Fishing a long(‘ish) leader for Pollack and Coalfish over a deep sunk wreck in the Winter, or using a really light outfit but the same rig and method over the high rock outcrops of the Western Approaches, has been developed almost to an art-form by generations of blue water anglers.

A little known fact is that the method started in the 1800’s when nylon monofilament was over a hundred years away. What the anglers of the day used was a length of thin copper wire which was coiled and kept in the top of a paraffin lamp. The heat from the lamp annealed the copper wire so that it became soft and quite flexible allowing the tube eels and baits to move enticingly in the currents, as they were retrieved using large diameter wooden reels.

The tubular plastic booms often used today are a great invention, they do the job well, do not rust and, provided you do not lose them in the tangle of wreckage, will last season after season. Other anglers, myself included, use these tube booms to fish the big 7 inch shads. For the small eels, such as the Eddystone eel, I prefer to use a fine wire boom because I believe it causes less turbulence in front of the lure. Purely a personal preference.

Rig the tube boom using a plastic bead in front of the stop knot, because of its small diameter, the bead protects the knot which joins the main line to the swivel.

The length of the leader is a matter which few anglers will agree over. Again, a personal preference is between 10 and 12 feet, with a small swivel two feet from the lure or hook. Other anglers will fish fifteen or even twenty feet leaders in the belief that the longer leader will allow a more natural action to the bait.

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