Reviewed by: CAPT. MIKE SCHOONVELD
The good thing about copper wire fishing line is it catches fish. Actually, that’s the only good thing about copper wire fishing line. Other than that, it’s a pain in the ass to use. I think it hates me. Even when I carefully pay attention to the copper when I’m spooling it off the reel, it regularly manages to “swell up” on the reel’s spool. Sometimes I can carefully reduce the swell; just as often, one loop slides under, over or across one or more others resulting in a copper wire backlash more puzzling than a Rubic’s Cube.
Each kink does two things: one, it weakens the wire; two, each kink, minor bend or spiral in the copper wire between the rod tip and the lure increases line drag as it pulls through the water and decreases the depth the lure on the end will troll. The reason for using copper wire is to stealthily put lures in productive depths.
Increasingly, I’d been hearing of anglers using Weighted Steel Line (from Torpedo Fishing Products) as a substitute for copper wire. I was skeptical of it.
For one, steel is slightly less dense than copper. All else being equal, when comparing the depth capability of trolling with a steel wire and copper wire of equal diameter, the copper will troll deeper. But “all else” isn’t equal.
For one, the strands of copper used to make copper fishing line are coarser than the strands of steel used to make Weighted Steel. More important is the aforementioned drag on the copper line from the inherent kinks, spirals and slight bends in copper as it pulls through the water. Stranded steel doesn’t have these minor spirals and curves as it pulls through the water. In essence, though the diameter of Weighted Steel is very close to the diameter copper trolling wire and the steel weighs less, due to the way the steel “slicks” through the water, the depth capability is nearly identical.
Since the depth is similar, the advantage of Weighted Steel is it doesn’t hate me! Deploying it is no harder than setting out a lead core line. In fact, I often hand a Weighted Steel rig to novices fishing with me with the simple instruction, “Let this one out.” Would you do that with a copper line rig?
Connecting Weighted Steel to backing or to a fluorocarbon or monofilament leader is a bit different than with copper. Torpedo makes a “Termination Kit” to facilitate this. It’s basically a wire crimp and wind-on swivel. Fine, if your reel’s level wind guide is wide enough for the tiny swivel to pass through. It’s not so fine on several of my reels with narrow level-winders.
I solved it by attaching a short length of 100# braid to the end of the Weighted Steel using an Albright knot and then tying a double-uni to connect wire to the backing or leader. These connections wound on my reels with no problem.
Consider this. I’ve never heard of anyone who tried Weighted Steel going back to copper wire. Many (like myself) spooled one reel with Weighted Steel as a test, then quickly bought additional spools of Weighted Steel to switch all their coppers to Weighted Steel.
Weighted steel is available at many retail and online sources (including Amazon.com) or straight from Torpedo Fishing Products at www.torpedodiver.com.