Fish Sniffer On Demand Digital Edition Issue 3905 Feb 14-28 - Page 28
Feb 14 - 28, 2020
VOL.39 • ISS. 5
Rolling Your Own Sturgeon Leaders
ay back in the cave man days
when I had my first job in retail
fishing tackle, one of my more
important duties was that of tying
leaders. I tied striper leaders, snelled
hooks, and constructed sturgeon
leaders. Typical of sturgeon leaders at
the time, these were made by crimping
60 lb. test nylon-coated wire with #5
(Trivia: At the time, everyone
crimped wire with a parallel crimp. I
looked at the crimp and wondered if
the hole could accommodate a re-entry
of the end of the wire. It did, and so I
started tucking in the end of the wire
and “cross crimped” the sleeve. As
far as I know, I was one of the first, if
not the first, to cross crimp sleeves, a
procedure that is now widespread.)
At the time, I asked the boss why we
needed to make leaders out of wire.
He looked me straight in the eye and
said it was because of the teeth. I knew
there and then he didn’t know anything
about sturgeon fishing.
Never having seen a sturgeon, much
less having caught one, I asked around
the customers and apparently, the
wire was there to protect the leader
being cut by the “scutes,” those sharp
buttons along the sides of the fish.
A dear friend’s father, whom we
called “Doc”, was a mighty meaty
sturgeon fisherman and tied all his
leaders with 70 lb. mono. I asked him
about the line being cut by the scutes
and he told me that he caught so many
sturgeon he didn’t have to worry about
losing one or two in the process. This
was back in the day when sturgeon
were plentiful, and were practically
ignored by local fishermen.
I thought a lot about what Doc said,
and through the years I had been
lightening my leader line such that
I was occasionally entertaining the
idea of using 30 lb. stiff leader mono
for sturgeon. Since I was so used to
tying hundreds, if not thousands, of
leaders, it was no big deal for me to
go the “one fish = one leader” route to
keep things in tip top condition. Most
fishermen to this day, dreading tying
knots of any kind, will use a leader
until it practically falls apart then
complain of cheaply made leaders.
This was one of the factors that lead
me to tying my famous “Sturgeon
Death Rigs” with 100 lb. test mono.
The SDR was one of the hottest
sturgeon leaders ever made, but
because it was an involved rig to tie,
came with a premium but fair price.
The effectiveness of the leader was
highlighted when Captain Sean Treacy
caught and released a massive sturgeon
of an estimated fourteen feet long on
an original Red Death leader.
Alas, after a couple of years of
unprecedented success, the Fish &
Game Department made all multiple
fishing and so
rang the death
knell for the
it is still legal
What we have left now in terms of a
legal sturgeon rig is a single barbless
hook leader. It seems like there is little
room for creativity, yet there are still a
number of options to customize your
leader. Next time around, I’ll discuss
hook choices and leader materials.
(Complete instructions for tying
the Sturgeon Death Rig can be found
on YouTube under “Sturgeon Death
CONTINUED FROM PG 25
SALMON • - ROCKFISH
ROCKFISH • - ALBACORE
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with the longer soaks and the decrease in commercial
Half Moon Bay along with Monterery Bay is one of the
best locations to score sand dabs and petrale sole along
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is scheduling these trips depending upon interest and
Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat took a sanddab/
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harbor for limits of Dungeness crab for 13 anglers with
the pots as heavy as 24 crab this week. They also
returned with 233 sanddabs to 11.75 inches.
Out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing, the party boats
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watching trips on Saturdays and Sundays through April.
Dungeness crab are still available from the commercial
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Further north in Pacifica, rock crab along with the
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Perch fishing from the beaches both north and south
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the increased popularity of surf perch fishing due to
CONTINUED ON PG 27
Fish The Delta In Style Aboard
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