The Benefits of Using a Top Shot
Even if the backing never came off the reel, and would have made no
difference to the capture, if the backing tests over the maximum
line-class strength, the claim is denied. However, it doesn't matter
how the backing tests if it is not connected to the top shot. Some crews
use backing as a filler, covering it up with duct tape so they can use a
large reel with a rapid line retrieval and a smooth drag at light
settings when fishing with light-line classes.
A lot of crews like to pitch
bait these days - pulling teasers and pitching a bait to fish that come
up on them - because the angler gets to see a good bite and is more
involved in hooking the fish. I first saw this method put into action
back in 1968 while working as a mate for Capt. George Bransford. We
called it bait-and-switch after the common, but illegal, retail
marketing practice. Whenever a black marlin smaller than 500 pounds
entered the spread, we'd pull in the bait on the 80-pound line and put
out a bait on 20-pound.
However, trying to pitch a bait and free-spool a fish with an 80- or
130-pound-class reel becomes extremely difficult due to the weight of
the rod and reel and the inertia of the reel's spool when loaded with a
1,000 yards of line. As a result, anglers often try to pitch with
smaller, lighter-weight reels loaded with heavier line classes.
Small reels with customized drag mechanisms provide adequate drag and
are great for hooking fish, but they can't hold enough 130-pound-class
Dacron or monofilament line.