At a Glance: Leaders
Leaders are shorter pieces of line, typically of much different strengths and material than the mainline, intended to take advantage of the specific material’s qualities at the connection to the terminal tackle or lure. Nearly every fishing tactic can utilize leaders whether it’s fly fishing small mountain streams with the tiniest of dry flies or casting large spinners into cold glacial lakes for northern pike or trolling deep water for immense predatory fish in the oceans. Leaders can be made from monofilament, fluorocarbon, stainless steel and titanium, braided superlines, or even lead core. Most often, leaders are clear and provide stealth to an otherwise visible mainline, which is extremely important when targeting fish who can be considered “line shy” - meaning they tend to not bite baits attached to visible lines. Leaders also tend to be a bit weaker and more supple than the heavy mainline, allowing for a breaking point at the end of the line to avoid losing significant amounts of mainline in case of break-offs. An example of this would be deep water trolling for salmon using heavy wire line with a long monofilament or fluorocarbon leader between the wire and the lure. The nylon lines would be nearly invisible compared to the wire and would allow the lure action to do its job in attracting fish. The nylon leader would also break under extreme strain rather than the wire or rod breaking in the event of a snag or improper drag setting on the reel. Strong leaders are also available for the angler using light mainlines. It is entirely possible to catch large fish with sharp teeth while using a light mainline if a wire leader is used. FishUSA sells leaders and leader material with pound tests up to 130 lbs and lengths ranging from 6 inches to spools of leader material up to 55 yards long. This allows anglers to target virtually any game fish out there.