Lead-core line

Discussion in 'Northeast Ohio Fishing Reports' started by TWD67, Jul 20, 2008.

  1. I just bought some lead core and was wondering how to fish it..Can anybody give me some tips such as do I need backing? A leader? how much do I leave out to get to a certain depth? Any info will be greatly appreciated. Thanks
  2. Lewzer

    Lewzer Powderfinger

    I have a nice article that Corey put me on when I asked the same question last year. The bookmark is on my work computer so I'll post the link tomorrow.
    Everyone's advice was get the 18lb. line. It has the same amount of lead as heavier tests but they just have extra nylon sheath (or whatever it's made out of) and it just increases the diameter so you won't run as deep. I use a 12lb fluorocarbon leader that's long enough so the knot is on the reel at boatside.

  3. stormfront

    stormfront Guest

    Home >> Fishing Basics >> Trolling With Leadcore

    Trolling Leadcore Line

    Getting Started
    Trolling with leadcore is a technique that has been active in the Great Lakes for better than 10 years but has really taken off in the last 5 years or so. It is a great way to add lines to your spread, cover different depths, and fish a long distance behind the boat to target spooky fish. Some days, almost all my fish will come off of core. And even with how long many anglers have been using it successfully, there is still many who either are intimidated by it or simply refuse to use it.

    The Basics
    Leadcore is a braided nylon line that has lead in the center of it. It is commonly available in 18, 27 and 36 pound test. Most popular on the Great Lakes for trout and salmon is 27# while walleye anglers seem to prefer 18#. The weight of the line does not seem to affect the sinking rate of the line but it is wise to use one weight class and stick with it to reduce confusion. The line changes color in 10 yard increments so you know how much you are letting out and a full spool has 10 colors, making it 100 yards long. This is called a "full core". Also common are a "half core" which would be 5 colors or 50 yards, and a "core and a half" which is 15 colors or 150 yards. Although the sinking rate is dependant on trolling speed and the size or weight of your lure, a rule of thumb is that your bait will get down 4 feet for every color let out, putting a half core at about 20 feet, a full core at about 40 feet, and a core and a half at about 60 feet.

    Why is it so effective?
    There are several things about leadcore that make it productive. First off, if your bait is often back 100 yards or more behind the boat putting it a long ways from all of the noise and disturbance caused by your motors and cannonballs. Also, many angles believe that lures on a leadcore have an erratic action that will trigger strikes. For example, as you turn the lines on the fast side of the turn will speed up and raise in the water column while those on the slow side of the turn will slow in action and sink in depth. These changes are often just what it takes to trigger a strike from a neutral fish.

    Getting set up
    The best rig to set up if you are a beginner is a full core. This is probably the most effective leadcore through out the year and very versatile. For a rod, you want something that has some backbone in the 8 to 9 foot range. Some people use shorter, others longer. Start out in the middle and see what you prefer. You don't need the rod to be super stiff, but not whippy either. Something a little lighter than a dipsey rod will be fine to start out. For a reel, you will need something with a good line capacity and a good drag. A very common reel for full core is a PennT 330 or even as large as 340. These reels are large enough to hold the 100 yards of leadcore, plus the leader and backing. Good half core reel sizes are 320 to (common downrigger size reels), and 15 color core reels in the 340 to 345 sizes. Any reel with a comparable capacity will work.

    To start rigging your leadcore, you will need to first put on your backing. I prefer a superline or braided line for my backing. It seems to hold up well to the abuse of planer board clips well. Most importantly is that it is a small diameter which allows for more backing to be put on the reel.

    Many people also use monofilament backing which works fine and is cheaper, but you can't fit as much on the spool. Deciding how much backing to put on the reel is tough. Try to make a good guess of how much you can fit, taking into account the leadcore will need to be added in the next step. If you get part way through spooling your leadcore and find you don't have enough room, you can always pull the line back off and cut off some backing. It is a hassle, but you want to make sure you have plenty of line for backing. At a minimum, you will want at least 100 yards. Also, remember to use a backing that is heavier than your leadcore.

    If you are using 27 pound test leadcore, use a minimum of 30 pound backing. If using superline, 40 or 50 pound test would still be suitable. This is incase you were to snag something or bust off on a big fish, your line will break on the lighter leader line, and you won't lose all of your leadcore and backing. Tie your leadcore onto your backing using knot such as a blood knot or a double unie knot. Before you tie the knot, though, remove several inches of lead from the inside of the leadcore. This allows for the knot to tie easier and will result in a stronger knot. Reel on your leadcore with steady pressure on the line as you reel. The first couple of times, the stiff lead will cause the line to spool up rather loose and take up more room. The tighter you can get it on the spool the first time, the better.

    Count the colors as you reel on your core and when you have your desired length, cut off the core and remove the lead from this end. Tie on a lighter monofilament leader using a knot similar to the first. Reel on a good 50 feet or so of mono and tie on a quality ball bearing swivel. A good swivel is important to reduce line twist and will save you headaches in the future.

    *helpful trick*
    If you have two of the same reel and are having a hard time figuring out how much backing to put on, one trick you can do is spool the whole rig onto your reel backwards. Start by winding on your leader, then leadcore, and then fill the rest of the reel with your backing. Keep track of how much backing you are putting on though. When your reel is full, tie the backing from the reel you just filled to your other reel and wind on the whole rig. Then, when you go to fill the other reel, you know about how much backing the first reel took.

    Multiple Leadcores
    While trolling a single leadcore down the middle of your spread or "down the chute" is productive, trolling multiple leadcores is a great way to cover even more water. For this, use large inline planerboards such as the Gary Roach Board or an Offshore board. These boards have enough beef to pull the heavy weight of even a core and a half out to the side of the boat. The idea is to run your deeper leadcores closer to the boat and the shallower running lines to the outside. An example of this would be running a core and a half closest to the boat, a full core outside of that, and a half for outside of it. This would allow you to cover 60, 40 and 20 foot ranges, all on the same side of the boat. When running your cores off of a board, you should either tighten your release so it won't release, or tie a rubber band onto your line and clip the board to both the line and the rubber band so the board won't slide down the line if it does release. This allows you to take the board off early in the fight and also keeps it from sliding down the line and hitting the fish, possibly knocking it off.

    Other lengths of leadcore are becoming very popular as well. 3 color cores are very effective for early spring fish as well as steelhead year round. A 3 color leadcore will get you down in the area of 12 feet and some days will out produce flat lines by a large margin. 7 or 8 color core has also become very popular, as have 12-13 color core. The idea is to get as many lures in the active depth range as possible. But remember, as you begin to run cores of closer lengths such as a 7 color and a 5 color, the baits are a similar depths and tangles become more likely. Starting out, stick with the basic 5, 10, and maybe even 15 color cores.

    Snap Weights
    If you are starting out with only one leadcore, I would pick a full core. You can fish it shorter, just like a half core by only letting out 5 colors. Or, if you want to fish it deeper, you can use snap weights from 1 ounce to 4 ounces or more. Snap weights have become very popular with walleye fisherman trying to fish deeper with crankbaits. Let out your entire 10 colors of leadcore. Then, clip your snap weight on the leadcore, near the knot. Then let out 20 or 30 yards of backing. This will help get your bait down to where a core and a half would run, without having to rig up another rod. Also, by varying the size of your snap weight and the amount of backing you let out, you can cover a range of different depths.

    What baits to use
    You can pretty much fish any bait off a leadcore that you would off of a downrigger. Spoons are very popular in all sizes, from smaller spoons all the way up to magnum sizes. Rotators or flashers can also work great on leadcores, but be careful not to tangle these. Flasher tangles on leadcore are a twisted mess! Another popular lure on leadcores the last few years has been a plug such as a J-plug or Lyman Plug. Another bonus to running a plug on leadcore is the diving action of the plug allows you to fish even deeper than with a spoon on the same leadcore.

    Trolling Leadcore, by Chris Brandt
  4. stormfront

    stormfront Guest

    i have three outfits, 18 lb. my rods are okuma classics, 7' medium action made for leadcore. they are fairly inexpensive. on these i either use daiwa 47 or okuma convector 20 reels. don't use them much, but they are really effective for walleye hugging the bottom or staging in deeper water.
  5. stormfront

    stormfront Guest

    good guys wrote that article. great teachers, too.