Types of Leader
Nowadays, many mainlines are colored so that we anglers can see them better. However, this also allows the fish to see that something unusual is there, right in front of the lure. In addition, pike have such sharp teeth, they could easily bite through the main line in a fight. Therefore, we use a leader at best, which depends on the situation and the target fish.
The fluorocarbon leader is one of the most popular leaders among perch and zander anglers. Even Gamakatsu’s ready-tied hooks for various silver fish, trout or eels are tied with fluorocarbon. Fluorocarbon has the advantage of being almost invisible under water. This is because it has the same light refraction as water. Another positive property of fluorocarbon is its low stretching ability, which is particularly advantageous for lures with a large pressure wave, such as a soft lure in combination with a chatter blade. In addition, a braided main line would be damaged very quickly on contact with stones and thus lose its breaking strain.
Fluoro is much more robust in this respect. However, this should not come up against pike teeth, because although fluoro is more robust with rough stones, it rarely withstands pike teeth, which is why fluorocarbon can only be called a pike-proof leader from a thickness of approx. 0.85mm-1.00mm. For perch, on the other hand, a thickness of approx. 0.20mm-0.30mm and for zander approx. 0.30mm-0.45mm is suitable. However, the appropriate thickness can vary from water to water. In a small and very clear branch of a river it can happen that the perch do not bite with a 0.22mm fluorocarbon and as soon as you change to a 0.18mm leader, suddenly one stripey after the other attacks the lure. However, you may lose one fish after another in the middle of the harbour if you only fish with a 0.22mm leader, because the bottom of the water has many obstacles and the leader breaks. In such cases it would make more sense to switch to a thicker leader. So it’s always a trade-off between lowest visibility and sufficient carrying capacity.
With fluorocarbon that has been on the spool for a long time, it will often loops when it is slack. To make it straight again, you can use a leather belt, put the fluorocarbon in between and pull it through with a little pressure. After 2-3 passes the leader is straight again and can be fished perfectly.
A more pike-proof, but clearly more conspicuous leader is the steel leader. It is available from Spro in 1×7 and 7×7, i.e. either one strand braided from seven “sub-strands” or one main strand braided from seven 1×7 steel leaders, to put it simply. If you want to tie your own steel leader and have no experience with it, the 1×7 steel leader is recommended as it is easier to work with. One advantage of the steel leader is that it cannot be bitten through by the pike if the load-bearing capacity is right. The steel leader is usually more visible than other leaders, which is why zander and perch, for example, are scared off, but the pike attacks anyway.
Titanium is similar to the steel leader. It is also pike-proof, with the difference that it is much more flexible. When a lure is thrown into the bushes, the leader twists around the branch and if there is tension on the line, the steel leader would be kinked afterwards. The Titan Trace, on the other hand, always returns to its original shape due to its flexibility. Even though the Titan Trace is proportionally more expensive, it is more durable and therefore makes up for the difference in cost. The leader is also flexible. Pike usually slices out during the fight with strong head shots, which can be buffered by the leader. If you have to rely on low visibility on clear waters, you should switch from the steel leader to the titanium trace at best, because it is much thinner and has the same load-bearing capacity.
Spro Freestyle offers various fluorocarbon leaders that are already tied. These belong in every fishing bag. The reason for this is that I can quickly change the different strengths. If I have tied a snap to the main line, I can change the ready-tied leaders with the snap rings attached to them immediately and without knots if my requirements change. So, for example, if I’m fishing with a pike-proof Titan Trace and notice that a perch is robbing right in front of me, I can very quickly switch to the more inconspicuous fluorocarbon. Also, when night fishing for zander, you don’t want to have to spend ages searching through your bag in the dark until you find everything you need to tie a new leader. Instead, you take the ready-made leaders out of the package and can fish straight away. It’s a similar situation in winter when your fingers are cold and you can’t tie a proper knot.