Lines and leaders
  |  First Published: February 2004

THIS month we’re going to look at the different types of line, what types of fishing they are suited to and why it is important to use leaders on the end of your line..

Gelspun line is made of around 100 tiny microfibres, usually with a thin fused coating over it. It’s very popular for lure-fishing in estuaries because this type of line is thinner than nylon mono and it casts further. You can fit more gelspun on your reel than mono but, in most lure-fishing situations, this isn’t an advantage. Gelspun is a lot more expensive than mono and for lure-fishing in estuaries, 150 or 200 metres is more than enough, anyway.

The main advantage of gelspun is that it has very little stretch and you can feel every bump or hit while retrieving your lure. You can also feel if the lure has weed fouled around it. The disadvantages of gelspun are the cost and its very poor abrasion resistance – which means it’s no good around rocks or wharf pylons unless you are very experienced. True braided lines are made out of more tightly woven microfibres and are even more expensive.

Nylon or mono is the standard fishing line that people have been using for decades. For junior anglers fishing in bays and rivers with bait or lures, this is still the best line to use. It’s cheap, which will keep Mum and Dad happy when you lose some to tangles, and it has a fair bit of stretch, which means it takes a bit of pulling before it snaps.

It is also easy to tie knots in mono compared with braid or gelspun. Mono comes in many different colours. If you use fluoro line, be sure not to tie this straight your hook or lure because if you can see it easily, so can the fish.

Another area where you should give thought to the line is in traces and leaders. Fishing with bait for flathead and jewfish requires a trace or heavier line so the fish won’t wear through your line with their teeth.

For bait or lure-fishing for flathead, I’d use 3kg or 4kg main line (gelspun, braid or mono) with a metre of 6kg or 8kg mono trace. For jewfish you may need 8kg or 10kg main line with a 20kg mono trace.

No matter whether you use gel spun or braid you need to be careful of your discarded line. Braid and gelspun last virtually forever, so if you get a tangle and cut a bit of mess off your reel and throw it in the water, it will get tangled around birds’ feet and wings and cut right into their flesh.

Where I live there are heaps of shags and pelicans and, unfortunately, we often to see one tangled up in fishing line and dying. Sometimes we catch one and cut the line off but the easiest thing is to cut the line up into small pieces and put it in the rubbish.



Having a lot of line out on a fish makes you think about what line class you are fishing and also shows just how much stretch mono has.

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