Choosing Leader Line


November 9, 2013 By Neil Taylor

Digital image

Bob O’Brien: Unlikely to catch this snook without fluorocarbon leader (Neil Taylor photo, 2008)

     Why should I invest in a quality fluorocarbon leader line?  Durability and abrasion resistance are worth the investment.      You can usually judge a craftsman by their tools.   In fishing, it is much the same.   Taking a peek at the gear an angler has, you can probably get some general insight into how successful they are.

Statement:   Fluorocarbon lines are nearly invisible under water.   To me: It is irrelevant.   I was told that the fluorocarbon casts less of a shadow than other leader line options.   I believe I can trick fish to eat using a monofilament leader.   I think I’m going to catch more of them if I have the fluorocarbon leader.  There is no myth in the statement “fluorocarbon lines are tougher than monofilament.”

As it was with the polarized sunglasses discussions, you get what you pay for.   The money spent on a 20 yard spool of the best fluorocarbon line is money well spent.  The “Peace of mind” factor:  You finally hook that fish-of-a-lifetime; you don’t have that fleeting thought “should I have spent an extra four bucks on leader line??”  With a mono leader, the tiny sandpaper-like teeth of species like snook and ladyfish, if the lure or hook is all the way in that fish’ mouth, monofilament will fail regularly.   The fluorocarbon will hold up much better, providing a much better chance to catch that fish.   Note:  Watch your leader.  If the fluorocarbon leader gets very scratched up near the lure, trim off that compromised area and reattach your lure.



Strength:  For inshore fishing in most of Florida, if you were to buy one spool of leader line, what weight would you choose?  I would suggest 25-pound.   A majority of what I use year-round is actually 20-pound fluorocarbon.   What does 25-pound provide for you that 20 does not?  You can lift bigger fish out of the water without knots failing better with 25-pound.  Species like mackerel and bluefish, it is likely you will lose some tackle even on the 25-pound so going up to 30-pound is a great choice if you are regularly encountering those species.    40-pound is going to be a better if you are exclusively targeting Spanish mackerel.

Previously stated:  Pure fluorocarbon choices are superior and worth the investment.   Ten to fifteen dollars for a spool of leader line that is of this quality is something that anglers who are getting out a lot may not go through in a year’s time.    While the fishing industry will always have other companies putting out similar products, in many cases the pioneers are also the industry leaders.   With fluorocarbon leaders that is definitely the case.   Seaguar is where it all started.   This company puts out pure fluorocarbon products.   Time-tested, this has been my choice for over a decade now and other companies I have tried have fallen short.    Seaguar is never stiff or brittle.   The bottom line, once again: Abrasion resistance is what matters most to me in a product that is touted as “nearly invisible under water.”   Cheaper versions of fluoro:  They will not hold up to as much abuse, pure and simple. I have one final question for you:  How important is it to catch that fish?

The advent of braided lines, similar in time frame to the influx of fluorocarbon use for leader lines, anglers have had to figure out what knot to use to connect their leader to their main line (the braid).   The options are aplenty.   Pick a knot and learn it well.    The one I use, the end result is a small but powerful knot, one that does not fail under stress.   I believe that there are some details in “what you do with your fingers” that make tying a trustworthy knot easier and more expedient.  Need an idea for a Knot? Try the Neil Knot

Another option instead of braid or monofilament main line?   Use fluorocarbon as a main line.  The one I have used in the past is AbrazX or InvizX by Seaguar.   Honestly, a superior option than monofilament, with less line stretch memory problems and overall longer life and durability.   For those who fish in places where it gets too cold and icy for braided lines or they just don’t like braided lines, AbrazX or similar product will be well received.

Related articles:   Seaguar AbrazX and Seaguar Premium Leader Lines

STKFBizCardFrontNeil Taylor is a kayak fishing guide in Tampa Bay.  He can be reached


Specializing in Instructional Kayak Fishing!