When Do You Need A Fishing Leader

When do you need a Fishing Leader?

Fishing might seem easy to bystanders but it’s not as simple as it may appear.

There are a lot of technicalities involved that must be taken into account if you want a successful fishing trip.

When you decide to venture out towards the sea in hopes of catching the biggest fish out there, you must have sufficient knowledge about the right kind of fishing gear.

Some basic elements are always the same when it comes to catching fish by the ocean.

A strong and resilient rod, a hook, and a main line are what an angler is supposed to have in order to go fishing.

But if you want to take your adventure to the next level and plan on catching big fish like largemouth or trout, then you’ll need some additional tools as well to assist your quest.

That is when a fishing leader comes in handy.

A fishing leader is a line or the additional length of line that connects the main line to the hook. It’s made of a tough strand and is less visible than the main line.

Now that you know what a fishing leader is, you must be wondering when to use one?

Let us break it down for you.

Have you ever experienced a broken main line in the middle of a fish hunt? Or have you ever been frustrated while trying to catch a fish but the fish just wouldn’t come close to your line?

If you are an avid angler, or even an amateur one, you must have been through these irksome situations.

A fishing leader helps you prevent all these scenarios from taking place.

A braided main line is probably the most frequently used fishing line used by anglers for every fishing project.

And there’s no doubt about their effectiveness. They get the job done, GIVEN that the job isn’t too complicated.

If the water is too rough, or if the fish is not near the surface, then using just a main line is not going to suffice.

It might break and drop the hook in water just like your dreams of having fresh fish for dinner.

To have better control and leverage, anglers use fishing leaders.

professional line leader

Main lines can break under pressure. And if your target is a sharp-toothed fish then it’s fang like teeth might cut through the line and cause it to break.

Another drawback of only using a mainline is that it is not produced colorless.

Having color causes the line to become visible in water, which can set off the danger alarm for the fish.

A fishing leader is stronger and can withstand abrasion of rugged rocks and pressure of the sea.

It is also not visible in water, and hence, can easily attract fish without giving away the attached line. 

And it’s the go to option chosen by anglers to catch big fish like cod, trout, or largemouth bass.

Adding a fishing lead to the main line doesn’t sound too complicated, does it?

And it’s not- but the part that comes before attaching it to the main line is a bit tricky.

Knowing the condition of the ocean or the kind of fish you wish to catch is not enough when it comes to installing a fishing leader.

You must know the kind of fishing leader that best suits your requirements.

But if you look up types of fishing leaders on the internet, the amount of results that are going to pop up would overwhelm you.

So here is a detailed description of the different kinds of fishing leaders available for anglers.

One rule of thumb that we would like to share with you first is to try not using heavy leaders as they can get bulky and scare the fish away.

Now let’s get to the types of fishing leads, shall we?

Standard Monofilament Leader

standard monofilament leader line

It’s made with a single strand of thread that’s quite tough and provides sufficient support to the main line.

It’s cheap and is mostly the go-to option for anglers when it comes to choosing fishing leaders. 

The qualities of a standard monofilament that make it so popular among anglers are the ability to stretch and withstand abrasion.

If you are fishing in reefs, using it is a smart choice because it’ll provide you enough leverage to easily navigate through the holes and crevices of the reef.

And since it’s abrasion resistant, it can take the wild attacks of sharp toothy fish without breaking off.

However, with every good there comes some bad.

And in case of the standard monofilament leader, the negative quality is its ability to absorb water.

If you let it stay under water for a longer duration, it’s going to absorb enough water to sink lower, pushing the lure deeper into the sea.

And since it can absorb sunlight, it can become more visible over time, so you must be quick to avoid catching the fish’s eye.

Fluorocarbon Monofilament Leader

fluorocarbon line leader

Fluorocarbon monofilament is also made with a single strand, but the material used in it is of better quality, and hence, is costlier than the standard leader.

Fluorocarbon is less porous which means it doesn’t absorb much water, giving you with enough control over the hook.

Since the line isn’t going to absorb a lot of water, it is not going to sink deeper into the sea, causing you to lose control over the movement of the lure.

Furthermore, this kind of leader has the same refractive index as water, because of which it doesn’t absorb too much light and stays invisible for the fish.

You must be wondering what a refractive index is.

Refractive index is the speed that measures how fast light travels through an object.

Now since fluorocarbon’s index of refraction is closer to that of water, it works in favor of anglers. They get to fish for longer durations without getting spotted by their targets.

Since it’s hard to see under water, it makes the lure more appealing for the target and the strong material won’t break under the abrupt pressure of fish teeth.

Using a fluorocarbon filament is ideal when you need your lure to stay at a certain sea level and the line doesn’t stretch much and take the lure deeper into the sea.  

With so many pros of using a fluorocarbon filament, there is a con as well and that is the high cost.

If you are willing to spend money on an additional tool, then by all means, choose fluorocarbon as your fishing leader.

Choosing the Right Leader

black and red line leaders

Choosing the right kind of leader depends mostly on the budget you have.

Because any kind of leader is supposed to provide support and leverage to the angler for catching the largest possible fish in the sea.

Another question that is often asked is whether or not the fishing leader should be stronger than the main line.

The answer to that question is a simple yes.


Your fishing leader should be tougher than the main line. In layman’s terms, a leader must be stronger than its followers.

Applying that logic should be enough for understanding the need for a stronger fishing leader than the line. But let’s get a bit into the technicalities.

When you install a fishing leader, you are basically making it the part of the rod that’s going to be doing most of the heavy lifting.

That is it is going to be facing the pressure of rocks and water and it is also going to have to bear the pressure of the teeth.

When your target is going to bite into the line, its teeth are going to come in contact with the leader and not the main line.

So if the main line isn’t strong enough to bear the stress caused by the fang like teeth of a shark, it’s not going to affect the entire fishing quest.

But that doesn’t mean that you can use any low quality mainline.

Because after all main line is the one that provides support to the leader and it must be strong enough to hold on to the lead.

And not just that, the main line also goes underwater and comes in contact with rugged rocks and reefs and that also causes strain and pressure on the main line.

So it must be strong to withstand slight pressures.

However, the leader should have more power strength than the mainline.

Using a fishing lead is essential if you want to become a fishing pro.

Otherwise, if you are a budding angler and you are happy with fishing in shallow waters and catching easy fish then we would suggest that you stick to the basic form of fishing.

Just a fishing rod, hook, and line would be enough to satisfy your cravings to have fresh fish for dinner.

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Roy Ericson

Roy Ericson started fishing when he was just a boy, like many of us did. He spent far too much time on the piers not being able to catch anything, until his uncle brought him deep sea fishing, out to the lakes of Michigan, where he lived, and to the various ponds in neighboring states. He’s been all over, caught over 400 different species of fish, and doesn’t believe you should embellish your stories. He’s just here to teach you about his absolute favorite thing in the world: fishing.