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This post is prompted by the "popular opinion" post.  I'd love to know how much of what we "know" about how to fish is just conventional wisdom without any science behind it.  The conventional wisdom is that we have to use leaders at least in part because fish are line shy and braid will scare them off.  Someone rightly pointed out that a big honking hook and additions like slip sinkers kind of make that reasoning a little shaky.  

 

Who goes leaderless?

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For most applications I have a leader - not as much for invisibility but more for going through the water better and such.  

 

Depending on what I am doing, I just find having a fluoro or mono leader let's the bait go through the water and weeds better, the line gets fouled up less on the hooks and if I have to break off it isn't as bad.  

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I do.

 

First, it removes a weak point in line in the line.

 

Second, when a bass sees the bait and goes for it, the line does not stop him, be it a direct tie or a leader.

 

He/she is going hard after the bait so get out of the way!!!

 

This was shown to me by a nationally known pro one day and as I have posted in the past, he waxed my fanny without a leader using braid tied directly to the bait.

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When i started using braid I did not use any leader. I started using a mono leader on all braid lines because I read pros said that it would increase my numbers and size. I do not believe it did so. But once you buy into it, it's difficult to discount. I started using jigs a lot a while back and I was using a 15# mono leader, throwing the jig into heavy cover. It occurs to me that it's senseless to have a 30# braid main line and 15# mono leader unless you want to break off, and I don't. So I stopped using any leader with the jig. I'm still in limbo with the spinning rod.

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I go leaderless. I’ve repeated my reasoning on this site many times. 1. I don’t think bass are line shy. 2. I don’t like the leader knot going through my guides 3. I don’t have problems with abrasion. 4. I don’t mind losing a few inches of expensive braid every time I retire. 5. Tying extra knots and having to buy extra spools of leader material is a pain. 

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I am not concerned about fish being line-shy. 

There are other reasons to use a leader.  Abrasion resistance, as @Scott Fmentioned.  Being able to break off is another.  Saving braid on te-ties, and when changing lures is also a good reason.

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Is fluoro more abrasion resistant than braid?   Fluoro sinking, I get.  Making breakoffs easier, I get.  But not sure about changing lures.  Is changing lures harder with braid?

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I don't use leaders on any of my rigs. Two of them have braid and changing lures is just as easy as on my mono/hybrid lines. Just use the correct knots for the braid and it's a cinch.

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Yeah, unless you are talking about biting off the line, braid seems as easy as mono or fluoro.  I pretty much use the uni-knot for all my lines.

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20 minutes ago, billmac said:

Is fluoro more abrasion resistant than braid?   Fluoro sinking, I get.  Making breakoffs easier, I get.  But not sure about changing lures.  Is changing lures harder with braid?

The double uni is a little more involved, but that's for leaders. I like the surgeon's knot for braid to mono. I have no problem with a Palomar. But I don't even use fluoro for anything. The water here is not very clear, I fish shallow places and I plain do not like it.

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16 minutes ago, Choporoz said:

I am not concerned about fish being line-shy. 

There are other reasons to use a leader.  Abrasion resistance, as @Scott Fmentioned.  Being able to break off is another.  Saving braid on te-ties, and when changing lures is also a good reason.

^^ This. Abrasion resistance, ease of breaking off, and saving expensive braid.

 

Last weekend I was standing in the middle of a river, got snagged, and broke my leader off. Grrrrr.... I didn't feel like tying on a new leader so I tied my bait directly to my braid. Eventually got snagged again and when I pulled to get it out the braid broke at the reel. Great, now I had to get the braid through the guides while standing in waist-deep water. Which I did, then realized I forgot to put the line under the bail first! Pulled it all out and did it again. Took me 15 minutes to get all this done when I could have tied on a new leader in under 5 minutes and been back to fishing. Not to mention I lost 20 yards of braid which was now in the river and that I would snag occasionally.

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I spent a lot of time one fall/winter comparing braid side by side on the water with hair jigs; leaders, colors, etc., and pretty much determined that it generally made little difference in numbers and size of catch most of the time. That said, I still use a leader about 85-90% of the time for a wide variety of reasons. This is all with spinning though, as I feel braid has very few applications where it’s needed on a bait-caster. 

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No leader for me.  I experimented for awhile with fluoro to braid, but I didn't find that it provided me enough of an advantage to continue.  I rarely fish "snaggy" waters, so the break-off reasons don't really matter to me.  If I applied more finesse tactics like drop shot or shaky worm, I may utilize a leader more often.

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8 minutes ago, Steveo-1969 said:

^^ This. Abrasion resistance, ease of breaking off, and saving expensive braid.

 

Last weekend I was standing in the middle of a river, got snagged, and broke my leader off. Grrrrr.... I didn't feel like tying on a new leader so I tied my bait directly to my braid. Eventually got snagged again and when I pulled to get it out the braid broke at the reel. Great, now I had to get the braid through the guides while standing in waist-deep water. Which I did, then realized I forgot to put the line under the bail first! Pulled it all out and did it again. Took me 15 minutes to get all this done when I could have tied on a new leader in under 5 minutes and been back to fishing. Not to mention I lost 20 yards of braid which was now in the river and that I would snag occasionally.

What size braid were you using?

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1 minute ago, Scott F said:

What size braid were you using?

This was 10# Sufix Performance Braid.

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I recently started using a leader.  Although Saturday my uni knot failed on a hookset, so now I'm reconsidering if its really worth it.

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When I need to break off braid, I will usually not do it by using the rod.  One of the nice things about braid is that it often just pulls up the obstruction rather than breaking off.  I've hauled up some pretty big sections of tree with my lure attached.

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I use straight braid, from 20 lb up to 65.  I don't use leaders.  I've experimented with them and determined no fish catching difference at least for me. 

Plus I found them to be a pain in the butt...lol

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If I really thought I needed to use fluoro, I would use a leader long enough so that my knot stayed on the spool, maybe 25 yards or so.

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3 minutes ago, billmac said:

When I need to break off braid, I will usually not do it by using the rod.  One of the nice things about braid is that it often just pulls up the obstruction rather than breaking off.  I've hauled up some pretty big sections of tree with my lure attached.

I fish from a kayak in a lot of man made impoundments that are veritable forests in places.   I'm not uprooting any trees so far.  

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One reason I use a leader on a bait caster.  I use a mono leader for is top water.  The mono leader is stiffer then the braid and I find that I foul the line in the front hooks on the bait much less especially when using a "walk the dog" retrieve. On a spinning rod is for breaking off and much less stretch then straight fluoro or mono.

FM 

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5 minutes ago, billmac said:

When I need to break off braid, I will usually not do it by using the rod.  One of the nice things about braid is that it often just pulls up the obstruction rather than breaking off.  I've hauled up some pretty big sections of tree with my lure attached.

When I have to break off I pull straight back. I don't use the rod because I don't want to break it. Sometimes I can pull the obstruction to me. Sometimes I straighten the hook. Sometimes I break off at the lure. Sometimes the whole leader breaks off.

 

When I'm snagged on a big rock or tree trunk with 10# braid, that rock or tree trunk is staying where it is.

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1 hour ago, Sam said:

I do.

 

First, it removes a weak point in line in the line.

 

Second, when a bass sees the bait and goes for it, the line does not stop him, be it a direct tie or a leader.

 

He/she is going hard after the bait so get out of the way!!!

 

This was shown to me by a nationally known pro one day and as I have posted in the past, he waxed my fanny without a leader using braid tied directly to the bait.

Love it.

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No leaders for me. Lately I fish monofilament line almost exclusively it seems.

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I fish most of the time without a leader using 10-lb hi-vis yellow braid on my spinning setups. I have caught a lot of fish on senkos, a ring fry, neko rigs, finesse jigs and dropshots using this setup.

 

One problem I have encountered is that if I get snagged, the line doesn't tend to break at the knot by the hook but somewhere high up the line leaving a long tail of braid in the water.

 

I never use a leader on a casting setup.

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