The Weakest Link In Your Musky Set-Up

MHM June/July 2019 (Page 22) Have you ever watched an auto race in which a driver seems to be on his way to a sure victory but with a few laps to go his car breaks down and he’s out of the race? When they ask the driver what happened, you often hear him say something to the effect of “a 50-cent part cost us a sure victory.” The same can hold true in musky fishing, only the “50-cent part” is the snap or connector that connects your lure to your leader.
I often preach that the leader is the
most important part of your musky setup and the link between you and your
catch. Let’s take this a step further and
bring it all the way down to that single
connector — your set-up is only as good
as this one small component! You are relying on this small, inexpensive item to
bring you a successful day, week, or season on the water. If you are not going to
take the time to make sure your leader
has the best possible connection, it doesn’t matter how much you have spent on
rods, reels or lures.
at said, there isn’t a fail-proof connection on the market that can guarantee 100 percent reliability, either.
Anything can and will eventually fail if
it is not taken care of properly. It falls on
us as anglers to do everything we can to
prevent a failure from happening.
e most fail-safe connection on the
market is a solid, ring-style connector attached to your leader. e ring connector eliminates the need to open and close
a snap every time you change a lure. e
solid ring connector is very secure but
can have a few drawbacks: 1.) You have
to make sure you have split rings on all
your lures; 2.) You have to have a pair of
split ring pliers handy at all times to
change lures as fast as possible.
e only thing you really need to do
as far as terminal tackle inspection goes
with this set-up is to make sure the ring
hasn’t worn, monitor the tension of your
split rings, and change them as needed
on the lures you use most often. Once
you get used to this method you will
find you can change out lures pretty
quickly without even thinking about it.
Solid rings are the No. 1 way to prevent any sort of connection failure, but
not everyone likes the idea. If you like to
change baits often throughout the day it
probably isn’t for you.
Snaps are the most popular choice for
a leader-to-bait connection. I firmly believe that the genuine Stringease brand
Stay-Lok snap is the best available, but
even then a snap will not last forever and
in most cases will need to be changed.
You want to keep a few things in mind
when inspecting your snaps: 1.) If you
feel the snap getting “spongy,” or easier
to open and close, this means the metal
is fatiguing and you need to change it
sooner rather than later; 2.) When you
see the metal beginning to show signs of
wear from changes in its shape, diameter
or color, again it is time to change it.
e life of a snap varies depending on
your style of fishing, which is determined by how often you switch lures,
which creates wear and tear on the snap.
For some, this might be one fishing trip,
while for others it could be a few trips.
Rick Albers, who owns Chaos Tackle,
helped us determine that you can open
and close a snap before between 150 and
200 times before it will fail. Rick came
to this conclusion after his acquisition of
Shum Shum glide baits. Rick water-tests
each type of the lures he sells, and he
learned that after approximately 150 to
200 changes he would begin to see issues
with the snaps and it was time to change
to a new one.
A nice feature of a Stay-Lok snap is
you can open the snap and thread it off
your leader and feed on a new one without replacing the whole leader. A smart
investment is to purchase a bag of snaps
to keep in the boat or your tackle bag so
you have them available throughout a
trip if needed.
Snap awareness is crucial to maintaining success on the water. Don’t fall into
the trap of ignoring these small, inexpensive components. Don’t get stopped
short of the finish line.

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