Around the Twist
  |  First Published: December 2011

When it comes to leader selection, most anglers will opt for a single strand of mono or fluorocarbon to protect their less abrasive main line.

While single strand leaders have the capacity to perform the expected task on most fish, there are limitations to the use of single strand leaders, especially when targeting specific target species around certain habitats. Whether it is the sand paper abrasiveness from the mouth of the humble flathead, the razor sharp gill plates of the barramundi, or the scalpel like tail flukes of a GT, one thing is for sure, certain fish species are well equipped to compromise even the most high quality single strand leaders with ease.

While most anglers just up their leader poundage to counter this problem, when you are tangling with large saltwater or impoundment barramundi which just love to weave between timber and snags or drag busting coral trout that dually love to find the bottom of a coral bommie, leader strength is not always the factor and abrasiveness becomes just as important to leader success.

So what options are available to those who want an alternative to the single strand option?

Well the answer lies in using twisted leaders. Twisted leaders have been around longer than I have been alive, however with the increase in popularity of impoundment barra and GT fishing, they are quickly becoming an integral part of gear for those fishermen chasing big leader destroying fish.

So what are twisted leaders and how do they differ from the single strand approach? Basically, twisted leaders are different to single strand leaders as they are made from two or more strands of leader material twisted together to make a pre-rigged leader which can then be joined to braid or mono. They are usually made from monofilament as fluorocarbon is often too rigid to get a good weave. As you can see from the pictures in this feature the twist is often quite tight and really joins the double strands together making for a strong and abrasive leader. You can get looser weaves and these are quite commonly made by professional trout fishers in the north by simply twisting monofilament by hand. Some twisted leader designs such as the All Aussie Leaders developed by Phil Lawler shown in this feature offer a double strand main leader that is then doubled into a four strand for added strength and abrasiveness at the business end of the fight.

This leads into one of the obvious advantages to using twisted leaders over single strands and that is their ability to resist abrasion on both structure and fish as the extra strands create a thicker more robust design than a single strand. Obviously having a two strands or four strand design means the fish has to work through more line surface area to find their freedom. This is ideal on fish like barramundi, threadfin salmon and even GT which often ‘sand paper’ the leader where it joins the lure.

This added toughness also means replacing your leader does not become a frequent event. When fishing for GT and barra, replacing single strand leaders is commonplace as the fish often place a great deal of wear and tear especially down towards the lure where it can get quite scuffed. Failure to check, cut back, or replace your single strand can often lead to bust offs where it has been compromised in previous fights. When utilising twisted leaders the added toughness means that you can utilise the same leader all day. In fact, several of my bait caster combos which utilise All Aussie Twisted leaders have not been changed for five or six trips and have accounted for plenty of barra, jacks, salmon and flathead and the original twisted leader still shows no signs of wear and tear. If you tried this with a single strand of fluorocarbon, the depletion caused by sunlight alone would certainly affect its integrity and strength, and when coupled with the wear caused by fish and snags longevity becomes a major issue .

If you love chasing toothy speedsters like Spanish mackerel but prefer to not use wire to increase your number of strikes then a twisted leader is also a top idea. While they won’t prevent the mackerel from snapping through the leader, (as they can even do this on wire), twisted leaders will provide more protection than a single strand of mono or fluorocarbon.

This leads onto another advantage of twisted leaders and this is their ability to stretch during the initial strike and battle with the fish. Many single strand leaders, in particular those made from fluorocarbon, offer little give or shock absorption. The braided nature of the twisted mono leader provides a degree of shock absorption which can help cushion the initial strike and lunges during the fight. Not enough absorption and the hooks will often pull free especially with hard fighting lunging fish like GT. Trollers will also benefit from this immensely as that additional stretch can often help set the hooks on the initial strike.

Another advantage of using twisted leaders over single strands is their ability to not bite into timber or mangroves like single strand leaders. In my experience the thin nature of single strand leaders lend to cutting into timber whereas the thicker twisted line tends to roll around the structure better. This is a big advantage when fishing impoundments for barramundi where fishing tight around the sticks or dead tree trunks. In this habitat anglers are often forced to free spool running fish and having a leader that rolls around structure is a big help.

Finally, twisted leaders are easy to attach to the main line and also eliminate the need for specialist leader to braid knots for heavy poundage single strand leaders such as the FG Knot when chasing big GT or large barramundi. All twisted leaders require is to tie a short double in your main line using a simple overhand knot and then passing the double end through this knot twice. Once you have done this you then pass the double through the small loop on the leader and a simple cat’s paw connection will see the twisted leader joined to the main line.

One common misconception with twisted leaders is that they are specifically designed for hardbody lure use only. This is not the case as many twisted leaders have the capacity to be modified for soft plastic use. As you can see from the pictures which accompany this feature All Aussie Leaders have created a soft plastic weedless twisted leader which uses a small ball sinker built into the four strand leader moving onto a Gamakatsu worm hook. This can also be achieved using standard twisted leaders through the incorporation of a split ring which allows jigheads to be threaded on when required. This is also the ideal set up when throwing poppers for GTs as to change the popper only requires the changing of a single split ring which is much easier and quicker.

So next time you find yourself out fishing and you are feeling a little frustrated with the performance of your single strand leader, why not try a twisted especially if you are hitting up the local impoundment barramundi population or even better some big GT. If you want any more information on the All Aussie Leaders featured please feel free to drop me an email at --e-mail address hidden--

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