Making fishing leaders

Presentation friendly options

Regular or ball bearing swivels, and a variety of snap sizes and designs can be used to customize leaders to match lure performance and presentation.

Walleye fishermen know it all too well. That lousy feeling of losing a favorite lure to a toothy fish such as a northern pike. Many predator fish easily bite through light line offerings preferred by most walleye and bass anglers.

However, there are some alternatives that save lures while with minimal hindrance to lure action or presentations. And you can quickly make them yourself to your own specifications and specific needs.

The type of leader material you choose can depend upon your fishing technique. If casting or trolling is your game, then a fluorocarbon leader might do the trick. Those presentations keep a bait on the move, meaning fish are generally chasing from behind and therefore not fixated on a leader.

Fluorcarbon leaders are easy to construct. When making your own simply pull the desired length of fluorocarbon off the spool and cut it. Other components needed are a leader sleeve for each end of the leader, and a snap and swivel of choice. A crimping tool is all that is necessary to complete the project which takes only a few minutes.

Fluorocarbon is durable and has low visibility in the water. It is an excellent choice for northern pike fishermen. It is a rare pike that will bite through a fluorocarbon leader, especially in 50 to 100 pound test. However, the sharp teeth of northern pike can put nicks in fluorocarbon leader material so leaders should be checked regularly.

Nicks can easily be detected by sliding the leader between pinched fingers. If the nicks are determined to be severe enough to weaken a leader beyond an angler’s liking, a change should be made. But don’t toss the old leader in the trash. The components, swivel and snap, can be saved and used again.

Another option for leader material, other than the standard metal leaders commonly found in retail fishing departments, is much more flexible than fluorocarbon -TufLeader by TufLine. It is a flexible metal leader with a fabric-type coating. It is light and durable. After several fish though, the coating is susceptible to fraying and changes the appearance of the leader considerably, maybe too much for many fishermen’s liking.

TufLeader is easy to use without the necessity of leader sleeves to secure connections to snaps or swivels. It can be tied, using a recommended knot for the product.

One of the newest leader materials to come on the market is Devil Line. It seems to combine all the features anyone would like in leader material. It is astonishingly simple to use and performs wonderfully in the water.

Devil Line is black in color, meaning it can be used comfortably in a variety of situations without presenting a noticeable difference to fish, particularly in stained or murky water. It is the most flexible of the leader material discussed here and doesn’t kink.

What’s more, Devil Line can be tied with simple over-hand knots and that will never come loose. No need for leader sleeves or crimping, meaning Devil Line leaders can be easily made while on the water or at the shoreline. Devil Line is a terrific choice for northern pike and muskie fishermen and any other angler concerned about losing a fish or lure by being bit off.

One of the important aspects of leader construction, in addition to the leader material proper, is the selection of swivels and snaps. Despite their small appearance, both effect the action and performance of the leader. Anglers should choose their swivels, for the end of the leader that is attached to the line, based on how they intend to fish.

Quite often the size of the swivel, either standard or ball-bearing, is not a presentation breaker. But larger, heavier swivels take lures a bit deeper and are more likely to snag up any plant material that is sliding down the line, therefore making the leader a slight bit heavier than intended and considerably more visible.

While snaps add weight to a leader, however slight, some styles and sizes will impair the action of certain crankbaits. Fortunately, there are a number of snap configurations to choose from. Examine the shape of the lower loop of the snap, and the clasp, to find one to your liking that will work with your lure of choice.

Remember, when making your own leaders it is easy to find the right combination of materials to precisely fit your style of fishing.


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