While there are a huge number of weak link releases available to the UK angler the three most popular types are the generic weak link clip (made by a number of manufacturers), Breakaway’s Escape Links and Gemini’s Breakers. All of them have the same aim – to allow a cast to be performed safely, but then allow the rig (and any hooked fish) to be reeled in if the rig becomes snagged. Most anglers fishing rough and rocky ground will utilise some form of weak link release clip to reduce tackle losses.
Weak Link Clip
The simple, weak link clip is a generic design made by a number of manufacturers. It simply consists of a U-shaped metal clip with a circle at the top where the line is attached. Rigs featuring weak link clips allow the weight to detach from the rig if it becomes snagged, allowing the rest of the rig (and any hooked fish) to be reeled in.
Simple bait clips need to be used in conjunction with a short length of weak monofilament line (usually 10 – 15lbs breaking strain). This is used to attach the weight to the rig. The weight is then placed into the clip (as shown in Fig 1). The cast can then be performed as gravity will hold the weight in place and the rig can be cast out safely. On hitting the water the weight will fall out of the clip, meaning that only the weak link of monofilament will attach the clip to the rig (Fig 2) and this will easily snap when a snag is encountered and the rest of the rig can be retrieved.
While the weak link clip is simple and effective it is not the safest of designs, as the weight can easily fall out of the clip just before or even during the cast. For this reason only very simple, short-distance casts should be performed when using this type of weak link release, and never power or pendulum cast. For most anglers fishing from snaggy rock marks this is not usually a problem as deep water is often close by and only short, simple casts are needed. Sea Angling Shop sells Cronus Weak Link Releases in packets of either ten or twenty-five – click here to purchase.
Breakaway Escape Link
The Breakaway Escape Link is more advanced – although more expensive – form of weak link release. Escape links are ‘locked down’ prior to casting meaning the weight cannot fall out before or during the cast, but when they open on impact with the water the weight can come out of the link if it becomes snagged.
The Escape Link works like this:
1. The weight is placed into the clip and the plastic lock is moved down to secure the weight in place.
2. On hitting the surface of the water the plastic lock is pushed upwards and off the metal body.
3. The weight is still securely attached to the body of the Escape Link and can be reeled in if no snags are encountered.
4. If the weight does become snagged and the angler begins to pull the weight will eventually break free from the clip, allowing the rest of the rig (and any fish) to be reeled in.
Breakaway Escape Links are adjustable as the point which slips out of the main body of the clip can be bent to change the amount of pressure that is needed to release the snagged weight. The Breakaway Escape Link is designed to be used without a monofilament weak link being needed.
Gemini Genie Breakers
Gemini Genie Breakers are seen by many anglers as the best weak link release available today. Like Breakaway’s Escape Link they are closed prior to casting meaning that the weight cannot fall out accidentally during casting.
They work like this:
1. The weight is placed inside of the arm of the Breaker which is then closed and the plastic lock moved downwards into place.
2. A weak link of 10 – 15lbs breaking strain must be used to attach the weight to the Breaker.
3. On hitting the water the plastic lock will be forced upwards and off the metal clip. The arm will then open and the weight will be released (although still attached by the monofilament weak link).
4. If a snag is encountered the weight will easily become detached as the weak link of monofilament will snap. The rest of the rig can then be reeled in. If no snags are encountered then the weak link will allow the weight to be recovered. Buy Gemini Breakers from Amazon by clicking here.
Although Escape Links and Breakers may sound complicated the pictures above show that their operation is actually very simple, and the use of weak link releases such as these certainly saves anglers a lot of money in lost rigs if anglers are fishing marks where snags are encountered.
Safety Issues with Weak Link Releases
With simple weak link clips it is very important that only the simplest of short-range overhead casts are used, as there is always the risk that the weight will slip out of the clip just before or during the cast, resulting in the weight snapping off. The fact that the Breakaway Escape Link and Gemini Breaker can be locked down prior to casting means that they are much more secure and more powerful overhead casts and off the ground casts can be performed confidently, but many anglers still avoid power casting and full pendulum casts when using any form of weak link releases. A further safety point is that anglers must remember to put the plastic lock back into its locked down position every time the rig is reeled in when using both the Gemini Breaker and Breakaway’s Escape Link as failure to do this will see the weight snapping off with obvious safety implications.