some fishermen hated it. The way it was coiled was the problem. There was an inner-core and outside strands so when an outside strand broke, it would fray down to your next stop which made it very hard to splice. I am now working with a different manufacturer and have solved this problem and all 1x19 is woven together which makes it easy to splice. The 1x19 is still my favorite.


Now comes 5/64th. This wire is tough. It should only be used with leads over 60 pounds. Be very careful with this wire. Make sure you have good break-aways or this can mess your boat up. I have heard of horror stories about this wire, so just be careful, and remember wire and your gurdies are meant to haul up leads and fish. They are not meant to haul crab pots!


If you would like to discuss commercial salmon trolling wire, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Stan West

F/V Gypsy

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