Top charter skipper Tony Parry shares one of his winning ‘tweaks’ to an established rig.




Tope traces always cause a bit of controversy, and it’s right at the sharp end that arguments occur!

I’m very much in the mono traces camp where tope traces are concerned. I know that wire traces are still popular, but my preference is for mono – in my experience if you use a top-quality abrasion-resistant mono you don’t get any problems.

If you prefer to wire it’s easy to rig up some short 18in wire hooklengths that can be tied onto the long mono trace by using another swivel, but here I’m going to show you my preferred design, which uses heavy mono.

My preference is 150lb mono as this is less stiff than the 250lb I use for congers and gives better presentation – again, better-quality line is also more supple so it’s worth paying the extra.

Like my conger trace, the tope trace has two components, a lead link trace and a hook trace.

This allows the use of two heavy-duty crane swivels to help prevent tope rolling on the trace, which can be a problem with these hard-fighting fish

By having a separate hook trace you can quickly clip on another hooklength if one shows signs of wear from the sharp teeth of tope. I always advise changing the hook length after every take – even if the fish wasn’t landed.

An important element of this trace is the length. I make mine around eight feet long to protect the main line from abrasion against the tope’s rough skin. This is very important.



150lb clear mono line

2 x large beads

2 x size 6/0 crane swivels

2 x Breakaway Fastlink clips

1 x Zip slider body

1 x Sakuma Manta Extra hook size 8/0


Build sequence


IMG 5751 Tope trace how to 1
Take eight feet of 150lb mono and tie on the 6/0 crane swivel.


IMG 5752 Tope Trace rig 2
At the opposite end tie on the Sakuma Manta Extra hook.


IMG 5753 Tope Trace rig 3
Take a Zip slider and replace the lead clip with a Breakaway Fastlink clip.


IMG 5754 tope trace rig 4
Take one foot of 250lb mono and tie on a Breakaway Fastlink clip.


IMG 5755 tope trace rig 5
Slide on a bead, the Zip slider and another bead.


IMG 5756 tope trace rig 6
Tie on a 6/0 crane swivel at the free end.


IMG 5750 tope trace rig 7
Clip the hook trace to the lead link line.


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