What Is A Fishing Leader? What Every Fisherman Needs To Know

Fisher man is holding a fishing rod and holding a catch fish

Many people ask, "What is a fishing leader, and what is its purpose?" In reality, there are many different reasons you would want to use a fishing leader. Leaders are not a necessity for most fishing applications, but they have their time and place.

What Is A Fishing Leader? The Surprising Truth

Answer these questions, and you'll be closer to understanding what is a fishing leader and whether or not you need one:

  • Do you fish clear bodies of water?
  • Have you ever fished with a braided line?
  • Do you fish for sharp teeth fish like pike?

If you answered yes to even one of those questions, you'll want to keep a few leaders in your tackle box. As we established, fishing with a leader is not a necessity, but first, you want to understand what it is and its purpose.

A fishing leader is essentially an extension to your main fishing line. Fishing leaders provide extra line at the end for a variety of different reasons, but the main one is to complement your regular line.

Regardless of whether you use mono, braided, or fluoro, you may want to use a leader to reduce failure in the line and improve scrape resistance.

It's all about the presentation

Is a fishing leader necessary?

Choosing A Fishing Leader

Now that you understand "What is a fishing leader?" we can talk about choosing one. There are a few different things to keep in mind when shopping for a fishing leader.

The first thing you need to look at is the length of the leader. To determine the proper length you want to look at your fishing style, the condition of the water, and the fish you're looking to catch.

For example, if you're using a sinking line, you want a short four-foot leader so the fly sinks quickly and stays below the water column for a while.

If you're fishing near the top of the water, you'll want a longer nine-foot leader. This strategy gives you improved visibility for topwater flies.

The act of fishing – for fish, dreams or whatever magic is available – is enough. It transports us to a special world, and a state of mind, where we are free.“Fennel Hudson

Think about it this way; the more time the fish has to think about taking the bait, the longer the leader you should have. During clear water conditions and topwater fishing, you would want a long leader to keep your line as far away from them as possible.

If the water is murky and turbulent on an overcast day, you won't have to worry as much about the length of your leader.

There are four primary types of fishing leaders, here they are:

1. Monofilament

2. Fluorocarbon

3. Steel

4. Hybrids

What Is A Fishing Leader? Fly Fishing, Saltwater, And More

A person removing a hook in a fish

Image by Suzi Wilson from Pixabay

The original question, "What is a fishing leader?" should be a distant memory now. By this point, you might be wondering more about how you can apply a fishing leader to your fishing style.

Did you know?

The most common place you'll find fishing leaders used is in fly fishing applications. We would even say they are a necessity with fly fishing. If you've ever heard the term, "finesse fishing," you'll understand what we're talking about.

Finesse fishing includes lightweight lures, lines, and fast action rods. You use this style of fishing on smaller fish, and it works like a charm when done properly.

That fact doesn't mean that leaders are only useful in finesse fishing. You can use them in saltwater fishing and even surf fishing as well. Remember, the main reason you'll want to use one is to disguise your line and prevent the fish from getting spooked.

Fish pay attention to everything, including shadows and vibrations, so it's hard to get anything by them.You want to do everything you can to prevent them from thinking twice about striking your lure.

Fishing Leaders: To Use Or Not To Use

What is a fishing leader, you asked? What is a fishing leader, we answered. The overall use of this line is simple and straightforward, but there is always a time and a place. If you have trouble fishing open waters, it might be due to the line you're using.

Braided line is great, and it holds up like a beast, but you will have a hard time getting the fish to bite when they can see your line all the way back to the boat. Using a transparent leader will prevent that from happening.

We recommend going with a fluorocarbon leader for 99 percent of situations because they combine all the best elements into one. If you have any experience fishing with leaders, be sure to drop us a comment and let us know how you rig up your rod.


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