How I Work With Heavy Wire

The larger class of single strand wire #22 (460lb) up to the #27 (850lb) are certainly a level above what most anglers would require. Most everyone will agree making a haywire twist by hand is ideal, but working with heavy single strand wire can be challenging, there's no shame in using tools.

Pictured here is a 13/0 4480-DT Mustad connected to #25 (750lb) test Malin Single Strand with a Haywire Twist. I think about Haywire Twists in Three Parts.

#1 is the loop. I use wire pliers to establish the loop in heavy single strand. It's a crucial bend and wire pliers create a uniform bend eliminating the chance of a kink. Personally, I think it is important for the hook to move freely in the wire loop to minimize the influence of the wire rigidity.

#2 are the wraps. Uniform and symmetrical is my goal. The more symmetrical the wraps are the stronger the hold will be.

#3 is the finish. I try to make tight and clean barrel wraps. The barrel wraps are a finish to the wraps, the strength is in the wraps not really the barrel wraps, 4 to 6 barrel wraps is plenty.  I prefer to finish with a crank.

Just as you would crank on a reel, you push the crank around in a circular motion. If your not familiar with this technique, I suggest you try to perfect it with the smaller wire first.

A quality set of wire pliers and a cheap set of lineman pliers are my tools of choice. I like the 6mm and 8.5mm anvil but there are several sizes and styles on the market to choose from.

When using pliers to help hold heavy wire, I choose the cheap lineman pliers over high quality ones because they are typically built with soft steel. They do wear quickly but because its metal is softer than the wire, the pliers are damaged instead of the wire. I prefer the diamond cut grip over the parallel cut.

These are 12/0 Owner Big Game Hooks on #22 (460lb) Malin Single Strand Wire. This is my standard of quality in detail. I think everyone can agree that these are all quality Haywire Twists and you can expect similar consistency with my premade leaders.

Longline Clips with Multiple Drops

This is an explanation of the risks and solutions of using multiple drops and longline clips. In late 2006, I designed and built leaders with longline clips. Pictured below is one of our early Alternative Deployment Leaders, virtually the same as our original leaders from 2006. I discontinued this all monofilament Longline Clip leader shortly after the IRD (increased radius design) leaders were developed.

In 2009, our IRD (increased radius design) Leaders simply added a length of cable between the weight and the bait. This concept increases the courtship time between the shark and bait before it feels the weight. It also saves material by allowing the use of shorter drops. its a very common design today.

I discontinued the use of Longline Clips on our leaders in 2011 because they have an inherent problem when using multiple drops...

The clips are failing because the drops are being pulled from different directions. Perhaps two sharks on different drops pulling against each other or maybe a dangling drop could get caught on structure. However it happens, it certainly happens. I stopped using longline clips on leaders and began to design them with shackles instead. Today I prefer the shackles, but with the recent increase of Longline Clip Leaders in the community I want to introduce this explanation and a solution to the problem. Longline Clip leaders with multiple drops should always be rigged with a shackle, the rigging is pictured below...

This system prevents the Longline Clip from being pulled from different directions, eliminating the problem. It has the benefits of a Longline Clip with the security of a Shackle. It also makes changing a deployed bait quick and efficient by eliminating the need to address each of the multiple drops individually.

If you prefer longline clips and use multiple drops, this rigging is a good way to go.


About Steven

About Steven

Like many shark fishermen, I started catching sharks while targeting other species. Once introduced to the shark I wanted to catch them. I remember hoping for a shark to hit when I was a child trolling the off shore rigs for kings. The pup sharks under a popping cork always gave a fight greater than the equivalent speckled trout and while bull red fishing, the scream of my Penn 209 always seemed to sound a little different when a shark took the bait. The addiction came when they got too big for my tackle and after being spooled and broke off a time or two, I decided it was time to upgrade and it was then that I realized I was actually targeting sharks and had been wanting to my whole life but never quite willing to admit it I guess, It’s weird to me, seems so many people are in the same boat... Can you remember saying, “What if we caught a shark?” as a child?

Once I realized this forgotten desire, I had to progress; trying some crazy stuff, spending evenings on the beach with folks that have been Shark Fishing for a decade was humbling… finally, I learned ‘back to basics’ and so, my company catch phrase was born, “Our leaders combine new innovative ideas with proven old timer ways…” I did learn that, for the most part, we are all constantly learning. There are some masters of this sport but, I’m not one of them. I’m just a guy who loves to catch big fish and I’m doing all I can to promote that in my life. I am a free spirited and prosperity minded person and I firmly believe it is sometimes better to get new twice as often then to get one that last twice as long.

The Timeline

In the summer of 1985, I stayed at a rented beach house in Jamaica Beach on Galveston Island. I caught my first ‘real shark' on a Penn 309. I was 12 years old. At this point, I was just fishing. I wasn’t targeting sharks, I was just putting whatever bait I had in the water for whatever would eat it.

It was the summer of 1990 when I first fished with a family friend named Paul, a veteran sharker. This was in the pre kayak era, baits were paddled out on a windsurf board. This was the first trip I can remember exclusively targeting sharks.

In the early summer of 2006 I had purchased some bulk materials and was distributing the material and leaders I had made among my friends, not for profit or even cash, mostly just bartering meals or bait deployments on the beach. By late summer, I had friends of friends wanting leaders and sometimes strangers on the beach would ask to purchase a couple. It was at this time that I was considering the possibility of a small business. By the fall I had my first distributor, ‘The Rusty Hook’ on the west end of Galveston Island.

In 2007 I launched as the first heavy terminal tackle online store devoted to shark fishing. It was just a simple e commerce store. I was excited and motivated. As the first online hub for heavy leader materials in the USA, I was selling materials in the smaller quantities that a fisherman might need to build a few leaders and I had my leaders for sale in many of the bait camps and tackle shops in Galveston and Bolivar Peninsula with big plans to grow.

In 2008 I started the design of a new website with more media and distributor promotions available on the site. In the fall, Hurricane Ike devastated the upper Texas coast. The tackle shops and bait camps that I called distributors were gone.

In 2009 I launched the new website CatchSharks version 2.0, my online sales were on the rise but I still didn’t know if many distributors would even rebuild. I decided not to pursue distributors but rather work on promotion of my online sales.

2011 was the year I caught my first Dusky shark. A cool upwelling brought pelagic species uncommonly close in mid summer, I caught the 4th documented landbased Texas Dusky in the past 20 years. My personal best at 8’10”.

In 2012, fishing together with my good friend Leon, we took second place at Sharkathon with the second largest shark and in addition, caught a total of 4 sharks which was twice as many as anyone else in the tournament.

In 2014, version 3.0 launched as the water temps began to rise to fishable levels along the Texas coast. In early summer, I caught my first Texas Tiger at 8'6". The year finished strong with my team taking 4th in the Texas Shark Rodeo and I took 5th in the individual Angler Standings (determined by most inches) to reestablish as the real for fishermen by fishermen provider of heavy terminal tackle.

In 2015, I joined the distinguished ’13 foot Club’. My “Unlucky Feline” is the largest land based Texas Tiger caught in perhaps 30 years, a colossal achievement. More notable, it holds the title of Texas’ largest land based shark ever tagged and released .

I finished out in the top 10 again, taking 7th place (most inches) in the Texas Shark Rodeo continuing to prove is the top producer among shark tackle providers.