Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Fox easy twist trace wire - trace making PART 1

It's the worst thing you can do. Go in to a tackle shop when you didn't even need anything. Luckily I spent just less than fifty quid on crap I probably will never use. One thing I did buy though is some more trace making material. I always have a few of those cheap and nasty, one pound odd costing, ready made lure/spinning traces in my bag. It's good to have a variety of stuff and every now and again I do use these. They're not the best and won't stand up to the constant biting from the pike, but for a few fish at least they're not too bad and will get you out of a pickle. They're cheap enough to chuck away if they get too kinked up.

I wanted to make some lighter traces myself and also have the ability to quickly knock up one or two while on the bank so while in the tackle shop I grabbed some Fox easy twist wire and some extra crimps (you get about ten in the pack of wire). Today the river was slightly up, very coloured and full of debris, typically not the best conditions I've found to fish this bit of water. So I set about making some traces for when I'm chasing the perch or using smaller lures. Sometimes the tough, stiff titanium is just too tough and stiff for the lures to work correctly and a softer material is needed and 100 Ti traces aren't quite right for sticking a tiny Mepps spinner on!

It's pretty easy to make traces and will work out much much cheaper than buying ready made ones all the time. This Fox wire will cost you about £7.50 for a 25m role at 30lb breaking strain. Add to that £3 for some more crimps and you can knock up plenty of traces. I already had some swivels and clips at home in my little box of tricks that I'm slowly filling up with things I'll need on the bank. I noted that I needed some more clips of varying types so will have a scan of the web later. As I set about knocking a few up and then found I'd got something missing. Nothing too important, but you can make the job a bit tidier if you have some shrink tubing to cover your crimps and help prevent them catching and picking up weed. Of well, fifty knicker spent and still didn't get everything I needed.

I know many anglers will already make up their own traces, will have done so a million times more than me and will also have found better alternatives and combinations of tackle to use. So for you don't bother reading any further as you'll lose about three minutes of your life you'll not get back. But for those who have never done so or have no idea about making traces then here's a quick tutorial of what I did.

  • Slide a crimp on to the wire.
  • Slide a swivel or clip on to the the wire. EDIT - The clips in these pictures are rubbish, do not use, especially for pike fishing.
  • Loop the wire back around and back through the clip (fig 1). Leave a bit of a loop so it is easy to manage in the next steps.
Fig 1
Fig 2

  • Next, thread the wire back through the crimp one more time. Push the wire back until it just pokes out of the crimp.You now should have a bit of a figure of eight with your wire. (Fig 2)
  • We now need to get rid of the loops and tighten up. The first one to get rid of is the bottom one in Fig 2. By pulling on the wire on the top loop, the bottom loop will close up. Pull the wire so the loop is gone but make sure not to pull the wire back through the crimp by pulling too hard.
  • You'll now be looking something like Fig 3 below with the bottom loop gone and the top loop probably a lot bigger than before.
  • Simply pull on the main length of wire to make the loop at the top smaller leaving just enough room for the swivel or clip to move around freely. (Fig 4)
  • Using a decent set of crimping tools (not pliers) apply pressure to the crimp once you're happy with the tidiness and the size of the loop. Not too much pressure and not too little. If there is signs of damage to the crimp or wire then start again otherwise you risk losing a fish.
  • Finally, and very importantly, test your trace! If it fails, it's your fault and you'll blame yourself for losing that biggie. Get a couple of small screw drivers or something and place them through the swivel and clip and simply stretch the trace to test your crimping. Don't forget if you are using lighter wire that you can easily break it so apply just enough force. When using heavier wire you might actually break a clip or swivel. You could use an old set of scales to give yourself an idea of how much force your trace is taking. Take note though, if that wire snaps you don't end up punching someone or stabbing yourself with the screwdriver. Use a bit of common sense (common sense not so common these days it seems).

    Fig 3
    Fig 4

    It's as simple as that, swivel at one end, clip of choice at the other and crimp them both securely in place. Make a loop with the wire through the crimp then back through one more time, tightening up the loops and then crimping up. You can add some heat shrink tubing to make the crimps and wires tidier and you can mix and match swivels and clips to suit plus you can make decent length traces too, because don't forget those big pike have big mouths. The best bit about this is that you can knock these up quickly and can do them on the bank when needed in no time. Here's another tip, if you want to be able to make traces up on the bank don't forget to take some terminal tackle with you, possibly in a small box or plastic zip lock bag. Plus the most important bit of kit, the crimping tool.

    You have a choice, make the traces at home and leave the gear at home only to find that when you are on the bank you need the tools and tackle or cart it all around with you and never ever use it! Whichever you choose will be wrong no doubt. Another final tip. Crimp a swivel to your roll of easy twist wire. It'll save time the next time you come to make a trace and it'll save you losing the end of the wire in the roll.

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