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Line and leader are the vital links
  |  First Published: May 2013



Getting to know what size line and leader you should be using can be very important, especially while lure fishing.

I prefer to use braided line because it gives you a lot more of an advantage than standard monofilament but it can be hard to pick the right one.

Leaders can be an even more difficult choice. There are many factors that affect this choice including what fish are you targeting, where are you fishing, the nearby structure and is the water clear or muddy.

BRAID

I always use braid because it is much stronger, more abrasion-resistant, sensitive enough to feel even the most subtle hits, and has greater casting distance than standard monofilament.

Braids also have a smaller diameter, virtually no stretch (which increases the chance of hooking a fish), and it floats, which is an advantage when you’re using surface lures.

Monofilament line costs a lot less costly, although braid will give you a greater advantage especially while lure fishing. When looking for the right size braid, always look at the size or weight rating on the packet.

Narrowing it down, if I’m targeting bream, flathead, whiting or trevally, I prefer to use 4lb-8lb. You will find fishing lighter increases the number of hits on your lure.

If you’re targeting fish like mangrove jacks or barramundi that fight hard and dirty, use around 15lb-25lb.

If you’re fishing for large mackerel or schooling tuna, use 40lb80lb, sometimes more with larger fish.

Choosing a reliable braid is important and sometimes it comes down to personal preference.

I’ve gone through a few brands of braid, including FINS, Sunline Super PE, and Berkley Fireline Exceed. All have performed nicely but I have found each has at least one downside, but that’s nothing to complain about.

At the moment I’ve got Sunline Super PE braid on all my reels, and I really haven’t had too many problems with it.

LEADER

There are many benefits for an angler when using fluorocarbon leader instead of monofilament. Fluorocarbon sinks, has a smaller diameter in comparison to monofilament of the same strength, and doesn’t absorb water.

Fluorocarbon’s refractive index is close to that of water, so it is also virtually invisible underwater. This is very important, especially when fishing in clear water.

It is also very abrasion resistant, increasing your chances of pulling a good fish out of dense structure.

If targeting species such as bream and whiting, fish that can sometimes be finicky, I prefer 4lb leader because this truly increases the number of hits you get in a session.

In dirty water, 6lb-8lb is acceptable, especially if targeting bream in dense structure.

A lot of bream anglers will fish around 3lb fluorocarbon as their main line straight through, no braid, no leader. They will use very light gear and it’s a very challenging but fun way to fish for them.

Flathead and Trevally, fish that put up a hearty fight in the estuary, are targeted by many anglers using 6lb-12lb leader, just to prevent bust offs.

When fishing for jacks in the estuary, it depends on the structure as to what size leader you should use, but generally 15lb-30lb is used for targeting big jacks.

When fishing offshore reefs, 30lb-80lb leaders are used to pull against large toothy fish.

In summary, fish heavier leaders for denser structure and lighter leaders when around minimal structure, such as sand flats. Fish lighter leaders in clear water for more hook-ups. In dirty water it doesn’t hurt to tie on a little heavier leader because fish will not notice it as much.

KNOTS

The leader knot is important because it is the link from the braid to the leader, to the lure and your fish. It is vital to tie a strong and reliable knot to give your every chance of success.

The easiest braid to leader knot to learn is the double uni knot. There are so many videos on YouTube to teach you to tie knots and anyone you know that’s into lure fishing will teach you this one, it’s very simple.

Once you have properly learnt the easiest knot to tie, try tying others such as the slim beauty. This knot is great because it has a small profile when tied properly and can easily slip through small rod guides for a better casting range. And, most importantly, it’s very strong.

Getting to know your different lines and leaders is critical when fishing because they are the connection between you and the fish.

Once the water clears up, have a go at fishing lighter braids and leaders or maybe even straight-through fluorocarbon. It will dramatically increase your skill in fighting a fish.

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