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Lines & Leaders for Hard Bodies

April 28, 2020

Lines & Leaders for Hard Bodies

This could be the most controversial topic on hard body lures I have ever dived into! Everybody has there own ideas on the most important link in the chain of fishing; their fishing line! 
When it comes to lure fishing Aussies love their braid with the exception of some blue water applications and bait fishing. It is unusual to see a rocket launcher or rod holder without a overhead or spinning rod adorned with some sort of braid to leader combination attached.


Rather than say what is best, because I don't know for sure, I will run through some pros and cons with some different lines used for lure fishing. Whether you use mono-filament, co-polymer, fluorocarbon, braided or gel spun lines they're all designed to catch fish and at times all have their place but most of the time are interchangeable to catch the same species.

Mono-filament sinks and generally is strong and the thickest of the lines. The most supple and stretchiest as well. Good lines stretch close to breaking strain and come back after the pressure is taken off. Some are designed to discolour and a segment of stretched line that won't spring back, needs to be cut off and retied. These are the I.G.F.A class lines that are designed to catch records. These can be avoided for normal fishing and you will get a longer lasting mono-filament as a rule.

Advantages of mono-filament:

  • easy to tie knots,
  • forgiving stretch when pulling on fish
  • lures can run deeper from sinking qualities
  • lure makers highly recommend it :) 

Disadvantages of mono-filament include:

  • thick lines for breaking strain; normally one has to use a lighter breaking strain for capability and line capacity
  • a lot less feel when working lures
  • suffers from creating a belly in line in current because of sinking and diameter characteristics
  • does not last as long as a good braid.

Co-polymer lines are thinner and designed with less stretch and it was a lure fisher's choice for many years before Braid and Gel Spun lines came into vogue.

Fluorocarbon lines have taken the limelight away from the co-polymer lines lately where a little stretch and sinking qualities are preferred. However fluorocarbon lines are thicker than similar strength co-polymer. Good fluorocarbon is a good choice when a sinking, hard wearing, sensitive line with less stretch than mono but more than braid is preferred. It is less visible under water as well and is an excellent alternative to braid in deeper water for hard bodies.

Braids and Gel Spun lines

There is a subtle difference in the performance of these two lines. Braid is normally 4 to 8 strands woven together to create a tight but relatively lightly protected exterior. This is where the quality of the strands play a important part in your choice. Braids are created for many different purposes these days; jigging, game fishing and throwing huge poppers on the reef, all with different characteristics. For extra deep jigging braids are normally multi coloured and are softer and more supple. They are easy to tie knots especially to heavy leaders, but are not the right choice for bait casting as a rule. They don't handle being rubbed through snags, repetitive casting or a decent backlash which will put a weak spot in your line easier than lines specially designed for casting.
Gel Spun lines are 2 to 4 strands of material woven together incorporating some sort of glue and protective coating. These are the slick lines and are hard wearing but stiff when new and have to be "worn in." They're not perfectly round and usually a good choice for spinning reels. A good braid is my choice on bait caster if I had to pick one for its sensitivity; hard wearing, versatile and good strength to diameter ratio.


Fluorocarbon sinks quicker than Mono-filament but is significantly tougher.
Generally I won't use fluorocarbon in sizes bigger than 40lb with 30lb being a favourite..any heavier and I find the stiffness of fluorocarbon can hamper the action of the lure.
A mono "shock leader" is how they market the heavier leaders I use from 60lb upwards. But in all honesty I am not fussed about the type of leader I use as long as it is strong enough and I look at the business end after every fish, checking for scuffs and nicks.

Occasionally water clarity has a bearing on the choice of leaders, specifically super clean water. Lighter fluorocarbon may find it's way onto my braid.. or I will use my 20lb fluorocarbon outfit...or...there I go again, over thinking the game...just go and find some hungry fish...


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