Are All Spreader Bars Created Equal? – Part 4

Here at Tournament Cable we rig all our spreader bar teaser lines with 150lb test Momoi. Our center lines actually vary – 250lb test Momoi on the Medium Flex Bars, and 300lb test Momoi on the Heavy Flex Bars. But we terminate every center line with a 250lb BB Snap Swivel to make for easy changing of the stingers.

Hooks are always Southern Tuna style.

We rig our larger stinger lures with 600lb test stainless cable inside the skirt, and the smaller stingers with double leader inside the skirt. Chafe gear is applied on all necessary connections.

There are a lot of ways we could cut corners in rigging our spreader bars. But we’d rather do a quality rigging job, and make it count. You don’t put in all that effort and preparation to get out there, only to do a halfhearted job fishing. So we won’t do a halfhearted job making your tackle.
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Rigged with cable.

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Rigged with Double Mono Leader

All bars are balanced in-house and all crimp connection are made with the proper bench-crimping tools. Completed bars are supplied and shipped in a custom storage bag.

All teaser lures and stinger lures are made in the USA.

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Tuna Snack Stingers large and small.

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Tuna Bit Teaser baits.

Are All Spreader Bars Created Equal? – Part 3

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At the present time we offer bars with either 3/32” Medium flex or 1/8” Heavy flex. Both come in various lengths and both in Titanium.

Medium Flex (3/32″) is for lighter teasers baits such as the small Tuna Bits or 9” Shell Squids etc.

The Heavy Flex (1/8″) is for heavier teasers baits, such as large Tuna Bits or the full body 9” squids.

It is important to match the correct flex to the correct baits on your bar. Incorrectly matching will make your bar either bend and tangle, or crab-walk.

If you’d like to check out a video on bar rigging a couple years ago, you can check that out here – http://www.tournamentcable.com/pgs/itemsearch.cfm?itemcat=SBA&itemsubcat=SPB

Are All Spreader Bars Created Equal? – Part 2

Quality is definitely a focal point here at Tournament Cable, and we hope that shows through our products, and the pride we take in them. Continuing on the spreader bar comparison, we’d like to take a little time to compare teaser connections.

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Teaser connections, in theory, can be made of any way you need to. Any port in a storm. Does that make them good connections, or a good idea? No. On this competitor’s bar the end connection is nothing more than a household stainless screw eye crimped on the bar. Is it a connection point? Yes. Is it a good one? You tell me.

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Tournament Cable bars have swivel sleeves tightly crimped as their connection points. These components are specifically designed and made to provide the strongest, sturdiest connection possible for your teaser baits. Yes, any port in a storm works when you’re in a storm. But when you’ve got the time and ability to do it right for just a little extra – do it right.

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And lastly, as a preventative measure to prevent scratching the boat or someone’s eye during the end-game, Tournament Cable presses on vinyl cap protectors. It just makes sense.

Are All Spreader Bars Created Equal? – Part 1

You can’t compare any other spreader bar on the market to a Tournament Cable Spreader Bar. There is simply no comparison. No other bar can even come close when it comes to the quality of the materials and rigging.

Today we’ll talk about hub design – as you can see we have a precision machined hub of stainless steel. Most other bars on the market are either a small piece of plastic with holes drilled in it, or even an egg sinker.

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In the above pictures, the two competitor bars (to the right) show the center line running right through their version of a hub. The line is then crimped on both sides to secure it in place. That would be great, but crimps on a center line weaken and lessen the break strength of the mono of that line. It may seem more efficient, but ultimately it works against you.

In order to maintain connection strength, Tournament Cable spreader bar hubs (on the left) incorporate a 300lb Aussie swivel for the center line connection. Your snap goes right to the head of the hub, and the center line is attached to the Aussie Swivel. That means less lost fish, and a longer lasting bar.

Methods of Lure Rigging

There a few methods to use when creating a stop on the lure leader to correctly position a hook within the skirt. From the simple to the elaborate, you’ve got some options to choose from.

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The first method would be to just lay the hook and leader where you want it and crimp a stop just behind the lure head.

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Similarly, if you want to add beads to the leader just slide them on and again measure where the stop should be crimped onto the leader.

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Another method would be to twist the leader so it forms a double line and crimp it by the head. This will not only correctly position the hook but will also provide extra protection where it’s needed most.

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For light lures you can add an egg weight to the leader as part of the stop along with the leader crimp.

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If the skirt is long enough cable can also be used.

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And for a lure that will have double hooks the measuring process is the same.

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So you’ve got options.  Lots of people have an opinion on which is “better” or “worse.”  You use the one that works best for you.

Let’s Talk Lure Rigging

Where the bend of the hook sits within the skirt of a lure is important. There are a number of rigging options to properly position the hook in a lure, but we’ll chat more about the specifics of that tomorrow, and as you will see some methods are better than others.

There are two options when it comes to positioning the rear hook: having the bend of the hook even with the bottom of the skirt, or having the bend positioned past the skirt somewhat. It is important to note this second position is IGFA legal as long as the point is not exposed.
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And depending on who you talk to, people will say one way is better than the other. I’ve had equal success with both hook positions, so either is fine in my book.

Tomorrow we’ll talk about different ways of rigging lures in the different positions.

 

Needle Eyes and Sharking

Sharking is one of those situations where a needle eye hook is much better than a ring eye for a couple of reasons. First off, there’s no doubt shark teeth will cut right through mono and in some cases cable. Single strand wire leader is definitely preferred for shark fishing for this very reason.

Secondly, there is a small finished connection to the hook with wire-to-a-needle-eye, and that connection is much smaller than with a ring eye. If you’ve ever had a run-off while sharking (and you were sure you set the hook) only to have the line go limp after a very short time, there’s a good sensible explanation for that.

Most likely the rig you were using was made using ring eye hooks. The shark picked up the bait and started to swim away with its mouth closed. When you locked up the reel to set the hook and with the sharks’ mouth closed the ring eye hook was so large it was just banging against the inside of its teeth, preventing the point of the hook from penetrating anything….you thought you had a good hook set but when he opened his mouth the bait and the hook just fell out.

Using a needle eye hook with its much smaller connection would have had a much better chance of going through the rows of teeth and giving you a solid hook set.

Advantages of Needle Eye Hooks – Rigging Ballyhoo

A needle eye hook has an advantage over the ring eye when you’re rigging Ballyhoo due to the smaller eye. A ring eye can at times make it difficult to properly set the hook in between the gill plates because of the size and bulk of the eye, and the leader connection to it. A needle eye hook with wire or cable fits perfectly and makes for a much cleaner rigged bait.
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When can you use Needle Eye Hooks?

So when can you use Needle Eyes? It’s very simple…..Needle Eye hooks can be used in any application you would use a ring eye but it must be rigged with single strand wire or cable, not mono. This can’t be over emphasized.

If you’re rigging natural baits or lures and you think the cable or wire required for the needle eye hook will not in any way take away from the finished bait or lure, then it will be fine. On the other hand if you feel mono is the right choice to go with then a ring eye must be used.

Note: some have asked about the old cedar plugs where the opening for the hook is too small for a ring eye. The only hook that will fit is a needle eye, but they don’t want to use single strand wire for the leader. My answer is to use the mono then, but when you lose the fish it’s all on you.

Tomorrow we’ll talk about some of the advantages of needle eyes over ring eyes.

The Right Leader Material For The Right Type Of Hook

Building off yesterday’s discussion, if you look at the images you’ll notice how perfectly formed the eyes on the Ring Eye hooks are compared to the Needle Eye. The Ring Eye is rounded, very smooth, and large enough to accept multiple leader materials and sizes with or without chafe material.

The eye on Needle Eye on the other hand is much smaller and nowhere near as smooth (this is due to the stamping process). In most cases the eye will actually have sharp edges, and is not large enough to have any chafe material added to the leader.

What this all boils down to is you can rig a ring eye hook with any type of leader material: mono, wire or cable. But, needle eye hooks should never be rigged with anything except single strand wire or cable – never mono, ever. Even single strand wire is preferred over the cable. The edges left on a needle eye hook will very quickly cut any mono, and you’ll lose your fish because of it.

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Ring Eye hooks can and in most cases should have chafe gear added when using mono, but is not necessary with single strand wire or cable.

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Needle Eye hooks should never be rigged with mono.

Now that you know how to select the right leader material, Monday we’ll talk about choosing the right hook for what you’re fishing for.