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Crimping Wire Line
for attaching a swivel

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1. If you follow the below pictorial, the images pretty much explain on how to attach a swivel to the business end of your wire line. 
2. Use a blood knot to the end that goes on the reel with 30# mono as a backer.  
3. The cushioning of the mono underneath takes what's called "progressive dynamic tension" off the reel's spools.
4. Standard downrigger crimps or sleeves were used.  These are widely available at any tackle store that has big lake stuff.

Warning: If you do not stuff the loose ends back in the top crimp you're gonna get some serious boo-boos big time from being stabbed with the little needlepoint ends.  30# test wire is only about .010 thick, so the seven strands of stainless that makes this stuff are pretty ultra-needlelike.
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Step 1
Now, this isn't the only way to do this, but this is the way I've done it since 1988.  From 1988 thru 2005, never, once did I ever experience a failure.  18 seasons under the hard usage says a lot for this  system of attaching a swivel/cross lock to wire. 

I've broke off a fair amount of wire off, but never close to the end where the crimps are.

Be sure to squeeze all crimps firmly. Play a fish on wire easy, cuz of the no-stretch line factor.

Forget hard hook-sets, you'll tear the hooks out. Any kinks means cutting off the bad section immediately.

Run a soft drag and play the fish very carefully.

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The Reel Deal on Wire Line 2006
By Capt. John King
This is an updated version from a earlier article in 2002

In August of 1988 I was chartering out of the Port of Frankfort, MI.  This was the height of the Bacterial Kidney Disease (BKD) that almost wiped out our fishery for Kings (Chinooks).  Kings were extremely hard to come by and this only was made worse with the summer of 1988 being the hottest on record for this area.  This drove what few Kings there deep and times were tough in the charter business.

Capt. Mel Wantz who skippered a 31' Silverton named the "Johnny B" was using 7 strand 30 pound test braided wire and Luhr Jensen Deep Six in the largest size.  Capt. Mel was catching more Kings then I was.   Mel being the of the cooperative sort, was willing to let me in on what he called his "secret weapon rods."  His two wire diver rods were rigged with the above method of attaching the swivel.  I copied what Mel had and soon catching a few more Kings then previously.

Then came spring of 1989 and I moved my charter operation to Port Austin, cuz I sure wasn't gonna be able to maintain a full time business for Salmon in Frankfort after the lousy 1988 BKD no Kings season. Dipsey rods had just came out in about 1987 and were not overly available. So, necessity dictated I had use the rods from the previous summer of 1988.  Now, these rod's showed abuse and regular line-guides were grooved up from the 30# test wire cutting thru the line guides.  Roller rods, like we have today, was just a dream back in 1989.

Was I the first......?                 Who knows.......?               Who cares?......not I!

If you can reliably pre-date wire Dipsys to before 1989 then you got a leg up on me.  The spread of usage of wire divers came from Capt. Mel Wantz in the first place anyways.  All be it may, I transposed it to the Dipsys in the spring of 1989 when chartering in Port Austin, MI.

Wiring the "Word"

The word got out on the wire in a hurry in the thumb of Michigan and then traveled to New York's Lake Ontario first, before gaining in popularity on Lake Michigan in the later 1990s & the i2ks.
When the fish went deep, beyond 50 to 60 deep many just stowed their divers ...cuz with just mono you were not going to divers into the fish zone anyways in the middle 1980s.  Drop weights were
probably more popular back then.

As a side note:  There was no such thing as Spectron "super braid" and that stuff didn't come out until the early 1990s.  Hence, the need for a thin diver line that would allow divers to go deep.

Strong Points 

Like all things running braided wire diver has it's good points and determents.  Here's the obvious: 30 pound braided stainless wire coming in around .010, means it's then and extremely strong for the diameter.  However, the biggest key is wire is smooth that cuts the water and your diver goes down like a rock, when compared to regular monofilament fishing lines.   You can whack bottom at depths exceeding 100 feet with a Dipsy dialed on 1 if you let enough line out.  Even deeper if you add the optional larger aftermarket big ring.  Depth comes from the lessened water drag and the actual weight of the wire and let's not forget the skinny .010 thickness.

Wire line does not have the fine microfilaments like super braids that add additional water drag. Wire slices to great depth per amount of line off the reel.  If you're gonna compare apple and oranges (wire vs. Spectron), I'd say 10-20% less line of the reel is needed for the getting depth range as Cortland's 35 pound test Spectron.  Not much, but still a difference. As far as I'm concerned that's the biggest advantage wire has over braid.  

Please keeping in mind, when I began running wire Dipsy Divers, super braid lines were still 2 or 3 years down the road for the exact historical reel-facts.  Back then, B.B. (before braid) wire was the only way to fly.  Here's a noteworthy fact: back in the 80s when the fish went deeper then 50 deep, most just simply retired their divers until the lake rolled and the temp came up to the above 50' scale.  Adding a one pound lead ball ahead of your diver was a trick that came out of Ludington back in the day, 20 some years ago.  Fishermen then used a sinker release mechanism 1' to 3' in front of the diver.  Myself back then?......I just ran drop weights to reach the fish and cheesed the divers.  You'll need set of good 20' outriggers were required to run more then just a port and starboard set drop weights deep for 4-drop weight program.

Weak Points

Draw back to running wire are many and starts with the expense of a truly good roller diver rod.  These will set you back 200 to 300 bucks each.  The age old adage of you get what you pay for is doubly true when it come to quality roller rods.  Roller rods must has a soft progressive tip and plenty of backbone.  I made my own and had over 100 bucks in the Aftco Roller Guides per each rod.  I know there's cheaper diver rods out, but look at the quality and numbers of rollers per rod length.  You'll see why it pays to go first class!  Wire rods can come in differing lengths, but the 2 sizes most popular are the 9 and 10 footers.

Wire is plain out and out dangerous, cuz it can, and will slice thru rigger cables.  Plus, anything else that gets in it's way like lead core, mono and most importantly your fingers.  You will lose far more fish too, if the person on the rod tries to bulldoze the fish with hard hands.  Wire line fish must be play with the outmost of care, gingerly gaining line at the appropriate times.

The wire we now use can be dated back in the 1930s, maybe earlier.  Wire does not like the small reel spools we have it on in the i2ks.  Braided and monel wire was used for Lake Trout trolling, way back when on the Great Lakes (what many consider the old days).  Early 20th century trollers would let out 500 to 700 feet of wire to get to the bottom where the Lakers lived.  This meant:  early Laker rods and reels had a huge reel, about a foot in diameter, cuz these the pre-modern day era reels did not have the multiplying factor built-in, like over our level wind reels we use today.  Hence, the reason for the oversize direct-drive large reels that took up about 2 to 3 feet per turn. 

Here's a Heads Up

OK, now that the history lesson is over.  I'm going to make a strong point: wire will not NEVER lay flat on your modern day fishing reel's smaller sized spool.  Wire WILL ALWAYS have a unruly propensity to uncoil, causing unbelievable backlashes/tangles/bird-nests.  Never taking the clicker off is a way to counter act wire's wild tendency to uncoil.  This is a reliable method to use to control spool overrun, or backlash and the one I use.  It helps to tighten the reel's spool caps that additional tension to the spool. 

The problems of backlash are compounded by the additional weight of the wire.  Simple physics of weight vs. mass issues:  once an object is set in motion, it will stay in motion, unless it's affected by other forces like a tightened down tensioning cap on your reel, or leaving the clicker always on.

Beware, 30# braided stainless wire is a nasty snarl waiting to happen.
Never free-spool the reel without some kind of tension on the spool.

Braided wire will also kink up in a heartbeat, rendering the line 100% totally useless.  Pay attention to any curly-cues, or loose laying loopy line.  Work these out before they become a kink.  Always keep some tension on the wire, failure to heed this advice will soon show itself and a trip to the tackle store to replace the costly stuff.

Gearing Up

Braided wire generally comes on 600' and 1000' spools and the line test can vary from 20 to 50
pound test.  I use the 30 pound, which seem to be the best for in the trade-off between strength and still a fine diameter to allow depth.  If possible, only purchase with in 1000' foot spools.  That way if an accident does occur and you lose 300' of line, you'll still have 700' on standby.

When filling a reel for the first time make sure not to under fill the spool.  On reels similar in size to the Diawa LC 47s, wind on backing until you're a good 1/2 inch from the spool being full.  I know you're think a 1000 feet will over fill the spool, but it won't in 30# test.  The wire is incredibly thin and a 1000' will fit.

After filling the reel with the approximate amount of line to be used as backing (25 to 30# test mono), use a bloodknot to join the wire line to the backer line.  Now, your first attempts at the blood-knotting from mono to wire will probably look pretty shaky, but if you take your time, achieving a good knot will happen with a little practice.  Click for bloodknot 

Myself, I do not use the LC Diawa reels for wire line.  I prefer reels with larger diameter spools like the Okuma Catalina 45D line counters.  This reel is slight larger then the 47 series and has extra power, plus a larger reel handle that provides a much increased mechanical advantage.  Thusly, a reel  easier to wind in, whether it's just the diver, or you're fighting a fish. 

45D LC's do not have an agate level-wind line guide like the Diawa SG 47LC series.

Useful Wire Line Links

Tying a bloodknot from the backing

Diverology 101

More info on a wire diver program from 2002

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