Crimps (also called stops) are small metal tubes, usually made out of nickel plated steel or copper, that are used in rig making. They are typically used along with two beads to trap a swivel on line to create a point where hooklengths can be added to a rig body. Despite being relatively cheap, crimps are an important item when it comes to rig making.
Crimps come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes with small black nickel and the softer copper crimps both popular in UK sea fishing. There are also heavier crimps which are designed to be used with wire line and heavy (150lb+) monofilament, which require their own specialist crimping pliers (see below). Using crimps makes rigs stronger, as there are less knots in the rig. It is also much quicker to make rigs using crimps rather than tying dropper knots. It is also much easier to be accurate when making rigs with crimps when it comes to making hooklengths the correct length to meet a bait clip or impact shield.
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How to Use Crimps
Crimps are slid over the line and then gently squeezed in place using special crimping pliers. Crimps only need to be softly pressed into place, and anglers should be careful that when they are constructing rigs they do not press too hard and over tighten crimps as this can damage the line. Furthermore it is also important that crimps are pressed in the centre, as pressing the edge or a crimp into monofilament can cut into the line.
Sea fishing crimps come in a number of different sizes and anglers should ensure that they choose the correct size for the line they are using. The key dimension to look at is the internal diameter (often expressed as ID). Most 60lb breaking strain monofilament which anglers use to make rigs with will be around 0.65 – 0.80mm in diameter, therefore crimps with an ID of around 0.80mm – 0.90mm will be ideal as they will fit over the line, but also crimp tightly and provide a strong and secure hold on the line. Anglers should beware of using crimps which are too large for the line they are using (i.e. crimps with a 1.2mm diameter would be a bad choice on 60lb monofilament) as they would not stay in place and may slide and damage the line when they are under pressure.
In terms of the length of crimps it is mostly down to personal preference. Standard sized crimps may be around 8mm in length. However, mini crimps – which are around 5mm in length are very popular now, with many anglers preferring the smaller streamlined size of this type of crimp.
Many anglers who target large species such as conger eel, tope and other shark species may step up to using very heavy monofilament which is 150 – 200lb breaking strain or even stronger, as many large species have extremely sharp teeth which can bite through weaker monofilament. Alternatively anglers fishing for these species may use wire line. Whether heavy mono or wire line is used very heavy crimps need to be used with these types of line, and specialist crimping pliers are needed to press these heavy crimps into place. However, it is possible to purchase conger eel/tope traces ready made from tackle shops and online retailers which provide large hooks for conger or tope pre-tied and crimped onto heavy monofilament or wire line which saves the angler from having to purchase special crimps and pliers themselves.
Anglers should always use the correct tool to press crimps into place. Pliers used to press crimps into place should always be needle/long nosed and have smooth jaws. Serrated jaws should not be used as these can damage the crimp and the line within it. While some anglers use general purpose pliers from hardware stores (or simply use any old pair of pliers they can find in their garage or garden shed), it is always better to buy specialist crimping pliers which are designed for sea fishing. While there is a wide range of crimping pliers available, there are some extremely cheap and flimsy crimping pliers on the market. It is often worth paying a little extra to ensure that the crimping pliers which are purchased are of sufficient quality. Anglers should also be aware that different crimps can take different amounts of pressure to press securely into place. Copper crimps are often very soft and easy to press, whereas black crimps, especially in the larger sizes, can be harder to press into place.