False economy - Part 1
by Jarrod Day on 18 Aug 2013
There is an unwritten law amongst the game fishing fraternity that when it comes to targeting such a highly prized fish of the sea, no cost is spared. While this can be incorporated into every aspect of the sport, first time game anglers should pay particular attention to this so called 'law' when choosing their terminal tackle.
In its entirety, the game fishing setup must be in tip top shape with no exceptions spared Jarrod Day
In its entirety, the game fishing setup must be in tip top shape with no exceptions spared. Reels and rods well maintained, lines changed and inspected for impurities and imperfections but it is the business end containing swivels, and or hooks that become the most important. Without prior knowledge, those new to the sport spend their hard earned cash on their rods and reels to get the very best for their buck but when it comes to terminals tend to grab anything within reach. During any battle, immense pressure is bestowed onto swivels, hooks and leader and it is at this end of the setup that will dictate whether or not the fish will be landed.
It is for this reason that when purchasing any piece of terminal tackle, anglers need to consider which is going to be the most beneficial, the cheaper or the most expensive.
Swivels are without doubt one of the most significant pieces of terminal tackle, they are the lifeline between angler and fish. They play a major role in game fishing from not just supporting strength but also in preventing line twist or unwanted line malfunctions when a fish is powering off or aerial in battle.
Swivels are available in a wide range of designs all serving specific purposes. Some may be for the use of joining two lines together while some for attaching lures. What ever the purpose, there is a swivel designed to suit.
When purchasing swivels, the first question you need to ask yourself is what is catching such a prestigious fish worth?
This question could be asked about anything but when it comes to choosing a swivel anglers can be confused due to the large array that can be found on tackle shop walls. To the naked eye, every packet of swivels can look the same; but once you actually read the packet you will find many important features such as strength, price and of course quantity.
If you’re into the game fishing scene, then you’ll know and trust brands such as Optia, Ritcher and Sampo. If you not, Pisces or shogun might be appealing as you get 5 or 6 swivels to a packet.
Regardless, the same question needs to be asked, will this swivel stand up.
A snap swivel is generally crimped to the end of a windon leader or long double. Its main use is to clip on lures, live bait or skip bait rigs. This swivel serves a very important purpose in game fishing and should be carefully taken into consideration when purchasing. Due to snap swivels being the most common swivel used, there are hundreds of different variations available from a bulk 10 pack ranging $3-$8 to singly sold swivels for $30. Obviously, the more you spend the better quality you’ll get.
Cheaper snap swivels tend to be manufactured in China where they are far cheaper to produce. In saying that, some of the more expensive snaps are also produced in China but are made from manufactures such as Centro, that pride themselves on their craftsmanship to produce high quality products. Still, the more affordable, bulk packaged swivels maybe ok for some lighter tackle fishing but they tend to max their kilo rating out at around 120Lb. Even when light tackle game fishing, this rating wont stand up to the pressure bestowed onto it and can buckle and bend under the pressure.
The next step up usually sells in the $12-$18 range where rather than a dozen in a pack will only be three or five. These swivels will be stronger installing confidence when used. Still, if large game fish are the target they should probably be left on the shelf. These swivels are great for smaller size game fish such as kingfish, small sharks, tuna or even small billfish but you could run into problems should a brute take the bait.
In this instance more anglers look towards using the elite in swivels where the quality outweighs the cost. At this level, these swivels are sold singly or with two in a packet. They are some of the strongest swivels available with ratings in the 200Lb, 250Lb, 300Lb, 400Lb, 500Lb and greater at times. These are designed for anglers that want the best and are always used by anglers fishing tournaments right around the world. Of the leading brands, Optia (Made in China), Sampo (Made in the USA), Richter (Hand Made in Africa), Black Pete Japsnaps (Made in Japan) and Pakula (Made in China) are the pick of choice when targeting such prestigious fish.
One thing to note though with some of these swivels, rather than incorporating a ball bearing swivel as such, some are made using a torpedo swivel which are the highest rated swivels produced today.
There is no doubt that torpedo swivels are the strongest swivels on the market. Torpedo’s are made from brass enabling longevity and have been available for the past 30 years. When it comes to professionalism, torpedo swivels are used and are a swivel that won’t let you down.
Anglers fishing the Great Barrier Reef for 1000Lb’s religiously use torpedo’s as they will stand up to the test. Available in a wide range of sizes from 4mm with a breaking strain of 240Lb right up to 14mm with a breaking strain of 1800Lb’s. Of the smaller, they make it ideal for use with ultra light tackle as they offer minimal drag on the line.
Torpedo swivels are mainly used for joining two lines together to take out any possibility of line twist but they can also come fitted with a snap for attaching lures or rigs. Once again, look to proven brands that have stood the strength of time such as Optia’s brass heavy torpedo. They serve a very important purpose in game fishing and when at this level should be taken into consideration.
Another alternative is the crane swivel. Cranes are very handy for light tackle fishing where two lines need to be joined together. Cranes can also come fitted with a heavy duty snap for those that still want strength at the business end.
Cranes swivels are very small in comparison to other swivels but still retain extremely high breaking strains. They are very similar in design to barrels but incorporate highly polished internals which aid in reducing friction which enhances the ability to cause line twist. They are still on the tournament level and are a better alternative to ball bearing swivels for those looking for superior quality at affordable prices.
There are still plenty of other swivel designs and grades on the market but when it comes to game fishing, the few listed above should be reached for first before anything else.
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