Wiring a Surface Iron

wahoo_wireWire is used extensively in other parts of the world that has toothy critters galore, but even our toothiest local critter, the Pacific barracuda, isn’t worthy of a short section of wire. Their teeth just aren’t that bad. So why talk about it?

Well you see there is a little wire trick that can get certain surface irons swimming way better than they would with just straight tied mono.

“Most people see me tie on a jig with wire and ask ‘what are we going to do, catch barracuda?’” says Danny Wade, one of, if not the best surface iron fisherman in Southern California. “I just tell them no, we’re going to catch yellows.”

Sound weird? Well hopefully it won’t by the time you’re done reading.

First a little history. Supposedly when cattle boats really deserved the name, monofilament was stiff and rigid. In order to get their jigs to swim better the iron fishermen in the ‘50s and ‘60s would use a 2- to 3-foot section of Beecham wire to give their jigs a little kick when fishing for yellows, especially at the Coronados.

Well, 50 years later we have way better monofilament, but the yellows are still the same. Having a good-swimming jig is the best way to fool them at times. And there are certain jigs that swim better with a section of wire.
“I’m a real Candy Bar (which are once again being made by Tady with the original molds from the Manning Family that started the company in the ‘50s), Dart Special Salas and Baby 5X [Salas] wire type of guy,” says Wade. “Those jigs just swim really good with some wire on ‘em.”

While it might sound strange, it makes sense.

“It creates another pivot point. The ring isn’t stationary. It’s almost like a U joint,” says Wade. “It gives some of those jigs a better kick sometimes.”

You see, every jig swims different. It’s about hips, edges— the way they’re sanded— amongst other things.

Most people are familiar with the old Candy Bars. The Starman 112 Candy Bars that Tady is putting out are from the original molds as mentioned earlier, and are essentially the same jigs as the originals except for the colors. Jim and Joey Shimuzu at Tady have some pretty flash paint jobs going on with the new jigs, aside from the classics like mint and blue and white.

Just like the originals, Wade believes they (the Candy Bar Starman 112) sometimes kick while in their pattern better with a section of wire. They’re from the same molds as the ones from the ‘50s after all.

Some may have never heard of the Salas Dart Special. It’s based off the old Bartender surface iron that this writer would pay a pretty penny for. They’re a hell of a jig, as is the Baby 5X that Wade also wires up at times. It’s smaller than the Salas 7X (which, just like a Tady 45, Wade never wires up). There are times when the yellows really want a smaller jig like the Baby 5X, Tady C, or something really small like a Tady A1 (which have also been re-released fairly recently) or AA (which are no longer on the market). But that’s another column in its own right. Let’s just say that small jigs, if you can cast them, are absolute killers until next time.

All you need to wire up some jigs is a roughly 2 1/2-foot section of single strand wire and a small ring to tie the main line on to. Use a haywire twist to attach the wire to both the ring on the iron as well as the ring that your mono will be tied to. Be sure to use a small ring. It’s that easy.

So who is this Wade guy anyway?

When I worked on the Producer in the mid ‘90s Wade fished the islands on the rig a lot. This was before the albacore showed up again. We were fishing the islands into July back then.

Ray Sobieck, who was one heck of a jig fisherman himself, always told me that Danny was the best jig fisherman he’s ever seen. In the seasons to follow I continued to work on the boats and never saw a better jig fisherman amongst both crew members and passengers.

Just to put the statement in context, I did some paperwork to renew my Captain’s License the other day. It worked out to over 1,200 days on the water as a crewmember, which really isn’t squat compared to most seasoned crew members down in San Diego. After being a deckhand in the ‘60s Sobieck ran the Producer boats for over 30 years before retiring a few years back. His belief that Wade is the best really means something.

Wade’s name popped up when I was talking to Jim Shimuzu at Tady the other day. He said Wade, along with others like Buzz from the Prowler, Allan from the El Capitan (he also owned the Pronto for what seemed like forever) and Larry from the H&M office are the last of the “old school” iron guys. He said Wade is probably the best stick of any non-crew members/boat owners.

You see, it’s not just about casting. It’s about reading the water. And, maybe more importantly, picking out a good swimming jig. No two Tady or Salas jigs are the same due to each jig getting sanded down by human hands. The “imperfections” are really perfections. It’s what makes the jigs!

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