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Joined: 12:32pm - May 24,19
Posts: 24

Post Posted: 09:21am - May 25,19 
Trolling with lead core fishing line has been around for over twenty years, but has really taken off in the past 15 years or so on the Great Lakes. Even with how long it’s been used successfully, there are still many who are intimidated or simply refuse to use it. I think it’s because it’s a real pain in the ass to use! Read on, and you will find out why…..

The Good – The very first time I used lead core fishing line, my fishing buddy and myself limited out in about two hours with a mixed bag of Kings, Steel head and Coho for two fisherman. It all happened in the last two hours of a full day of trolling. It was one of those times when you say, ” What the hell, we might as well give it a shot, nothing else is working!” Of all the years I’ve been fishing on the Great Lakes for salmon this was really the biggest surprise and eye opener I have ever had! To this day, I look back and still have a problem believing it actually happened! Needless to say, I’ve been trolling with core ever since. Most of the time it is the most productive of all other methods used. Although it’s not totally clear, here is most salmon fisherman, and myself agree why core is so effective: Many times a bait is 100 yards behind the boat and perhaps 40-50 feet deep, which puts a bait a long distance from all the noise and disturbance caused by boats, motors and cannonballs making the fish less spooked. Also, making turns with the heavier weighted line gives a more erratic action to the lure compared to regular fishing line. No one really knows for sure, but what ever the reasons, I will never stop using core.

The Bad – Trolling with lead core fishing line has some draw backs as well. Letting out a 100 yards or so of line takes forever and a day! If you try to let it out too fast, it tends to cause a backlash. Getting a backlash when trolling with lead core fishing line is your worst nightmare! It takes forever to untangle, and often causes a kink (knot) in the line. If you aren’t real patient, you can loose some or all of the line on the spool. Then when all of the line finally goes out, it feels like you’re trolling with a ten pound cannon ball, and that’s without a fish! With a good size salmon on, it feels like you’re pulling in a 100 pound Tuna. There is a tremendous amount of strain on your rod & reel, and you need to use a stout rod, and an extra large capacity trolling reel with a good drag that can hold a full core of #27 pound line. Cheap plastic rod holders are not recommended for use with full core of any length. Finally, tying the leader and backing to core takes a lot of time and practice, and if not done correctly could cause you to loose a fish of a lifetime.

The Ugly – The picture on the front page says it all! A big gob of core I lost on my last fishing trip! Now here comes the ugly, and I really mean ugly! Just yesterday, 09/18/2012 while fishing in front of Burns ditch in Portage Indiana, I lost a full core of 27 pound line and another hundred yards of mono off another rig. Here is what happened: A gigantic King hit and took out about a hundred yards of line and crossed a flat line we had out. It seemed like we had doubles, but as it turns out: It was only one King that connected and crossed with another line! The fish went back and forth, got some leverage and broke off. We ended up pulling most of the lines in by hand because the core was so badly kinked and tangled they could not get through the rod guides. The two lines got tangled with each other beyond repair and had to be cut off . We not only lost a big fish, but we also lost a lure and almost a full core of lead line and some mono as well. I figured it was about $35.00 shot in the ass! Two months ago, something similar happened to me with four lines out. A big king hit , crossed over two lines of core and two mono lines! We could not reel in the lines that got tangled. We ended up losing the fish, two lures and much of the core. This little bag of tricks ended up costing me about $80.00!……

Part of the “Ugly”, is my own fault! I had most of my problems when I wasn’t running enough spread between my lines. From now on, I will run 3, 4 or 5 colors off a planer board. That will pretty much give me the best of both worlds. I can still run some lead core, but will get a wider spread, which should prevent most of the tangling issues.

Lead core fishing line is a fabulous invention! If you don’t at least give it a try, you are missing the boat….. A PUN INTENDED!



Joined: 10:51am - Sep 29,06
Posts: 134
Location: Chicago

Post Posted: 09:40am - May 25,19 
When i run full core ( 10 colors = 100yds) I use a 10 foot rod out to the side on each side.
any other lines such as a dipsey or 5 color/planer are way outside. it is still a risk when you have a big king on
with all that line out. it can be problems but sometimes its the hottest set up. When i have unexperienced friends aboard
i always deploy the full core first with the boat on auto pilot at about 4-5 knots to keep it from dropping too much.
new guys get to fight the leadcore fish.


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Joined: 08:19am - Jun 17,07
Posts: 8562
Location: Gurnee

Post Posted: 10:39am - May 25,19 
You realize part of the ugly as you acknowledge you have to use more spread. Bruce has good input.

Regarding lead line bird's nests... ouch. I was fortunate to be weaned on lead line lake trout fishing in land lake in the fifties with my dad. He was good for birds nests. We even had some old Salt water Penn reels with no level winds on them to make them more difficult to reel in if not careful.

Today we have clickers to help monitor line deployment and like Bruce says, increase your speed to let the line out. He also uses a 10' rod to the each side of the boat or the 10 colors. Depends how fast the action is. Think most will run one down the shoot and move to the side opposite when you get a fish on another rod. Also you can use a large red float at the end of the 10 color on the rod end to know where your ten color is behind the boat so you can let more line out or reel in to avoid tangles with other rods.

I like to use large high speed reels with lead core to them in quickly. Nowadays you can even use smaller high speed reels with microlead. Yes, I agree with you though....I still love lead core line.. :D

“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once.” Albert Einstein
“Timing is life.” Bubbalouie

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