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Basin tactics 2, leadcore

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One tactic this time of year that tends to excel in larger rivers and lakes is trolling leadcore line for walleyes.  Basic tackle is a large capacity level wind reel and a 7-9' medium action trolling rod.  I recommend a trolling rod as the taper is made to troll nonstretch lines like leadcore or superbraids.  A line counter reel can be very helpful to replicate your presentation when targeting suspended fish but leadcore line is colored every 30' and you can get by with letting out line by how many colors you have out as well.  Leadcore line is a dacron sheath around a fine lead filament and the additional weight of the filament is what causes the line to sink.  A basic rule to follow is 5 feet of depth for each color you have in the water when travelling at 2 mph. In most lakes and rivers, 4-6 colors of leadcore will suffice with 6 getting you to the 30' plus range depndeing on your presentation and trolling speed.  Leadcore is speed dependent so slowing down will get you slightly deeper and speeding up will raise your presentation slightly due to the water resistance against the line.  This scenario is also true in rivers where current may cause the need to let out additional line to get your baits in the strike zone.  For most presentations 27# leadcore is sufficient to cross over between walleyes and salmon fishing and there is really  a negligible difference between 18# and 36# leadcore as far as sink rate.  A mono leader of 10# line between the leadcore and the bait to be presented is the next addition to the arsenal.   To attach the leader you will need to push the dacron sheath down to exspose 6-8" of the lead filament, cut the filament off and tie the mono leader to the dacron sheath.  A double uni knot or a nail knot work nicely and I have even seen guys use back to back clinch knots.  Leader lengths can vary from 10-50' depending on the lures used.  The important thing to note is if you are going to troll diving crankbaits like slamo hornets or shad raps you will need to know the dive depth for that particular lure with the amount of mono leader that you have on as the baits will dive an additional few feet deeper then what the leadcore is achieving.  So for instance, I have three colors of leadcore out and a 50' leader with a #5 shad rap.  I know the leadcore will get me down 15' and that a #5 shad rap will reach an additional 8' on 50' of 10# mono for a total depth of 23'.  When working with spinner rigs or stick baits your rigs will generally run just 2-3 feet deeper then the leadcore and it may take a bit of experimenting to get your baits right in the zone that you want to attack.  This tactic can be particularly deadly on lakes with thermoclines and where suspended forage like whitefish or tullibees are present and allows you to target fish suspended out over the basin or sitting just above the thermocline that you would not normally be able to reach with just standard diving baits.  Tightlines and good luck on the water!




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What is your trolling speed? Speed can change everything. I have trolled 27# LC at 2mph with 20ft leader, attached to a #7 deep shad rap. could not hit bottom 26ft. with 120ft LC out.

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Yes, leadcore is speed dependent.  Typically I am running 1.8 to 2.3 when trolling most of the dive charts list speeds of 2 mph and three mph.  The depth is reduced by about 33% when moving at 3 mph.  In the above scenario you had 120ft out of core(3.5 colors) or roughly 17' plus the additional depth of the lure on the 20' leader, I am going to say you would be running right about 25' in 26' of water.  The reason I say 3.5 colors is that at 120' you had probably a third of the last segment running from the rod tip to the water line.  I am guessing at the dive curve of the #7 shad rap with 20' of mono leader at 8' it is also possible that with 20' the dive curve is shallower then 8' but I don't have my dive charts handy.  Leader weight can also influence the diving curve.  Most dive curves use 10# xt as the constant which has a slightly thicker diameter and is a bit stiffer which can slightly stifle the baits action.  It takes a bit of experimentation to dial in your presentations as I am sure you have noticed.


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Great post tunrevir. Good info here. jigginjim, you might even have been higher off the bottom than what tunrevir suggests because of the following: from some of the data I have seen, as you let out more leadcore, you don't really get 5'/color of depth. That number gets smaller and smaller the more colors (each color is 30' on regular leadcore) you let out. So, if you let out 10 colors or 100 yards, you  might only get from 35-40' feet down.

This all changes if you are using some of the new leadcores like the Sufix 832 Advanced Leadcore. They advertise that it will run about 7'/color deep.

Another hint I wanted to pass along: If you want to use a double uni or uni to uni knot with leadcore, you can "pinch" off the lead filament tunrevir was talking about a foot or so up from the end with your fingernail while it is still in the braid sheath and pull the lead filament out of the braid shell. That way you have a nice long piece of braid to work with.  I would not suggest just tying your leader to the braid while the lead filament is still in the line.


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