Home / How to Sea Fish / Tackle / Understanding Fishing Booms

Understanding Fishing Booms


Too many anglers spend a good part of their day afloat untangling tackle instead of fishing. This is hardly cost effective when you weigh up the cost of the trip against actual time with baits properly presented on the seabed. Those of you who fall into this category should look towards booms as a possible solution.

The smaller single finger booms aren’t often seen on boats, but they are excellent for fishing a two or three hook rig mounted with droppers off a single length of mono. This can be up to 6ft long for whiting fishing in the winter, or down to only 18ins for dabs, gurnards, dogs and the like in the summer.

Single finger booms are also useful for keeping single hook baits above a rocky bottom, or over the top of lifting weed as when fishing for black bream over shallow reefs. Consider them when fishing for wrasse on the drift too.

Several types aimed mainly at shore anglers suit the purpose.

Avis booms are 3ins long and immensely strong. These are a good choice when breaming and for whiting fishing when something a little bigger taking the bait is a possibility. The same applies to the Drennan booms, though these are a little more versatile coming in 3 and 5in versions.

The twisted wire booms are seen less and less now, but are still a good choice. However, with frequent use they do tend to bend out of shape a bit.

The other popular pattern is the blade type. These are a strip of plastic about .5ins wide and 3ins long. very useful when you want to make the most of a light tidal run and worth having a few in your box for that reason alone.

All these above patterns incorporate a hollow body which the trace line is passed through. The boom is then held in place by either beads glued in place, or better still telephone wire. The telephone wire can be moved, with finger pressure, up and down the trace giving the versatility that increases catches at the end of the day. For a permanent fixing the modern trace crimps are ideal and preferred to gluing short lengths of plastic sleeving either side of the beads.


Many anglers never feel safe unless they’re fishing a sliding rig and this is when many problems occur. A long hook length and a free sliding link swivel for lead weight attachment stopped by a swivel and bead are a recipe for disaster in anything other than a rapid tide run.

There are several patterns of short boom which allows the line to freely pass through two eyes cast into the top of the booms body. These have a link swivel to take the lead at their base, but this can be removed and replaced with weak line when fishing over rough ground.

Best of the modern plastic solid body types are the Delta booms. Constructed from space age material they are light and very strong. At 2.75ins long they give an almost guaranteed tangle free descent of the bait, and good presentation when the whole rig gets to seabed level.

In the same vein, there is the Sea Boom, another plastic pattern similar in design to the Delta and several more besides. But they can break, especially at the point where the lead link is attached should the weight become snagged. If this bothers you stick to using them only over clean sand.

These would be the right choice when fishing large fish baits hard on the seabed for rays and huss, maybe tope when downtide fishing. Some anglers treat them as indispensable when wreck fishing for conger using whole mackerel baits on short 18in to 2ft hooklengths and it works very well.

Simpler, and maybe a hint better are the tube sliders. These are just a plastic tube that the line travels through with an eye moulded to this for the weight to attach to. Small 1in types are not much use but the bigger 3in versions are excellent for all types of hard on the bottom fishing. Knotless Fishing tackle do a smaller version that is suitable for casting when required.

The actual facility of the sliding option is a doubtful one when fishing baits directly below you. Unless the reel is in true free spool it’s not logical for the line to travel through the tube when a fish pulls away with the bait in it’s mouth. The weight, because of the acute angle of the line must move in agreement with the fish. Only when the bait and weight is trotted well away from the boat will that sliding action work something like correctly. To be honest many anglers are fooling themselves about the effectiveness of the sliding rig.

Stepping up a gear, Knotless Fishing tackle do a mini boom and bigger version that needs no tackle breakdown to add or replace. The line is fed under plastic lugs to be trapped inside the booms body it’self. This facility puts them ahead of the others, but otherwise their performance is similar.

You can still see the older twisted wire Clements booms around if you look hard enough. Performance wise they work quite well, but have less of a following now that the plastics have taken over. The brass varieties suffer from verdigris going green, and also the smell of brass rubs off on your hands.

French booms made from stainless steel are a popular choice when fishing very long traces, upto 20ft at times, for wreck pollack. These are a single wire finger pattern with a triangular base which you can twist the main line through and round without breaking down tackle, but few experienced anglers use them like this. They are better used by attaching the main reel line to the top of the triangle, and a weaker short length of line to take the weight. This way, if the lead gets snagged you only lose the weight.

In the same family there is the L shaped boom. It sounds like it is, a simple long finger of wire ending in an eye for hooklength to be tied to, and a short stem at 90 degrees which the line goes to. At the junction between the long and short stem there is a circular twist in the metal which has a splitring added for taking the weight.

Both these patterns come in short 8in, then 10in, and if you really look around, 14in versions. The maxim for the most part is the bigger the better. They are also used for uptiding big cod baits in the fast tides of the Bristol Channel which is something to bear in mind.

Knotless Fishing Tackle produce their Tubi Booms. A length of black plastic tube either 200 or 300mm long. These again are most suited to fishing for deep water pollack with large artificial eels. The main reel line goes through the tube and then is tied to a swivel. The trace is then added to this.

For smaller reef pollack these booms are far too large and obtrusive. Knotless to the rescue again. They do a Super Spreader in two sizes, 150mm and 200mm. The smaller one is ideal for fishing smaller artificial eels on traces between 6 and 8ft.

The Super Spreaders are made from tensiled wire and don’t bend out of shape with big fish. They have a small triangular body with a small eye top and bottom to take the main line and the weight. Also there is a push over protective tube to keep the trace knot safe from abrasion. Their streamlined appearance and shape is the real bonus.

They also do a large T shaped boom with the weight mounted central. You have the option of fishing two hooklengths from the ends of the boom. This spread pattern appeals particularly to flatfish of all species.

This covers the more popular choices and types available, but the list is far from complete. There are others, but not all of them satisfactory for our needs. Those detailed have a proven track record.

The investment you make in booms, providing they are the right ones for the job, is a very wise one. You’ll increase the amount of time spent fishing and vastly improve the presentation of your bait. Both factors that must dramatically increase your catch rate.