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Why can't I use wire leader for freshwater fishing?

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When I go saltwater fishing, I use green line and wire leader and when the fish are biting, I have no problem catching them.  People are telling me that for lake fishing, I need to use clear line and shouldn't use wire leader, because the fish will spot the equipment and will not take the bait or lure.  Why can I use this stuff for saltwater fish but not freshwater fish?  Are freshwater fish smarter than saltwater fish?

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Saltwater fish are a lot toothier than freshwater fish.  Wire is only needed for fish like pike and musky.  I think heavy fluoro is even replacing wire somewhat these days in salt.

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In my experience I do not consider bass line shy. A wire leaders weight would have a negative affect on many popular baits.  There's no need for a leader unless you're fishing pike waters. Long story short, adjust your tackle to conditions. 

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The fish aren't smarter. You can still catch freshwater fish using a wire leader, I used to when I was a kid to change lures quicker before I could tie knots. It's just not necessary unless you're going after pike,muskee, and other long toothy fish. Other freshwater fish bass, panfish, ect. It's not needed and they could very well see the leader.

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I was fishing crystal clear water around the Charity Islands in Saginaw Bay, MI, and my partner threw out a yellow jitterbug, on a metal leader, with a few split shots to take it down, and came out with a nice smallmouth bass. He was using a Zebco 33 on a short glass rod.  But you already figured that out, didn't you.

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You can do what you want.  You cannot be arrested for using a wire leader so if you're more comfortable with it, tie it on! 

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2 hours ago, MickD said:

I was fishing crystal clear water around the Charity Islands in Saginaw Bay, MI, and my partner threw out a yellow jitterbug, on a metal leader, with a few split shots to take it down, and came out with a nice smallmouth bass. He was using a Zebco 33 on a short glass rod.  But you already figured that out, didn't you.

Dear. Lord. Lol

 

In most cases bass aren't as line shy as say brook trout, but there are times when lighter, low viz line pays off, not just because of the lower visibility, but also because of sink rate and the action of the lure.  Really, though, wire is only necessary for pike and musky here in the northeast, and probably gar in the south.  8-14lb mono or flourocarbon leaders work reasonably well in most applications, are versatile, and tend to not spook fish when the water is clear, or you need more finesse oriented presentations.  

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I don't remember anybody ever saying bass were line shy until the people who make fluorocarbon line told us they were. I've been using steel leaders when fishing in waters where pike swim for 50 years. Still catching bass.  Don't listen to me or anybody else. Fish the way you want. Use leaders if you want. If it's not working for you, adjust. 

 

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The only time I really care about line visibility is if it's a presentation where the bass might come up to it and examine it for a decent amount of time. Almost any moving bait I could care less. For stuff like wacky rigs, dragging something slowly in clear water I'll use a leader. Whether it actually makes a difference I haven't tested it enough to know, but it gives me a little more confidence in certain situations and that makes a big enough difference for me to keep doing it. As for steel leaders. I used to use them with certain things when pickerel were biting a lot, and I caught bass with them. I would just say don't use them if it's on a lure where it will effect the action like a suspending jerkbait. Of course if you have pike you may not have a choice. Also, don't take any of our word for it, try both. If you don't see a difference, don't switch. If it aint broke and you are catching fish, who's to tell you what you are doing is wrong? 

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Thanks for all of the replies.  My main issue is that I'm going to be fishing some lakes where pickerel are present.  I'm not always going to be targeting them, but would wouldn't want to lose any keepers and don't want to get my 8 LB mono cut off by their teeth.  I'm not going fishing until March and I'll try both ways.  I'll reply to the thread and let everybody know how it worked out.

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If you're using a moving bait, like a crankbait, I don't think a wire leader makes any difference as long as it's not too massive, thick and bent. A nice fine 50lb single strand with appropriately small clip and swivel is very good and I use it a lot where pike are a probability. For slow presentations, dragging soft plastics around the bottom or dropshotting I wouldn't want to use a wire leader, but also those presentations are less attractive to pike and pickerel, so there is less risk of catching them.

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6 hours ago, Tim Kelly said:

For slow presentations, dragging soft plastics around the bottom or dropshotting I wouldn't want to use a wire leader, but also those presentations are less attractive to pike and pickerel, so there is less risk of catching them.

Not around here, lol.  For those situations, I use a tie-able leader.  20# is generally fine.  Cortland Toothy Critter is easy to find locally.  Look in the fly section.  There's a few others available as well.

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Sometimes a man's gotta do, what a man's gotta do . . .

Pike-O-Saurus.jpg

A-Jay

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Nice grass pickerel!

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58 minutes ago, Tim Kelly said:

That's not a pike...... LOL

 

3208.jpg

Nice Pike Tim . . .

You got me on that one.

A-Jay

 

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Sorry. Couldn't resist a bit of showing off. Don't start putting your smallmouth pics up or I'll start sobbing!

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The A-rig should open some eyes of some bass anglers, it's all wire. Bass are only line shy when they are not active feeding or the line negatively affects the lures action. Bass have excellent eye sight, they see every type of line but focus on the lure.

Tom

 

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30 minutes ago, Tim Kelly said:

Sorry. Couldn't resist a bit of showing off. Don't start putting your smallmouth pics up or I'll start sobbing!

Me Too . . .

:cry:

A-Jay

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2 hours ago, Tim Kelly said:

That's not a pike...... LOL

 

3208.jpg

We don't grow them like that in the colonies, beautiful fish!

Tom

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Nice fish! If we had a decent pike population around me I might target them instead honestly. 

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1 hour ago, WRB said:

The A-rig should open some eyes of some bass anglers, it's all wire.

Bingo.

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I have another anecdote on line visibility that contradicts my jitterbug story.  My son and I were fishing super flukes over pads, pulling them across and letting them sink.  He had a FC leader and was doing well. I had 10 pound white nanolite tied direct, and wasn't getting much.   Until I put a FC leader on, then my strike rate increased dramatically.  Go figure.

Of course the safe tactic for maximizing strikes would be to use a transparent/translucent leader.  If it matters you're set.  If it doesn't, you're set.

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I have an even weirder one. I was fishing vertically for zander (walleye) with a friend on the bottom in 90ft. Our lures were no more than 10ft apart and everything was similar, but different lures and he had a wire trace. I was getting 5 bites to his 1. He swapped to the same lure I was using and still I was getting 5x the action he was. Eventually he took off the wire and put on a fluoro leader and immdeiately started getting the same amount of action as me.  I was amazed. In 90ft of clear water I struggle to believe they could spot the wire, but it was the most controlled experiment in fishing I've ever witnessed. This was a very slow presentation obviously, so they could study the lures if they wanted to, and if fish actually do that! 

That experience has definitely made me more paranoid about line visibility with slow presentations, but I still happily use wire for moving baits as I think there's more of a reaction and less of an eating response going on there.

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Zander are very similar to walleye, and I'm admittedly not a great walleye fisherman, but I have noticed that in slower presentations, and often in low light, lighter line makes a big difference, be it the action or their crazy/weird low light vision. 

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