Often, not many people will understand the drill with fishing leaders. Hence they are the most ignored pieces in fishing gear. Seeing it work for the first time as a beginner, you can’t help but ask, what’s the need of attaching a line onto another?
Understanding the significance of a fishing leader and how to use it will increase your chances of a successful fishing trip.
What Is A Fishing Leader?
A leader is a short piece of a fishing line approximately 12-20 inches long. It is usually reliable and requires you to join between your mainline, lure, and hook. The fishing leader is also invisible to fish and more resilient than the mainline.
A beginner may tie the hook and lure on the mainline and hit the waters. But a fishing leader has more benefits than you think.
Benefits of a Fishing Leader
Anglers face a lot of fishing problems, and that’s where the need for leader lines arises. Therefore leader lines are essential in the following ways;
Avoid Line Breaks
Did you know that your line endures a lot underwater? There are plenty of sharp objects like rocks, shells, reefs, and even the sharp teeth of some fish.
The right fishing leader will solve this. An ideal fishing leader line has more strength because of a wider diameter. This way, the line becomes thicker and tougher to cut through. An excellent leader line has a high abrasion resistance which means it can endure rubbing on any rough or sharp surface.
You will experience snags mostly in rock areas or where there’s thick undergrowth. As a beginner, you are sure to experience more of these snags, especially when the hook catches a rock or the undergrowth. This is due to the lack of jigging experience and expertise. But what to do? Keep on fishing or getting your hooks off the rocks. Read on.
To get the hooks off the rocks and undergrowth, you need to have or make leaders that will keep them afloat. Just like a drop shot, the hook is higher than the weight hence nowhere close to the rocks and undergrowth causing the snags.
Reduce Line Visibility
Different fish strike baits differently. Some will jump right into the bait, and others will investigate before attacking. And in most cases, when a fish sees a fishing line, it will not go near it. So to beat the fish at their own game, you need a Fluorocarbon leader to expose the bait in a way fish will not understand.
This Fluorocarbon appears invisible to the fish. It allows light to pass right through it while underwater. So presenting your bait using such a leader is your best bet in catching the fish.
Avoiding Line Twist with Swivels
When a fish hooks on the line, it will twist and thrust around trying its best to escape. These vigorous movements will create twists to your line when you reel. Such twists are not safe for your line as they can weaken and snap your line eventually.
Therefore, attaching a swivel to your leader before connecting to the mainline will cause the line to rotate freely. When the line freely turns, it will not cause any twists hence not break.
Types of Leaders
Different types of leaders depend on other factors. Below are the common types of leaders and how to make them.
A monofilament leader is a strand of a robust and abrasion-resistant line that absorbs light, water and stretches. They are also cheaply available and flexible hence easy to tie knots. With their stretchability, they absorb any impact of an aggressive fish.
On the downside, this monofilament leader wears quickly from too much UV light. Also, because they stretch, you will hardly feel smaller bites on them. Moreover, its lightweight nature causes the line to float hence it needs extra weight to sink it. The more it absorbs water, the more the properties and features change.
Fluorocarbon Leader Lines
They are an expensive type of monofilament with advanced features and they’re costly. For instance, this type of leader line does not stretch, less porous and invisible to fish. Read on.
Because they hardly stretch, you will be able to feel the smaller bites. Also, their quality does not deteriorate even under extreme UV light. They offer more knot strength and are tough on abrasions.
Conversely, they also have a couple of cons such as; they are heavy hence tend to sink in water. They are too costly, making them hard to access by most anglers, especially beginners.
Wire Fishing Leader
Wire fishing leaders come in different sizes and lengths. They also come in single to multi strands and knot types. Wire leaders are visible, and they are more potent when trying to catch massive fish with sharp teeth.
Check also: The 4 Different Types of Fishing Reels
How to Make Fishing Leaders
Making a fishing leader does not require a complicated step or equipment but frequent practice.
Things you will need;
- Main Fishing Line
- Leader line
- Lure or Hook
- Fishing Weight or Sinker
- Pliers, Scissors, nail clippers, or Knife
- Set the leader line length: an average leader line is 24-30 inches long. But if you are using live bait, you can allow extra length like 30-42 inches. This way, the bait will have more distance to swim freely in the water.
- Tie the swivel to the leader line: as stated above, the work of a swivel is to allow the leader line to rotate freely without twisting the mainline. By using a surgeon loop, tie on the swivel to one end of the leader line. Preferably, use a swivel with a Snap-on-clip that quickly helps you to remove and weight to the rig.
- Tie lure or hook to the leader line: even though there are many types of knots for tying a hook, the snelling knot is ideal in this case. This is because it is easy to know and has more knot strength. Next, on the other end of the leader line, use the snelling knot to tie on a hook.
Voila! Your leader line is complete. Keep practising till you adapt fully to the process of making a leader line like a pro.
When And Where Should You Use A Fishing Leader?
It would be best if you used a fishing leader almost every time you go fishing. Experienced anglers can do without the leader a couple of times. But for beginners, it becomes a must-have gear in all the fishing sprees. Why so?
You are never too sure of when your line will break, or have twists, or even fish avoiding it. So to steer clear of the problems faced in the water, equip yourself with a fishing leader not to blame anyone or anything if you lack to catch fish. Besides, it would help if you had a better presentation of your bait to attract the fish.
Conversely, people wonder if it’s appropriate to use fishing leaders in salty water. Well, the bigger and stronger fish mostly dwell in saltwater. These fish can have very sharp teeth hence risky for your fishing line. Therefore, you need a fishing leader that can endure the sharp teeth; otherwise, you are in for significant fish losses.
Using a fishing leader increases the chances of landing the biggest fish. Also, it enables you to cast and expose your bait in the best way possible for more strikes. Lucky for you, the process of tying a fishing leader is not complicated and doesn’t require fancy equipment. You only need two types of lines and the knowledge of 2-3 knots. Practice the different knots to get the best hook-up ratios for the various lines you intend to use.