When it first appeared, flexible, knot-able wire leader material was greeted with skepticism by many anglers. American Fishing Wire’s Surflon series was the first launch and then TyGer came on the scene. Even today, die-hard single strand wire leader fans don’t trust the flex stuff. But let me tell you it works. Though I’ve not had the good fortune to try it on any pike of the size you see pictured here, or the fanged horror of tiger fish whose close-up oral portrait is bound to trigger a cosmetic dentist into paroxysms of joy, I’ve caught any number of sharks, barracuda, bluefish, decent size northerns and more on the stuff.
There are good reasons to use it, too. First off, the old single-strand wire is subject to kinking that drastically reduces strength. A fish that spins near the boat can help start a kink in single strand if you’re not using a swivel. That brings us to the next advantage of multi-strand. Though you can still make connections in it using crimp sleeves and swivels, the ultra-flex wire allows you to tie the material using your favorite knots instead. That means less hardware—meaning less stuff to fail.
The flex wire is thin—some of it thinner than mono per test. It comes in low-viz camo color, too. The nylon coating on this material helps knots cinch up. It also will fray off after a toothsome fish or two is caught, but that’s not going to hurt anything.
The most flexible of all the multi-strand wire is 7x7 or 49 strands. It’s also the most expensive. Slightly less expensive in the American Fishing Wire lineup is 1x19 strand (Surflon Micro Ultra vs. Surflon Micro Supreme, the 7x7). There are other variations within the product offerings of both TyGer and American Fishing Wire.
I like to use flex wire in different strengths for fly-fishing and when using spinning and baitcasting gear, as well as for trolling. Flexibility allows lures and flies to work more freely. However, in some cases with big baits worked aggressively, or when blasted by a fish that doesn’t become hooked, there can be a problem. Lures, especially those with dangling trebles, can fall back on the flexible wire and foul. That’s less of a problem with stiffer single strand. So there’s that one small trade-off.
Giant pike specialists in Europe have really taken to the flexible wire as leader, mainly because natural live or dead baits are used, and especially with the livies, there’s no doubt about limp wire allowing more natural movement of the bait.
If you’ve had some interesting—good or bad—experiences with flexible, multi-strand wire leaders, I’d love to hear. Meanwhile check out the manufacturers’ sites: www.americanfishingwire.com; www.tygerleader.com.