Lead Core Rigging For Spoons
By Wisconsin fishing charter Capt. Jim Hirt
Now is the time to think about changes to make your trips more productive next season. There are many ways to go on this subject. Over the next several articles I will try to cover topics like rigging, tackle and presentation. My goal is to provide information, which should lead to more fish and less slow fishing.
Should you have a question please e-mail me from my Blue Max website contact us page. Read all my articles and see video fish reports at
Lead Core will work
In the last article we covered rigging diving planers and flat lines. Let us continue with rigging presentations. The tools out there are endless. Being flexible on the slow days is the answer to more fish. It is a fisherman with a full arsenal of presentations that finds action when fishing gets tough.
Clear water presentation
The hot rig for the last several years has been lead core. With the influx of Zebra Muscles the waters of the Great Lakes have become very clear. In my opinion the toughest conditions are calm clear sunny days. On these types of days lead core is the way to go.
Start basic then go lead
I do not recommend lead core presentation for first light it is far to time consuming to run during a hot bite. After the early morning bite or about two hours after sunrise I break out the lead core.
The basics are reel, rod, line and planer board. The cost of a rig will start at about $150. The reel you use is based on the amount of lead core line you want to run. When selecting a reel purchase one large enough to handle the amount of colors you would like to run. Lead core is a bulky line and most likely will not fit on the reels you are currently using. Find a tackle store that deals with this product to ensure a correct purchase.
Hitting the Marks
The rule of thumb is 4-5 feet of depth to every color of lead core. When your target fish is 15 feet down you should run 3 or 4 colors of lead core. Some of you may be thinking why is there a variation of 4 to 5 feet per color. The factors that affect this are type of lure and boat speed. This line is graduated in 10-yard sections each having a different color. Popular set ups are 3 colors, 5 colors and 8 colors.
Correct rod is important
Rods for lead core need to have plenty of backbone. I use a heavy action 8-foot rod. This should give you the power needed to reel in 500 feet of line, planer board and 20-pound Kings.
Cortland Lead Core
The line comes in many test weights 27 or 36 pound is what I run it all has the same sink rate. You will also need a backing line of mono, braided Dacron or one of the super lines like 50 pound Berkley FireLine Braid. From the lead core to the lure use a 20-pound fluorocarbon line.
Church walleye Board the Best Planer Board
To avoid tangles when running multiple lead cores you will need a planer board for each rig. The purpose of a planer board is to move the line off to the side of the boat away from other lines. Several manufactures have boards for leadcore. The Church walleye Board out performs all the others and it is what I use.
When loading the reel, start with 300 yards 50 pound FireLine Braid
for a backing line then strip the lead out of the end of the lead core and tie a Willis Knot to the lead core. Finish with a Willis Knot and 30 feet of a 20-pound fluorocarbon to a ball bearing cross lock snap.
To run this rig, snap on your favorite lure I like Reaper or Vulcan by Badger Tackle and let out all of the line to the backing. Then install your board on the backing so it does not release. I usually run them 150 feet off each side of the boat. Very wide turns and low boat traffic are a must to avoid tangles and getting run over. I set my drags light. When the reel starts to scream, adjust the drag as necessary. Reel in the line until you can reach the board and hand release it. Now the line is clear to bring in the fish. Some of my biggest fish were caught on this presentation this year. The good news is it produces fish all day long.
Badger Tackle has a promotion now buy 4 or more spoons and receive a free spoon.
Call me anytime to help with your spoon selection. If you would like to try the hottest spoons for salmon and trout for shore anglers or trolling and jigging in 2012 go to