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Shark Slider’s



 This enormous blue was released by Penn angler Rob Wyatt and was estimated at well over 220lbs!

 

This year I am hoping to get out for more than just an odd session fishing for Blue and Porbeagle shark. With that in mind I decided to start rigging my wind-on leaders, traces and floats for the summer. I must admit that I have never been a big fan of using balloons to support any type of bait and it was my floats that got the first attention.

What do I not like about them?

Whether you are in pursuit of tuna, shark or broadbill they seem to me a step backwards?

They are adjustable only in as much as how much you inflate them. If you increase bait size or add weight down the line to suit sea conditions then they are never at an optimal size. They are best fixed to the line and are therefore not instantly adjustable should you wish to set a bait at a different depth. Some have a habit of deflating during the course of the day which can lead to problems in supporting your bait or being visible in the sea. Invariably you store some in your tackle box and they are perished next time you need one. That said they are used by countless anglers world-wide without it would seem too many problems.

So why change? I think my replacement is far better.

Several years back I started to try plastic drinking bottles as a float when chasing Bluefin tuna in the Med or Adriatic. The locals used small clear bottles with perhaps just the tops painted to support their sardine baits. With very clear water and a fish (tuna) with superb eyesight you had a float that was both transparent and sensitive (you alter the sensitivity of it to give minimal resistance to a taking fish by adding or subtracting water to and from the bottle). They remained constant during the fishing day and could be rigged to adjust in several ways.

Last year I fished with Mike Thrussell and Penn tackle developer Rob Wyatt for shark aboard the boat ‘Sea Angler 2’ out of Plymouth. It was an end of season trip and the weather was anything but kind to us. Both Mike and Rob used bottles in place of balloons. Mike fixed his neatly with a short length of telecom’s wire. It gave you the option to change depth and remove the float quickly if needed. Both their bottles were of the clear drinking water type with coloured tape around the top. They worked fine but during the winter I think that I have found a better bottle (or my son did).

My youngest Jack likes to drink most types of fruit juice and there are several drink manufacturers that package their fruit drinks in brightly coloured bottles. The Apple usually comes in a bright green, Strawberry in a bright red, orange in bright orange and Blackcurrent comes in a strong purple colour.

These bottles are highly visible, as floats they are adjustable (just add water) and with different colours to differentiate rods and depths! In terms of fixing them to the line I decided to create a slider attachment with a small swivel attached to a short stiffened length of hollow braid.

Everything you need to make a quick and highly effective shark float. Bottle, Hollow braid/dacron, Small swivels, Waterproof Superglue, Small diameter heatshrink, Threader (this one is a fly tying tool and also has a needle point on the opposite end.

Creating the loop. First thread on the heat shrink and swivel. Pass threader up the braid and pull tag end back through inside.

I used the same method to create a braid loop as I do for wind-on leaders and assist hooks (I did a blog on assist hooks where you can see the process step by step). You can stiffen the braid by running a few drops of super glue down it. The glue is absorbed and this makes for a great stiff link. Push a small hole in the bottle top with a needle and thread the braid through this.

Braid Stiff link – showing swivel pulled tight. We are now making the hole in bottle top to pass link through.

Knot it off inside and add another spot of superglue to make it permanently fixed and waterproof. The final part was to place a short length of heat shrink over the swivel to help prevent tangles.


Finished Stiff links – Cap removed on one to show how easy it is to change your float colour or damaged ‘float’

I will stop the float at the required depth with a stop knot tied from powergum or an elastic band. Should the float tangle for some reason you can snip the braid without touching the mainline, wind the small swivel onto the reel and sort out after the fish has been released. If one gets damaged or crushed just screw it off the top and replace it.

Next on my list are wind-on leaders and hook traces. Both will be far removed from what are considered the normal shark traces to use. These are for another day and blog.

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