Many fishermen will attest to how useful leaders are. Freshwater fishermen may not use them as much and may even prefer to steer clear of them, but saltwater anglers will often not step into the boat without them.
Why? Because they are the best way to reel in mackerel, tuna, and other toothed pelagic fish. Before you put on that fishing hat and head out to catch some fish, let’s learn more about fishing leaders.
You may wonder what is a fishing leader.
A leader is simply a strong line that is connected to the end of your fishing line that goes into the water. This line is where the lure will be tied. The leader is often connected to the fishing line using a knot and is tough enough to resist breaking especially while fishing for toothed fish. The second reason is that a fishing leader is less visible in the water which means fish can easily take the bait.
This fishing leader buying guide tells you all you need to know.
Types of fishing leaders
Now that you know what is a fishing leader, it’s time to learn about the two main types.
Fishermen will often use two main types of fishing leaders. These are the monofilament leader and Fluorocarbon leaders. Each has a specific character that makes it ideal for certain situations more than others so make sure you pack the right one in your fishing backpack.
1. The monofilament leader
This type of leader gets its name from a single strand of line. Unlike some lines that feature interwoven strands, the monofilament leader does not. It is quite strong, abrasion-resistant, stretches, and absorbs light.
The fact that it can stretch means that it can absorb the impact of the fighting fish. Being abrasion resistant, you can use it in water that has plenty of structures, rock formations, and plant life and you will not worry about it breaking.
However, keep in mind that since it absorbs water it gets heavy which can cause the lure to sink further.
One great thing about the monofilament leader is that it is usually cheap. You may need a good pair of fishing pliers in case you want to remove the hook and release the fish.
2. The fluorocarbon leader
Ironically, the fluorocarbon leader is also a type of monofilament line since it consists of a single strand. However, it is made from fluorocarbon and has different characteristics from the monofilament leader.
For one, it is not stretchy and while it will not absorb the impact of the fighting fish quite as well as the monofilament, it does allow the angler to feel small bites more easily.
Its refractive index is close to that of water meaning that it doesn’t absorb light and that sunlight shines right through. This makes it harder for the fish to spot it which makes bait much more appealing.
It is a good idea to use this line with a strong saltwater fishing rod.
The third feature is that the fluorocarbon leader doesn’t absorb water. The benefit of this is that it doesn’t break down as fast as the monofilament which allows it to have a longer shelf life.
How to use a fishing leader
There are two main ways that you can attach a fishing leader to the end of your fishing line. One is to use a knot where you tie the leader to the end of the line. Then you will proceed to fix the lure on the other end of the leader.
It’s thus important to know how to tie fishing knots.
The second way is to use a swivel. This acts as a joint mechanism between the two types of lines where you simply attach the fishing line on one end and the leader on the other end of the swivel. Then with the free end of the fishing leader, add your hook and bait.
Other factors to consider
Even after learning what is a fishing leader, there are other factors to consider. This fishing leader buying guide explains what else to look for.
Even with both the monofilament and the fluorocarbon leaders, there are different sizes to choose from and the right one for you depends very much on the type of fish that you are going after.
For example, you may want to use a heavy leader with fish such as grouper. These are strong and heavy fish and could break a thin leader. Check out how to catch a grouper guide. Make sure that the one you choose is suited for the task ahead. In this case, you will also need to use a strong and heavy fishing line as well.
The monofilament leader may also not be strong enough for tuna and other types of toothed fish. Even with the leader being made stronger than the average fishing line, these fish will still end up cutting through it. A fluorocarbon leader is therefore ideal for fish such as dogtooth tuna, bluefish, and mackerel.
Wire leaders will kink easily and end up creating a weak spot. Over time it is much more likely for the leader to break at this kinked area. Such leaders also present challenges when it comes to tying with the fishing line.
So, if you have been wondering about the importance of using a leader, all the points mentioned above will help. One of the main ones is because it is less visible to the fish while in the water. Other fishing lines, though having a great construction, can distract the fish and cause them to become weary.
However, with the leader, they can concentrate on the bait, swim towards it, and take it. Having done this and once the fish realizes that it has been caught, it is going to fight frantically. This causes the line or leader to rub against the sharp teeth of the fish. Any fishing line will not withstand a fish such as a tuna with large sharp teeth.
However, a strong monofilament leader or fluorocarbon fishing line allows you enough time to tire the fish and reel it in. Just make sure that when you are picking a leader that you choose one that is well suited for the type of fish that you are planning to catch. It wouldn’t make sense to use an 80-pound leader on a 10-pound tuna.
This fishing leader buying guide emphasizes the need to consider the fishing line and pick a leader that will work well with the line.
Globo Surf Overview
It is the saltwater angler that is most likely to use a fishing leader. This is mainly due to the features of the catch which is especially so when after large pelagic fish. While a normal line will break easily under the pressure, a fishing leader will hold.