Thought this might help some new people out as it's probably the most commonly used trace and pretty much all species of fish can be caught on it. It's a trace that can be made with just 1 hook or up to 6 or more depending on where you're fishing and what you can cast, allowing you to have a variety of different baits in the water at the same time.
You will only need to know two knots for this trace and that's the uni knot and the dropper loop knot. The uni knot is optional and there are others you can use. You can find these knots in most fishing books or searching on google/youtube.
In this example I've made a 2 hook ledger and used the following materials:
First tie your swivel using whatever knot you prefer. I've used a uni knot but there are several others you can use.
Create your first dropper loop about 35 - 40cm down from your swivel. Try to make the loop around 14cm when straightened out. Making sure the hooks are far enough apart is important, if they're to close they will get tangled and hook together easily.
Pull the knot tight
Create another loop roughly the same size around 35 - 40cm down from the first.
How long you have between the bottom hook and your sinker can depend on where you're fishing, what you're fishing for and conditions at the time. If there's a lot of crabs around use a longer length. I use a swivel clip so the trace has more movment and wont get tangled so easy, but you can use other clips or tie the line directly to your sinker.
Here is the mostly completed trace just missing the hooks.
Using lumo tubes, beads or anything else on your droppers is completely optional. Lumo materials on traces have been proven to catch more fish at night time and it also provides protection to the dropper loops from sharks teeth etc.
Insert the loop through and then over the hook and pull tight.
Push the lumo tube up over the eye of the hook to hold it in place.
The completed trace
Hook size depends on what you're targetting but 5/0 is a good all rounder. What type of line also can depend on what you're fishing for, use lighter line for smaller fish. For general surfcasting where you're likely to be catching school sharks, dogfish, and other sharks, you're better off with at least 80lb trace material. Using heavier line means your traces will last longer and stand up to more abrasion. One thing to remember is that when you tie knots in your line it can weaken it a lot depending on what knots you use. Although a lot better than a double overhand or similar knot the dropper loop doesn't have a high knot strength and when using lighter trace material such as 50lb or less you could find your traces snapping on the dropper loops if you hook a heavy fish especially after a bit of use. Of course if you're fishing for smaller fish species 50lb is probably more than sufficiant.
Using the dropper loop and not using a knot to connect your hooks means if hooks become rusty or loose their point hooks are easily changed without throwing out the whole trace.
Using swivels on both ends of the trace is really optional as well. Some people just tie a loop on each end, but in cases where fish might roll they are more likely to get tangled.
Ive never had an issue with dropper loops failing ........in fact I use it to join mainline to shock leader , doubling up the mainline and trimming the ends of the drop loop off clean .....hasnt let me down in 15years ..and VERY quick and easy to tie
When making a trace , I like to cut 1 side of the dropper loop off , and use a uni/clinch knot to put the hook on the now single strand ......
Mind you Im not going all out to rip 100 huge fish from the sea like some commercial fisherman ....Im simply after a little sport and a fresh feed ...of quality easting fish ....
If I was chasing something big , or at a comp , sure I'd bulk up and take no chances .......
For kahawai and herring traces I will cut the dropper so it's just a single strand because with the smaller hooks you can't get the doubled line through the eye. Another thing you can do is twist the line opposite ways which makes the line twist together for a twisted dropper loop, advantages of that are it keeps the line together and standing away from the backbone of the trace. As for traces snapping at the droppers I've seen it happen several times for me and other people.
I use this trace for 90% of my fishing, but usually only use one dropper so a single dropper trace, or i shorten things right up and then loop in to the short loop some steel trace for the sharks - works a treat. The only time i have had this system fail is when i caught 1 too many fish on it and where the line is bent slowly weakens and snaps eventually, just need to learn to replace the trace more often.
Not a lot of fishing happens when work gets in the way!
Any opinions on making an extra section on the forum for knots and traces or simple how-to's like this? Would be good to have all threads like this in one place where new members can find them rather than being lost with new threads. Was thinking of doing a few more threads like this.