Working with Wire

Wire. The mere sound of it has always put me off. It kinks, the ones that don’t kink are too visible and it’s stiff, almost always killing the action of an otherwise very attractive swimming lure or bait. There are quite a few kinds available for the angler, however, the fact remains; that they are a necessary evil when fishing for fish we collectively call “The Razor Gang.”

The single strand wire is the mainstay, these days, there are predominantly 3 types you can easily find – coffee colored, unfinished stainless, and titanium.

The coffee colored wire has been the standard, while titanium wire has gained a following, it is thinner for the strength it carries making it a bit more stealthy, the main drawback is it’s springiness. It doesn’t kink as much or as fast as standard stainless steel wire the main drawbacks are the cost and the springiness (at least for me) so I stick with the standard and have been perfectly happy using anywhere between a number 7 or a number 10 for my swimming dead baits.

Next in line is the 7strand wire – 7 strands of thinner stainless steel wire twisted together to form a cable. It’s not as stiff single strand wire; the main drawback is the fact that it is more visible. The coated varieties you see in the shelves are made of this type.

They further reduced the stiffness of wire by creating a 49-strand cable, 7 strands of 7-strand wire. Although the most visible type of wire, it is also the most flexible and the easiest to work with. They come uncoated and are usually coffee colored, however there are also some plain stainless versions sold.

I usually work with either a single strand wire or the 49-strand cable since I find the 7 strands too stiff for my liking. This is a personal preference though.

There are also versions of the 49-strand wire you can tie knots with, this variety is great to use on lures because they are almost as flexible as mono.

Not using wire will undoubtedly give you more strikes, the cost of losing a brand spanking new lure or even worse, a really good fish forces you to just bite the bullet, close your eyes and use it. I often use wire when rigging dead baits as swimming baits and putting them in front of smaller lures for trolling or casting when fishing for barracuda and kingfish in the waters of the Gulf.

It’s typical for anglers, both experienced and otherwise, to use up to a meter of wire before their lures or bait. That does work, but when the going gets tough, a shorter piece would work better. I seldom use a length more than 16cm. Over the years, I have found that other than sharks, which tend to roll and wrap the leader around their body which in turn chafes your line with their skin, a trace of 16 centimeters is more than enough protection for toothy fish such as barracuda, narrow barred mackerel (kingfish) and wahoo.

Working with wire is intimidating at first, however, with a little time and practice, you would be able to make your own rigs and you would be able to construct them in a short amount of time.

With the exception of “knotable” wire, different types of wire are fastened in different ways.

Single strand wire, both titanium and regular stainless steel are the most commonly used. Loops are created at the ends to fasten them on to a swivel or lure. There is a special type of way to tie the wire onto itself.

The Haywire Twist and Barrel Roll

The most common method is the haywire twist. There are a lot of videos on how to tie this on youtube,and I advise you to check them out to learn how to tie one correctly. The main drawback of this “knot” is the fact that it is a permanent connection. If you want to change your lure, either you take another lure with some wire pre-attached, or you snip the haywire twist and make another connection after.


Greene Twist
The Greene Twist addresses the main problem of the Haywire Twist. Which is the inability to change your lure, bait or fly once the connection has been made.

The Greene Twist is not as unforgiving. It has for years been used by the commercial fishery off Florida, so it’s really nothing new, just that a lot of people don’t really know about it outside the commercial fishing circles.

Fastening Cable

Stainless steel in 7 strand or 49 strand cables are fastened via crimps, this is true for either coated 7 strand cables or uncoated, my preference lies with the uncoated variety.


Crimps can be bought at tackle shops and they come in different shapes and sizes. The tube type crimps work, but I like the double barrel types, which are a little bit more expensive, but the difference isn’t even a few dirhams each. The double barrel type is easier to work with. Crimps are compressed with a special type of crimper called a “swager” (pronounced swedjer). You can also use an ordinary crimper, but since it crushes the crimp to compress it, it also crushes the wire inside and weakens it.


There are a lot of tutorials online that can help you with wire rigging. It’s another arrow in your fishing quiver that would help you when the razor gang are in town and will save you the frustration of losing your favorite lure or worse, that fish you just hooked up that has a mean set of dentures.


Till next Tide change,



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