Every once in a while a salmon will get away, and it has nothing to do with line quality or a badly set hook but instead the material used in the leader.
Fluorocarbon and super line have all the qualities that make for good leader material, but they are still relatively thin lines that a toothy fish can bite through. One option for some salmon anglers is to try using wire leaders.
The mouth of the salmon
Salmon are predatory fish, and as a result there are always teeth within their mouths that present some risk to a line, in that a really determined fish can chomp through the line if it thinks about it. Most of the time, though, this is not the natural reaction of a hooked salmon, and many lures and bait set ups are designed so that the teeth stay clear of the line.
Salmon in rivers are a different story. As part of the morphology of the spawning salmon, both sexes in the Pacific species will actually grow canine teeth; this may be for fighting or protection purposes, though questions abound. These teeth represent a definite challenge to fresh water anglers, who already are after a very elusive and hard to catch fish.
Using wire leaders made from material such as titanium means that there is still some flex in the line, allowing a natural action for the bait or lure. The significant advantage of a wire leader, of course, is that it is impossible for the salmon to bite through even with the sharp teeth it develops while spawning.
Using wire is not without some downfalls, although most of them are just a matter of preparation. First of all, make sure to check the regulations of the area you will be fishing in to make sure that using wire as leader material is allowed. Don’t assume that just because it was fine in one river or from the shore of the ocean means that you can use wire everywhere; regulations will differ from area to area, and are usually based on sound ecological principles.
The second thing to keep in mind is that wire is not just hard for the teeth of fish to cut through, it’s hard for anything to cut through. You will need something in your tackle box strong enough to get through the wire when you are fashioning a new leader.
Finally, wire is more corrosive than most types of line. Many line manufacturers circumvent this problem by coating the wire used for leaders with nylon. This seals the wire from water and also makes it less visible.
Remember, if a fish snaps your leader he might also cost you a good bait set up and some costly gear. You can reduce the risk of telling about the one that got away by using wire leaders, but remember to check and make sure that this is permitted in the area you will be fishing.