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Topic: Bwana's Couta Traces  (Read 12477 times)

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Offline Bwana

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Bwana's Couta Traces
« on: May 04, 2011, 11:24:47 am »


BWANA’S SPECIAL COUTA TRACES – A HOW-TO TUTORIAL


Right guys, so I’ve been playing with a few ideas for couta traces since the off-season and have settled on a design that I am fairly happy with. Now that the couta are around I’ve had an opportunity to test them and can happily say that the results have been great. Fishing quite a few interclub comps with IGFA rules in the 10kg line class has meant that I wanted a reliable live and dead bait trace that caters for 2 singles whilst still offering good hook-up ratios (something singles aren’t famous for!). Characteristics I wanted to create in this trace were:

1)   Standard format for live and dead bait traces, but able to easily swap between bait swimmers, dusters and rear hook trace length
2)   Reliable hook-up ratio
3)   Ease of rigging
4)   Strength
5)   IGFA compliant

A key difference in this system I am using is that the trace uses two power swivels. I first picked up on this idea from an old salt on the North coast last year and have since found a similar rig that George Poveromo discusses on Salt Water Sportsmen’s website in an article on King Mackerel. The second swivel allows a lot more freedom to move and position the rear hook in the bait, and also acts as a direct rotating link between the rear hook trace wire and the leader trace wire – this gives a direct connection when fighting a fish and takes a lot of strain off the rear hook wire during the fight. It also counters the kinking of the wire when the couta shakes its head during the fight.

The other problem I wanted to alleviate is the rear hook pulling into the bait or twisting out of position in the bait when rigged (either alive or dead). This is prevented by using a short piece of heat shrink to effectively stiff rig the rear hook and the haywire twist in front of the rear hook. There is still enough flex in the heat shrink to bend the hook to insert into the bait, but once the hook is placed the stiff rig lies the rear trace wire perfectly along the back of the bait – nice and neat. The rear hook can be pinned on dead bait, or left unpinned on a livey. The heat shrink does not in my experience scare fish off (I use black and most baitfish have a dark back anyway).

Here’s a step-by-step to my basic couta trace using these tricks I've tested. This one is essentially a live-bait trace:

Materials
Leading hook = 1 x 1/0 Mustad Hoodlum / VMC Live Bait Hook or Bandit S/Shank hook
Rear Hook = 1 x 4/0 Mustad Big Gun
Leader wire = #6 single strand (bronzed),
Rear hook wire = #7 single strand (or heavier if fishing croc country) 
Swivels = 2 x #8 Centro power swivels (80lb rated)
10mm section of 4mm or 5mm heat shrink

« Last Edit: May 04, 2011, 11:33:55 am by Bwana »

Offline Bwana

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Re: Bwana's Couta Traces
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2011, 11:25:52 am »
Step 1
Cut a 60cm piece of #6 leader wire. Using cur clip pliers, make a nice neat haywire twist to the #8 power swivel. Put this wire aside until later.



Offline Bwana

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Re: Bwana's Couta Traces
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2011, 11:27:03 am »
Step 2
Cut a 25cm piece of #7 trace wire. Attach the 4/0 rear hook to this trace with a haywire twist. Attach a power swivel to the other end of the rear hook trace with a haywire twist. You will now have a rear hook trace with a swivel at one end and the hook at the other. The beauty of this is that you can make up several of these of different lengths for different sized baits and store them in your tackle box for quick changes onto the leader wire.



Offline Bwana

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Re: Bwana's Couta Traces
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2011, 11:28:05 am »
Step 3
Now take the leader wire you made earlier. (Optional step - add a glow bead or duster if you want). Next make a neat loop for attaching the leading hook and rear hook trace’s swivel. Thread on the leading hook first so that it is sitting point up, next thread the swivel onto the leader wire so that the swivel is on top of the leading hook. Complete the haywire twist. Feel how easily the rear hook rotates and how easy it is to position the rear hook.


Offline Bwana

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Re: Bwana's Couta Traces
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2011, 11:29:05 am »
Step 4
Complete the rig by sliding the heat-shrink onto the rear hook, covering the eye and part of the haywire twist. Heat it so it settles nicely over the two. Once cooled off flex the hook inside the heat shrink a couple of times to aid in positioning in the bait later.



Offline Bwana

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Re: Bwana's Couta Traces
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2011, 11:30:04 am »
You now have a completed live bait trace.


Offline Bwana

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Re: Bwana's Couta Traces
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2011, 11:31:00 am »
For a dead-bait drift trace I only add a duster or plastic skirt of my choice. I prefer pearl, pink or purple-over-pearl.



Offline Bwana

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Re: Bwana's Couta Traces
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2011, 11:31:55 am »
For a bait swimmer trace for dead-bait I replace the leading hook with a lollipop bait swimmer or homemade bait swimmer using a short shank hook, copper rigging wire and a barrel sinker.


Offline Bwana

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Re: Bwana's Couta Traces
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2011, 11:33:15 am »
When fishing these traces I usually use a very light drag setting with the ratchet on. The fish will strike the bait against the light drag and usually swallow or bite down on the rear hook and most of the hook-ups I have are in the palate, tongue or scissors of the fish. I only increase my drag slightly when the fish runs once hooked. Occasionally you will hook the fish in the mouth with the smaller leading hook or the bait swimmer hook and in these cases the free swinging rear single normally hooks up somewhere on the side of the fish.

Give it a try guys and remember – don’t be scared of singles - once hooked up you have a lot of control and confidence in the hook-up. That’s my 2c worth hope it can help you guys and hope it gets you a few fish in IGFA comps.

Cheers

Bwana


Offline WalkersKiller

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Re: Bwana's Couta Traces
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2011, 11:34:34 am »
Superb post Bwana cred to you  :tkx: :uarocks

Offline John F

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Re: Bwana's Couta Traces
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2011, 11:37:32 am »
+ cred!

Great stuff...
A question... on live baits do you ever lost a bait (...from unhooking itself)? I did, so I turned to bait clips on the upper jaw only....

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Offline Bwana

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Re: Bwana's Couta Traces
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2011, 11:42:26 am »
John F,

 :tkx:

I haven't had that happen to me before (yet!), but I do prefer to hook the leading hook through the livey's nostrils instead of in the top jaw - it is secure and doesn't seem to harm the fish's breathing as much as through the top jaw. Regarding IGFA clips I do use them on bigger baits (e.g bonnies) where I want two hooks positioned further back in the bait.

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Re: Bwana's Couta Traces
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2011, 11:45:09 am »
Great post Mark. Cred to you bud!

Offline Cam Mundy

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Re: Bwana's Couta Traces
« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2011, 11:51:52 am »
That second swivel is a stroke of genuis  :happ:

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Re: Bwana's Couta Traces
« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2011, 12:03:40 pm »
Very nice trace!

Offline REEFMAN

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Re: Bwana's Couta Traces
« Reply #15 on: May 04, 2011, 12:55:08 pm »
Brilliant! Nicely presented too...  (clap) +cred

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Offline Big Van Jnr

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Re: Bwana's Couta Traces
« Reply #16 on: May 04, 2011, 03:56:28 pm »
Brilliant Tutorial!

It made me sommer lus to make a few of them Couta traces...

Excellent Presentation and easy to understand..  (clap)
Thanks Mark

Offline cyclone 123

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Re: Bwana's Couta Traces
« Reply #17 on: May 04, 2011, 05:48:16 pm »
 very nice how was the mapelane trip

Offline Bwana

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Re: Bwana's Couta Traces
« Reply #18 on: May 04, 2011, 07:25:48 pm »
Hi George

Yes it was ok, very difficult conditions - cold  green water and not many fish but we managed a couple of couta and snoek so it was worthwhile. Thanks for all your help with updates on the conditions and whereabouts of the hot spots  :tkx:

Cheers

Bwana

Offline shagnrelease

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Re: Bwana's Couta Traces
« Reply #19 on: May 04, 2011, 08:12:48 pm »
Fantastic Mark, Thanks Bud.