Terminal tackle might be what you need to catch that special fish


I just finished watching a fishing show on television. The professional fishermen were demonstrating how to use a new lure called the Whopper Plopper 90, and they described it as the best thing to catch fish next to the fish hook.  

I watch a number of fishing shows on television, such as Facts of Fishing, In-Fisherman, Hook N’ Look, Bill Dance Outdoors, Fishing Edge, Fishing University and Zona’s Awesome Fishing Show.  

I also read a number of outdoor publications, such as Facts of Fishing, Outdoor Life, Field & Stream, Game & Fish and the River Hills Traveler. I do all of this in order to try and improve my angling skills.  

On each program a new lure is presented and the host demonstrates how to work the lure to achieve maximum affect.  

The one thing that I try to catch is how the lure is attached to the line. They always talk about the fishing line to use — either it be monofilament, fluorocarbon or braid — and how the line will affect the lure’s performance. 

But rarely have I seen how the lure is attached to the fishing line. In order to get a better understanding of how a lure should be attached, I purchased a book by Bob McNally called “Fishermen’s Knots, Fishing Rigs and How to Use Them.”  

After reading and studying the 268 pages of various knots, I was even more confused. For the last seven decades I have purchased a large collection of fishing lures in order to try and improve my angling skills.  

The only problem is that you would need a scuba outfit to view them. They are attached to rocks, tree stumps, old tires, fallen trees and other mysterious debris located in the many rivers and creeks that I have fished in. 

I have come to the conclusion that with all the lures, books, magazines and television programs that I have watched, read or bought… I will not be a Bill Dance or Mark Zona.  

I will just be a person who enjoys the Missouri outdoors and feels lucky to catch a fish every once in a while.

The last seven decades has also developed kinks in some of my physical attributes. My eyesight has required assistance with glasses and the dexterity in my fingers feels like I am doing everything wearing gloves.  

Getting both the eyesight and fingers working together has become a real challenge. Because of this my focus on fishing tackle has changed from buying a $12.99 Whopper Plopper to some inexpensive terminal tackle.    

The first advantage that I found in using these various pieces of terminal tackle is that I can use just one knot to attach these items to my fishing line.  

I use a Palomar Knott, which is easy to tie and it is consistently the strongest knot when compared with other knots.

Snap swivel.

The use of snaps and snap-swivels make it much easier for me to attach lures to my line. They also provide better lure action than a rigid knot and they may help keep the line from fraying at lure-tie points. 

Snaps are great for when I am using a spoon lure or a crankbait lure. 

Any type of lure that wobbles instead of spinning will work best with a snap, because the snap will increase the action of the lure. 

Just make sure the snap is not too big for your lure, as large snaps can dampen the action of smaller lures. I believe that the more hardware you have on your rig, the less likely a fish is to bite.  

Speed clip.

The Norman Speed Clip is one of the easiest snaps to attach a lure to a fishing line. The circular design allows a lure to run true. These Speed Clips are stronger than other snaps and work well with braided lines.

Plus, it takes only one hand to attach these Speed Clips to my lure. I have used Speed Clips for jerkbaits, poppers and topwater baits. 
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They are small enough to not affect the action of suspending and topwater baits. I use a snap-swivel with in-line spinners, or when I use a lure that spins, to help prevent line twist. 

Other reasons why I think that using snaps is a good terminal tackle choice is that it is much safer if the lure I use has a split ring.  

A knot tied directly to the split ring may move around and rub up against the pinch-point of the ring, creating an opportunity to break my line.  

Some of the crankbaits that I use have rough edges on their bills. A snap helps keep the line away from these potential line-breaking points.

Barrel swivel.

Barrel swivels are another one of those terminal tackle items which are not glamorous but can be very important. They have numerous uses and anglers need to know when and why to use swivels.

The barrel swivel is most often used as a line connector. When I tie the two separate sections of line to each end of a swivel with the Palomar Knot, it then allows each section of line to rotate independently of each other.  

I have used barrel swivels when I use a drop shot rig. Barrel swivels are also useful when using fishing baits like weightless flukes, senkos and pre-rigged worms. 

The constant flipping and twirling motion of these baits tend to also cause line twist and cause bad hook sets and unnecessary breakages.  

I may use a two- to four-foot section of line between the barrel swivel and the lure. This ensures the lure is far enough away from the swivel and its natural action is not impeded. 

The use of a barrel swivel also allows me to use two different types of line, if I choose. For example, when fishing a fluke, I may use a braided line as the base line, or the line attached to the fishing reel. 

This allows for longer casts, better accuracy and no-stretch hooksets. For the leader, or the line from the bottom of the barrel swivel to the lure or hook, I will oftentimes use fluorocarbon line.

Fluorocarbon is virtually invisible to fish but is typically stronger than monofilament. With this approach I get the best of both worlds — a finesse rig and a strong setup that is invisible to fish.
Another piece of inexpensive but often overlooked terminal tackle is the split ring. The split ring acts as the loop, letting the hard bait keep its natural action.  

If the hard bait comes with a split ring, I attach my snap or snap-swivel to the ring, depending on the action of the lure that I am using. The split ring is what gives the lure enough room to swim.

Split ring.

Swimming plugs often need split rings at the line-tie, as do sinking glide baits and wakebaits that rely on action beneath the water’s surface. 

Some anglers prefer split rings on lipped and vibrating baits so the bait can oscillate better while being reeled in one direction.  

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