To set up a wire outfit you will need to know how to tie an Albright Knot and a Trilene Knot. Make a wire splice and weave distance markers into your wire. These knots are explained in our sites Knots and Knot Diagram section if you are unfamiliar with them. Maybe you'll have a Tackle Shop set you up and don't think you need to know this "stuff". But remember, doo-doo happens. If you loose a wire setup, "whatcha gonna do?" Go home, fish with one outfit, carry a costly spare outfit or fix the one that got screwed up. It shouldn't take too long to come up with the correct answer.
You need a trolling rod about 6 or 7 feet in length. It should have a roller or carbide tip top. Roller guides all the way down are not necessary but are real good if you are going for tuna. The more guides, the better. They can be carbide too but once again, not necessary. The reel seat should be an aluminum billet or chrome over heavy brass one. It needs to be pretty strong because you will may be trolling heavy rigs or hooking up some big fish. Some experts say you need a long, soft "slow taper" rod about 9 or 10 feet long for trolling big spoons so the spoon can work better. (we must remember my opening statement here "In My Opinion") I see no difference in fish numbers with those longer rods. They can be hard to manage when you get your fish close to the boat. They seem to whip from side to side when you need to control your fish the most. I sometimes thing the long rods are just bunko to make you buy more tackle than you need and make you look like a "Hot Shot Pro". And if you spend the kids new shoe money on the stuff, you'll wind up in the dog house. As a matter of fact, our TGT Bunker Spoon works better with a shorter rod because if the spoon has a shorter swing, it makes more noise. Our Spoon has a 4 chamber rattle in it.
A sturdy 4/0 reel like a Penn Senator fits the bill perfectly for most wire trolling situations. There are other similar reels that will do just as well. The choice is yours. A new trend with lighter, smaller diameter reels seems to be getting a toe hold but I don't like them. Wire will take a set or spring like coil when wound around a small diameter spool. If any length of wire lays slack on your rod or the deck you stand a good chance of and forming a loop and pulling one tight. A kink will immediately form. Kinks will inevitably break when under some reasonable tension. So look for a large diameter reel. Remember those narrow, giant diameter reels of olden days? Worked well when most of the guys used hard stainless steel wire. Now just about everybody uses the softer monel wire.
When we talk about line, we mean all the stuff on the spool which includes backing, wire and leader. First you need to put backing on the spool. Some people use monofilament. It's cheap but I don't like it. It kinks, stretches like a rubber band and degrades with time, especially if salt water gets down to it. If you are well into your backing and have to grind in a big fish, the rubber band effect can exert a great deal of side pressure on your spool and explode it. Rare but who needs it? Dacron is the ticket for me. About 60 # should do nicely. Not too expensive, no stretch, packs tight with no side pressure and doesn't rot. I've got Dacron on some of my spools for over 20 years and it's like the day it was put on. Wind on the backing about ¾ of an inch from the top of the spool.
Now use an Albright Knot to attach 300 feet of 45# wire to it. There's Stainless Steel and Monel. Stainless tends to be harder and kinks easier than Monel. Monel is much better. I don't want to get into a long explanation here, just spend the few extra bucks for Monel. Next is the leader. 80# test monofilament should be tied to the end of the wire using another Albright. I like 20 feet of the mono so you can get several loops of it onto your reel when landing a fish or putting up your tackle. Having wire dangling off the end of your tip top when doing one of the above is inviting disaster. You'll kink it or bend it back and forth so many times that U GET one of those mystery break offs. Tie a GOOD snap swivel to the end of your leader. Use a Trilene Knot to do this. I don't want one of those 100% knots here for reasons I have earlier explained. You're ready to do some wire line trolling.
If you have followed the above instructions, you're ready to troll with the best of em'. If you are unfamiliar with wire trolling read the section on Trolling With Wire for some helpful hints.