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Modern Leaders for Predators

Modern Leaders for Predators
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Using leaders in order to prevent the line being cut by predator’s teeth is a must! No one should give using leaders up in a hope of having more strikes. It happens that someone lands large pike on thin line but such case is rather fortunate coincidence, not a rule. Obviously fish do not ‘bite” the line. The line breaks when fish moves its head to sides and the line cuts on sharp points of fish teeth.

Such danger exists not only in case of pike, but also in case of other strong fighting fish with sharp teeth (like large trout for instance).

Anglers often ask about optimal length of the leader. It depends on the species we are fishing for and sometimes also on the method of fishing used. Obviously the longer the leader, the better it is. Do not believe however in fairy tales about the fish swallowing 15 cm long lure together with 20 cm long leader! Unfortunately such fish do not exist! However even such tackle can be cut! You might ask how is it possible then? In majority of cases relatively small fish does this. Inexperienced young pikes often miss the lure and strike in the line even 50 cm in front of the lure. Cutting the line in such cases immediately follows strike. Sometimes fish cut the line after longer fight. Most often this happens when fish wraps itself (or even only its head) with the line. The leader then is wrapped around the fish and is unable to protect the line from cutting. I have lost one of my biggest pikes in such situation, while fishing with Bertus Rozemeijer in Vastervik, Sweden. Unfortunately the fish has escaped with unwanted gift – SALMO Jack 18 lure.

For trolling you can use leaders even one meter long. If you use three-way swivel and additional sinker it is even recommended (see picture) since limited number of knots limits weak links in our tackle. For spinning however, the length of the leader is limited by casting convenience. It is hard to cast properly with leader longer than 30 cm. Practically the most convenient length is between 25 and 30 cm.

There are a lot of various leaders available on the market. However, practice shows that none of these is 100% reliable. You should remember that each addition to your tackle – snap, swivel, or leader itself might become a potential reason of loosing fight with the fish of your life. For this reason you shouldn’t trust producers and you should test each part of your tackle before starting fishing with it, preferably a day before. But first of all you should eliminate from your tackle box all trash – leaders which according to manufacturer suppose to hold 25 kg, but which can handle 15 kg, and their snaps even 10 kg! Even the newest generation 30 kg braided line won’t help if the weakest link (in this case snap) can hold no more than 10 kg. Remember that your fishing success might rely on such little piece of tackle. For this reason we always emphasize a need of testing your tackle thoroughly. The weakest link in your tackle should be a knot between the leader and the line. A picture shows how to test it at home.

Obviously the best solution is to produce homemade leaders. Parts required can be purchased in the local tackle store. Three types of material can be used:

  • Steel wire.
  • Plastic coated braided tungsten.
  • Fluorocarbon line.

1. How to make steel leader? It is simple (see picture) In order to avoid possibility of catching the line on the end of the wire it should be secured with thermo-shrinkable insulation.

2. Fluorocarbon and tungsten leaders can be done with the same method (see picture). If you are not sure whether the ends of the line will sit tight in tubes you can add some glue inside each tube. You should tighten tubes in moderation in order to avoid weakening the leader in these places.

You should be aware that fully reliable leaders do not exist! The weakest point of the leader will be the place on the edge of the tube, no matter what kind of material has been used. For this reason apart from inspecting your leaders frequently you should also cut the ends from time to time and put new tubes, making your leader a bit shorter but more reliable.

It is very important to choose the right leader type and strength to match the rest of your tackle. You should know not only the strength of the leader but also durability of your line, lure, rings and treble hooks. Durability of leader should be only slightly higher than durability of lure. This is important because too strong leader might have negative impact on the action of our lure.

Few types of leaders are show on a picture.

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