If you troll for Great Lakes salmon & trout you know that the standard set-up that consistently catches fish in deeper water is using downriggers. While downriggers are the standard, especially when salmon are deep in the middle of summer, when Great Lakes anglers deal with early and late (May-June and Aug-Sept), Chinooks, thee fish are cruising in and out of shallower water. When these fish really start to suspend in the water column and start heading into shallower water in preparation for staging in late summer, running a sinking long-line can produce some of the largest Chinooks of the season.
The most popular sinking lines are leadcore and copper. The downside of using these lines is that often you have to run a 200-400′ lead out from the boat to get the spoon or cut-bait rig running somewhere between 30-50′ down. While copper sinks faster, it’s bulkier and can “uncoil” easily on a boat reel when letting line out. Leadcore is more sensitive and has to be handled carefully not to get kinks in it, but it can perform as well as copper.
If you are planning on trying these sinking lines for the first time, make sure you have a large capacity boat reel to facilitate the larger line diameter, and always match the reel with a proper Great Lakes trolling rod designed for sinking lines. Those usually are equipped with roller guides and a roller tip, and/or spring tip to avoid damaging the lines, especially under pressure.