This is a trusty method to tie a braided wire/knottable wire setup, which is especially recommended for Tanzanian tigerfish (Jimmy Eagleton and I also used it with great success to catch our local snoek more recently). These tigers grow surprisingly big for the ‘smallish’ rivers they live in and due to the limited space and many fallen trees, hooked fish are easily lost. However, this trace setup can take a lot of pressure; a drift comes to mind where an estimated 23 lb tigerfish sipped my baitfish pattern right next to the boat and also right on top of two big fallen trees, I applied as much pressure as possible from the hookset onward, forcing the tigerfish to swim into the open, main channel of the river and the brand new fly line parted, and to my surprise not this knottable trace setup (which I would’ve considered the weakest link).

Firstly, it is important to note that specifically 35 lb American Fishing Wire (AFW) Surflon Micro Ultra 19 strand is recommended for Tanzanian tigerfish. I am sure that anglers would get fairly good results with lighter braided wire [like 26 lb American Fishing Wire (AFW) Surflon Micro Ultra 19 strand or 20 lb Rio Wire Bite] and these knots for Zambezi tigerfish and other smaller tigerfish species, like Hydrocynus forskahlii.

The wire will be joined to the monofilament tippet with a slightly modified surgeon’s knot:

Surgeon’s knot as presented by NetKnots.

The wire will be tied to the fly with a slightly modified Lefty’s loop knot:

Lefty Kreh’s loop knot as presented by NetKnots.

Here is the step-by-step pictorial demo of the trace setup:

The components are very straightforward, you need 30 lb Maxima Ultragreen mono, 35 lb AFW Surflon Micro Ultra 19 strand and cutting pliers.


1. Overlap the two tag ends so that you have sufficient line and wire to work with to tie the knot comfortably.


2. Form an overhand loop;


3. Pass both the wire and leader ends on one side of the overhand loop back through the loop;


4. Continue to wrap these free ends through the loop until you’ve done it three times;


5. Wet the nylon and wire and pull tight (you may need pliers to pull it flush – only pull hard enough to set the knot, do not pull so hard that you compromise the nylon);


6. Trim the tag ends with cutters and voila, you have a fairly neat and small nylon/wire join.


7. To tie the fly to the wire trace, tie an overhand knot on the free end of the wire;


8. Pass the tag end through the hook eye and back through the overhand knot the same side it came out;


9. Wrap the tag end only twice above the overhand knot;


10. And pass the tag end through the centre of the overhand knot, again following the way it came out as in step 8;


11. Pull the wire knot tight (carefully) so that it does not damage the plastic coating and trim the tag short with cutters.


A big fallen tree in the Mnyera River, classic tigerfish structure; a hooked fish will typically run straight through those thick branches, a nightmare to angler and guide…


Garreth Coombes with a big Tanzanian tigerfish caught in the Mnyera River – photo by Rob Scott


Rob Scott (left) helping a Tourette Fishing client to revive a Tanzanian tigerfish.


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