What Is A Fishing Leader And How Does It Work

person fishing

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Losing terminal tackle while fishing is downright annoying, time-consuming, and expensive. However, losing that fish of a lifetime because of a break-off is more of an unnecessary tragedy. And that is why the question of "what is a fishing leader?" is such a relevant one for all fishermen.

So, what is a fishing leader, and why are they so important?

What Is A Fishing Leader: The Facts

To put it simply, a fishing leader is body armor for your terminal tackle.


It is a physical link of varying lengths and line materials between your mainline and terminal rig. Its sole purpose is to add shock resistance, prevent bite-offs, and reduce the effects of abrasion, all of which can cost you tackle or a trophy fish.

What Are The Different Types Of Fishing Leaders?

Before we get on with describing the different leaders and their uses, let's set some ground rules.


First off, there are few clearly defined, struck-in-stone answers when it comes to fishing leaders and their uses. Leader line types, lengths, and construction can differ fundamentally from one day to the next, even when fishing in the same spot.


Weather conditions, water visibility, and target species, amongst others, all play a role in on-the-spot leader choice. The best way of accurately answering the "what is a fishing leader?" question would be to define the problems leaders are designed to counter.


Once that's clear, it is easier to describe the products suitable for each solution.


Secondly, let's define the term fishing leader for clarity.


Theoretically, a "leader" is a length of line that connects the mainline from your reel to your terminal rig. A leader won't always connect directly to your hook and often links your main line to a separate terminal trace.

What Are The Different Applications For Fishing Leaders

Fish equipments

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Fishing leaders are used to address or counter several problems frequently encountered when fishing. The shortlist of these issues looks something like this.

  • Shock absorption
  • Abrasion
  • Stretch inclusion and buffering
  • Bite-offs
  • Visibility

Shock absorption

Abrasion resistance

Braid line buffering

Bite resistance

Reduced line visibility

Suggested Fishing Leader Reading

If you'd like a more in-depth overview of all facets of using fishing leaders, you may want to consider these great books.


The Orvis Guide to Leaders, Knots, and Tippets

The Complete Book of Fishing Knots, Leaders, and Lines

Sale
The Complete Book of Fishing Knots, Leaders, and Lines
  • Brand New & Factory Original!
  • Lindsey Philpott
  • Publisher: Skyhorse
  • Edition no. 0 (05/05/2015)
  • Paperback: 208 pages

What Is A Fishing Leader: The Bottom Line

Well, there you go. Hopefully, this information will help answer your "what is a fishing leader?" question and give some insight into its uses.


Just remember the point made earlier about hard and fast fishing leader rules. The tips shared here will serve you well as a guide, but nothing trumps old fashioned experience. Given time you'll develop your own tips and tricks and build a sense of which fishing leader will work best for you.


If you have some advice or tips of your own or would like to find out more info, please use the comments section below.


Good luck and tight lines!

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