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What Is a Leader in Fishing?

You feel the tug of a fish, and suddenly, you experience an unbeatable rush of adrenaline. That’s the lure of fishing, and if it’s your favorite pastime, you’re in good company.

Research shows that over 101 million Americans may participate in wildlife activities, like fishing, each year.

There are many different ways you can fish, but using fishing leaders — which are tied to your main line — can help. The question is, what is a leader in fishing? And should you use a braided line for your leader line?

Here’s a rundown of everything you need to know about fishing leaders.

Let’s jump in!

What Is a Leader in Fishing?

Fishing leaders are short fishing lines that go between your fishing reel’s main line and your hook/lure. Because fish can’t see leaders well, a leader line can help you to conceal your main line and therefore get more fish bites.

Fishing leaders are also extra strong — yet another benefit of these lines. This makes them handy for fishing with bait, as they will more easily resist breaking compared with your main line.

Even strong and big fish will have a hard time biting through your leaders. This means you won’t have to worry about your main line snapping, even if it’s thin.

Thanks to its durability, your leader may especially come in handy when you’re trying to catch fish with teeth.

Another advantage of using a leader is that it’s not complicated to use. People who fish typically connect their fishing leaders to their main lines using simple knots. Just a few pieces of equipment are needed (more on this later).

With some practice, virtually anybody can tie fishing leaders.

Ideal Fishing Leader Length When Tying Leader to Main Line

Fishing leaders are usually anywhere from 16 inches to 24 inches long, depending on the situation.

It’s best to use a 24-inch leader line if your fishing lure is an artificial one. With this length, you won’t have to put the knot through your fishing rod guides.

This is important because when you cast your line repeatedly, the friction that this motion causes will weaken your knot if it constantly rubs against your rode guide.

If you are using live bait to fish, consider using a longer leader line — one that is 30 inches to 48 inches long.

You don’t have to cast as much with live bait as you do with artificial lures. As a result, you can use a longer leader with live bait than you would with artificial ones.

If you have a frayed fishing line, you can shorten your leader to around 16 inches to 20 inches long. This can be a big help, as shorter leaders are simpler to cast. This is especially true in windy weather.

Types of Fishing Leaders

Multiple fishing leader options are available depending on your needs as an angler.

However, each fish leader is equally designed to cause fish to concentrate on your bait and then swim toward it. Because leaders are so strong, as we mentioned earlier, you should have no problem tiring a fish that bites your line and then reeling it in.

1. Traditional Monofilament Leader

This standard leader features one strand of thinly spun yet strong lines. It is a great option in that it resists abrasion, provides a little stretch, and absorbs sunlight.

The benefit of these standard leaders is that they are relatively inexpensive. In addition, because they are flexible, you may find them easy to use. Their flexibility also makes them a convenient option for targeting an aggressive fish, as they can absorb the fish’s impact.

Still, a disadvantage of this monofilament leader is that it can deteriorate with time due to ultraviolet light exposure. Also, it is not recommended for fish with teeth because it doesn’t have enough strength to withstand them.

2. Wire/Steel Leader

This leader option is extra strong, but it doesn’t offer the level of invisibility you’d get with a monofilament leader. Still, wire/steel leaders can help you to catch large fish that have sharp teeth.

Note that wire leaders come in various sizes and lengths. They also come in various forms, including knottable, single strand, and multi-strand.

A drawback of wire leaders is that they may kink easily. This may create weak spots in the lines.

3. Fluorocarbon Leader

This type of leader is a more expensive monofilament option than the standard one. That’s because it offers several benefits, such as being less porous and having less stretch and visibility.

This leader option uses a single monofilament strand. Because the line isn’t very flexible, you can more easily feel small bites with it.

A fluorocarbon leader is also great at resisting abrasion. In addition, it provides stellar knot strength. Additional benefits of fluorocarbon leaders are that they do not deteriorate in ultraviolet light and they also absorb water easily.

This leader option is especially perfect for fish such as mackerel, dogtooth tuna, and bluefish.

The only disadvantage of this leader option is its relatively higher price tag compared with other types of leaders.

Braided Line

When creating leader lines, consider using braided fishing lines, which are among today’s most popular lines for fishing.

Braided lines are often used for leader lines because their synthetic material is strong and durable. This can make casting much easier.

You also won’t damage a braided line as easily as you would other types of lines. In addition, your line is less likely to break.

Keep in mind, though, that braided lines can go bad with time. Still, because a braided fishing line lasts a long time, it’s a worthwhile investment for every avid angler.

Creating a Leader Line

You can easily create leader lines with a few pieces of equipment. These include the following:

  • Scissors
  • Pliers
  • Sinker
  • Hook and lure
  • Swivel
  • Leader line
  • Fishing line

First Step in Creating Leader Lines

Your first step in creating leader lines is to determine the proper length of your leader as we discussed earlier.

During this process, you should also consider your lure’s weight. If you’re using a heavier lure, your leader will need to be on the longer side. In this way, the lure won’t hit the water and cause a disturbance.

In addition, consider the fish species and size you’re targeting. You should also factor in the kind of water you’re fishing in. If you use leader lines that are six times your rod’s length, you’ll likely have no problem getting the fish you’re after.

Second Step in Creating Leader Lines

The second step in developing leader lines is to attach a swivel to your leader line.

A swivel will allow your leader to freely rotate under the water by twisting your main line. Swivels can be attached to leader lines using the surgeon loop technique.

A swivel featuring a clip that snaps on can also be used to effortlessly remove or add weight to your rig setup. These types of swivels have small metal loops that you can attach to leader lines. They also have metal clips that you can attach to your lures or bait.

You can also use barrel swivels with leader lines. These swivels have small holes in their center areas. The holes make it easy to attach the swivels to leader lines.

Third Step in Creating Leader Lines

Finally, you’re ready to attach your hook/lure to your leader line. You may use various knots, like a snelling knot, to tie hooks to leader lines.

Loop knots are particularly easy to use for this application. To create one, you’ll first want to tie a knot in your line. The loop should hang below your line.

Next, tie your second line around this loop. During this process, you should go underneath your first line and pull tight. The result is a nice double-ended fishing line loop.

To make it even tighter, pull on both ends of your first line until the line is snug against your second line’s knot.

How We Can Help with Fishing Leaders

If you’re asking, “what is a leader in fishing,” a leader line is a short fishing line — like a braided line — that you tie to your main line to hide the main line. You may get more fish bites when using fishing leaders.

At Reel Passion, we take pride in offering high-quality products for today’s avid fisherman and fisherwoman. Get in touch with us to learn more about our products, and place an order today!