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Using a leader is essential for certain types of fishing, so understanding the best ways to use them is imperative.
One question I hear a lot is how long a leader line should be?
Here I answer that question and look at a couple of different scenarios where you would be using a leader line.
When using braid as the main line for spinning
I do a lot of lure fishing and on some of my reels, I like to use braid as the main line. In this situation, I always use a leader, either mono or fluoro, and attach by tying it to the braid using a knot (I usually use an FG (“fine grip”) or a Uni knot).
When I first tie the leader onto the braid, I usually have around 8 feet of leader line.
The reason I have it this long is that when I change up jig heads or lures, I am always cutting the line on the old jig head or lure to attach to the new. So each time you do that you are losing a bit of line length.
Also, after a while, you will notice that the leader can show a bit of wear and tear closer to the lure, especially when you have been having a few battles with fish. So it’s good to cut away the smaller bits closer to the end whenever you do this.
When I get down to 2-3 feet of leader, then I will cut the old leader off and attach a new one again of around the 8 ft in length, and start the process over again.
One thing I look out for here is that I don’t want the leader to be so long that when you are going to cast the knot will be wrapped up in the spool, as this can cause the line to catch at times and it will affect your casting ability.
So I always make sure the knot is just short of the reel when you are set to cast.
Bottom fishing – running rig
When I set up a bottom running rig, I will use a swivel and a length of leader, and I generally use 2 or 3 feet of leader.
If I am using braid as the main line in this situation, I will generally use an extra foot of leader length (so about 3 feet leader length) as the fish can see braided line more easily, so I want to get a bit more distance between the end of the braid and the hook.
But if I am using mono as the main line then I will generally use a 2 feet leader.
Try different lengths
I will also mention that there is no hard and fast rule as to how long a leader line should be. You can test different lengths across the various situations you may use a leader and see which one works best for you.