Help me understand wind-on’s / top shots

jimikinz

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I’m jumping back into the LR game after a long hiatus. I have always paid some attention what’s going on, and fished other stuff, but the nitty-gritty of big-fish fishing is a little murky. I’m asking mostly as it relates to big gear.

I have an 8-day and a 16-day scheduled in the next 18 months. I have plenty of time to get this figured out, but I’m super dorky about planning and learning new techniques, so….

Re: wind-on leaders and top shot strategy for long trips:
- long top shots or short top shots?
- I assume wind-on leaders preferred over mono/fluoro tied to the braid?
- braid to mono to fluoro? How much of each? Do you do that?
- just braid to short fluoro? When?

Any help would be appreciated. I’m excited about all this!
 

AKSalmon

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    Sold my Parker. You can find me on the Red Rooster.
    You'll get lots of answers. Personally, I just tie a short (10 - 15 ft) fluorocarbon top shot directly to my braid with an RP knot. It works for me. Many people prefer wind ons which they loop connect to a loop in their hollow spectra. Some people use a mono top shot and attach a short fluorocarbon leader. Some people use only mono thinking fluorocarbon doesn't matter. Try this: Get a few spools of fluorocarbon leader, fill your reels with spectra, and have the deckhands make your connection and show you how it's done.
     
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    Soda Pop

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    I don't make them I just call Basil and leave it to him. Zero failure and customer service is the best.
    .........................................................................................................................................................................

    Basil Pappas

    BHP Tackle, Inc.
    73 Norma Road
    Harrington Park, NJ 07640

    Shop: 201-767-9028

    iPhone: 201-835-5887

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    Scold

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    The answer to your question, like with many things in life, is “it depends”. If I’m fishing at night in some heavier weather, I like to have some mono on my reel and only about 6’ of flouro at the end for abrasion resistance. The mono is going to give me some cushion since it has about 25-30% stretch. Conversely, if I’m fishing during a scratchy bite with shitty bait in calmer weather, I’ll tie about 8’ of flouro right to my braid. That will be easier for the bait drag through the water.

    Get some flouro, get some mono, befriend the deckhands and ask their opinion on how to set it up when you get close to the fishing grounds.
     
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    Scold

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    Or just do as @Soda Pop said and buy a bunch of 25’ wind ons from Basil. I have been on the internet and have been involved in fishing forums for about 25 years and I have never seen or even heard of one of his wind ons failing. Put it like this, in a couple years I’m going to be treating myself to a trip to PEI to fish for (hopefully) a 1000lb BFT on stand up gear. I will, 10000000%, be using a Basil wind on.
     
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    Soda Pop

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    Or just do as @Soda Pop said and buy a bunch of 25’ wind ons from Basil. I have been on the internet and have been involved in fishing forums for about 25 years and I have never seen or even heard of one of his wind ons failing. Put it like this, in a couple years I’m going to be treating myself to a trip to PEI to fish for (hopefully) a 1000lb BFT on stand up gear. I will, 10000000%, be using a Basil wind on.
    I was looking at those trips. I don't want to fight a 1,000 bluefin but I sure want to feed them and record them underwater
     
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    jimikinz

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    Thanks guys. That’s all good info. I think you are right: come prepared for everything and use my first trip to come up the learning curve.

    What I’m not seeing mentioned is long sections of mono - 100 yard scale - on top of the braid. Is that accurate?
     
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    Deadlift500

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    If it helps I caught a 180lb bluefin on the Indy earlier this month with 100lb braid tied directly to a jig that came with a 3 foot leader with a swivel.

    I’ve also caught plenty of fish over the years on straight mono including some big ones.

    I think less knots and simpler is the way to go.
     
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    RichG

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    You will see less long mono top shots these days. Other than trolling or fishing 40 pound. Many are using 6 to 8 feet of Fluro to braid. Personally I use about 20 feet of Fluro. It will get shorter as you retie. Ask the crew. They are up to date.
     
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    andrewr

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    First, ask the deckhands. They fish every day and can give you the most up to date intel.

    My own preference is braid to 100 ft of mono to 3-4' fluoro. Of course I have skipped the fluoro, gone with braid to mono and not noticed a difference. So who knows. Experiment and find your own groove.

    Not a wind on fan. Seems to be an added complication and not worth the effort.
     
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    harddrive

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    On one trip, I was arming my buddy who didn't have anything and I ended up using all my wind-on loop to loop from all the sharks. Then I just started to use the Tony Pena or Bob Sands knot for up to 130 and worked well.

    FG knot is another option.

    For anything over 130 you have to use the wind on loop the loop.
     
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    Guyster

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    I’m jumping back into the LR game after a long hiatus. I have always paid some attention what’s going on, and fished other stuff, but the nitty-gritty of big-fish fishing is a little murky. I’m asking mostly as it relates to big gear.

    I have an 8-day and a 16-day scheduled in the next 18 months. I have plenty of time to get this figured out, but I’m super dorky about planning and learning new techniques, so….

    Re: wind-on leaders and top shot strategy for long trips:
    - long top shots or short top shots?
    - I assume wind-on leaders preferred over mono/fluoro tied to the braid?
    - braid to mono to fluoro? How much of each? Do you do that?
    - just braid to short fluoro? When?

    Any help would be appreciated. I’m excited about all this!
    I have made a thousand wind on’s over the years. I personally like loop to loop and the only knot is at the hook. It is very easy for my kids to replace the wind on’s themselves. I make them in the off season because when I go in the water I want everything to be 100% sano. I have never liked the “seems like it will hold” philosophy. I fish all fluoro topshots about 18’ in length. Unless there are a bunch of sharks around, then I will use mono.
     
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    ChicoBob

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    Braid to 20 ft or so of fluorocarbon tied via FG knot for all line classes. Usually get a couple days of hard fishing before having to tie on a new one. I do use mono for night jigging and dropper loop, 50 feet and same FG connection. I have had 0 failures over many years with the FG.
     
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    Yellowtail Dan

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    I don't make them I just call Basil and leave it to him. Zero failure and customer service is the best.

    I fish 25ft FC wind-on leaders on most of my rigs and then have a couple where I fish solid spectra to short FC top shots for places like the Lupe or when a bite gets tough.
    .........................................................................................................................................................................

    Basil Pappas

    BHP Tackle, Inc.
    73 Norma Road
    Harrington Park, NJ 07640

    Shop: 201-767-9028

    iPhone: 201-835-5887

    img_main.jpg

    I'll second this one, I loaded up on Blackwater wind-on leaders from Basil and had him fill several of my Maks with spectra. Good guy and as Soda said his product and customer service are top notch
     
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    GaffnLaff

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    I suggest long mono leaders for sinker rigs, dropper loops, and any terminal connection that uses lots of leader up.
    Short mono or flouro leaders on live bait and trolling rigs.
    For me FG knot is hard to learn (lots of practice), but works excellent for 40# and up.
    RP knot is fast, easy to learn, and ideal for lighter line (had it come undone on 50#) doesn't go thru the guides as well.
     
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    Scott McPherson

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    There are a lot of good options out there. I’ve found being able to adapt to the situation is of most importance. I use the FG knot for this reason. This is a strong knot that can cast easily if you need a long leader. If you need a long or short leader you can change it easily. If you get in a tangle and your spectre is messed up. Cut it out retie a new leader and your back in the game. The deckhands can help you of course but if the bite is hot maybe not. Cut it tie it cast it. Plus this knot costs zero dollars to produce. Just learn it practice it and go fishing.
    Regards
    Scott
     
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    LEGALWISE

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    I don't make them I just call Basil and leave it to him. Zero failure and customer service is the best.
    .........................................................................................................................................................................

    Basil Pappas

    BHP Tackle, Inc.
    73 Norma Road
    Harrington Park, NJ 07640

    Shop: 201-767-9028

    iPhone: 201-835-5887

    img_main.jpg
    One hundred percent agree. For bigger fish, use hollow spectra with a loop spliced at the end. Then order 25 foot, my preference, fluoro top shots from Basil. Loop to loop connection is easy Peezy, stronger than a knot and Basil‘s top shots never fail. Plus, the cost of his top shots are not that much more expensive than the cost of the fluorocarbon itself. When you land that monster when everyone else is breaking off you will know you did the right thing. Welcome back.
     
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    Mendomike

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    One thing I would like to add. Each boat and crew have their favorite knots/set ups. I have learned that no matter what you learn on shore the crew has strong opinions on what’s a best practice. Contact the boats office and ask what their preferences are. The crew may be be a little more willing to help if it’s set ups they prefer.

    It’s frustrating when you like a set up/knot, master it and the crew members tell you why it sucks.
     
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    pukahd

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    I made a bunch of 60’ length loop to loop top shots with double locks for a friend who wanted 60-100# mono top shots. With the right tools, it’s pretty simple.

    Quick to change out and only 1 knot at the hook to worry about.

    744C62A6-02AA-42A4-915C-827E8AFBD860.jpeg
     
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    falconer

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    I suggest long mono leaders for sinker rigs, dropper loops, and any terminal connection that uses lots of leader up.
    Short mono or flouro leaders on live bait and trolling rigs.
    For me FG knot is hard to learn (lots of practice), but works excellent for 40# and up.
    RP knot is fast, easy to learn, and ideal for lighter line (had it come undone on 50#) doesn't go thru the guides as well.
    FG is a great knot, super slim and strong. I tie 15-16 foot flouro leaders to braid with it, in a method I learned from a guy on Youtube. You don't need tension or tools, but a couple pieces of dowell are nice for tightening. I've gotten to where I can tie a good FG knot even on really light freshwater stuff like 10# and 6# flouro

    Like everyone else I have Basil's wind ons on my 100# setup, a Penn 16 VSX which has been through Cal's shop, including adding a Tib T Bar handle. Reel is on a UC Viper I wrapped as a rail rod.
     
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    TOTW

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    Hey Jim!

    I’m sure you knew opinions would be all over the place when you asked, lol. Here’s another few for what they’re worth. Most everyone’s approach and technique have evolved in the last dozen or so years. I’d say this is both from better technology and refinement of application.

    I’ve probably made my way through all of the methods you listed to eventually land on my current preference which is straight solid braid to a fluoro leader. This allows me to go up and down line sizes quickly without having to worry about changing an entire length of mono in between. Although I’d never do this, in principle, I could fish the entire range of a rod’s rating and get away with three bait setups. Still, I can go up or down a line class on any combo with ease. To join the braid to leader, I use the FG. Many love that modified Albright/RP, but I’ve seen too many failures and just don’t like how it feels going through the guides.

    Fishing this way, you have to be okay with the feel of braid in your hands all day (stretch tape, gloves, etc. help). And many crews would rather you have some amount of cushion in the chain so there’s that, too.

    I know you’re a bit of a trek from the beach, but I think you’d really be able to narrow down what’s going to work best for you guys with a few hours of trying a few different methods out.
     
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    jimikinz

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    Yah that’s a good take Chris.

    We’re actually here in town and went on a full day yesterday. I fished braid to 8 or 10 feet of fluoro. It definitely fished different than the old days. I could imagine the pros/cons on big gear.

    I used the RP knot with 50# braid / 30# fluoro. I didn’t have any failures after 9 yellows. Is that knot more difficult to tie in heavier line? It is nice being able to change effective line-class with a small leader change.

    I assume you can’t tie knots in hollow braid? If you had solid, you could tie a Bimini and then run a wind-on if you had too?
     
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    TOTW

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    Yah that’s a good take Chris.

    We’re actually here in town and went on a full day yesterday. I fished braid to 8 or 10 feet of fluoro. It definitely fished different than the old days. I could imagine the pros/cons on big gear.

    I used the RP knot with 50# braid / 30# fluoro. I didn’t have any failures after 9 yellows. Is that knot more difficult to tie in heavier line? It is nice being able to change effective line-class with a small leader change.

    I assume you can’t tie knots in hollow braid? If you had solid, you could tie a Bimini and then run a wind-on if you had too?
    Nice! Sounds like you hammered ‘em!

    As you go up in line size, the RP gets pretty bulky since the leader is folded over and doubles the line diameter.

    You can definitely do the Bimini for loop to loop. And tying hollow is no problem, either.
     
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