Can You Use Monofilament For Your Leader?

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If you’re doing any sort of serious fishing, you probably are using some sort of leader on your setup. I’m sure you’ve heard people debating what type of line works best and in this post, I’m going to be talking about if you can use monofilament as your leader and when you should.

The simple answer is that yes you can use monofilament as your leader. You should be using a monofilament leader when you’re using mono as your main fishing line or when you’re fishing for something with a soft mouth (kokanee, trout, etc). You might also want to use a mono leader when you’re fishing with braid in shallow water.

Those are pretty much the only times I’ll use a monofilament leader when I’m fishing. I normally use braided line as my main fishing line and then I’ll use a mono leader when I’m fishing for kokanee or if I’m fishing for trout in a small creek. For everything else, I normally use a fluorocarbon leader for the abrasion-resistance and invisibility in the water.

Why Use A Leader

There are a number of reasons you’d want to use a leader in certain situations but it’s not needed every single time. If you’re fishing with mono or fluoro in normal conditions then you probably don’t need anything special for the leader. You could tie directly onto your main fishing line or use the same lb test if you’re attaching a swivel.

If you’re using braid as your main fishing line then you’ll definitely want to use a leader. Braid is easy to see in the water and isn’t that abrasion-resistant. Having a mono or fluoro leader will perform so much better.

The main reason you’d want to use a leader is to protect your main fishing line. You should be using high-quality stuff as your main and you probably don’t want to replace it often. Having a leader attached to the end can keep your mainline in working order.

Another reason to use a leader is to get your bait/lure to the right depth. Sure, you could just use weight but I’m a fan of using as little as possible. If you want your bait to sit up off the bottom then you’ll probably want to go with mono since it floats. If you want your bait on the bottom then you’ll go with fluoro.

The final benefit of using a leader is to be invisible in the water. If you’re using braid or you like to use colored fishing line then you’ll probably want to attach a clear leader. It’ll be way harder for the fish to see and you’ll likely catch more fish.

Benefits Of A Monofilament Leader

There are two main benefits of using monofilament as your leader. I don’t use it a whole lot but it definitely comes in handy. I will say that it’s not a complete difference maker what leader material you use but each of them has its pros and cons.

The first benefit of monofilament is that it floats. The opposite is true for fluorocarbon. If you don’t want your bait/lure to sink quickly then you’ll want to use mono. You’ll probably want your hook a bit suspended if you’re fishing a shallow creek or a spot where there are a lot of sunken trees.

The second benefit of monofilament is that it stretches. This is good and bad and will really depend on what you’re fishing for. Anytime I’m fishing for something with a soft mouth (kokanee and maybe rainbow) I’ll use mono because it’ll add some shock absorption. The hook won’t get ripped out as easily and I think it helps land more fish.

Those are pretty much the only times I use monofilament. I’m not saying it won’t work otherwise, because it will, but I do prefer fluorocarbon in most cases. For fish with soft mouths or areas I want to suspend my bait, mono works great.

When To Use Fluorocarbon

fluorocarbon fishing line

The other option you can use as a leader is fluorocarbon. It’s what I mostly use and it does have a few benefits. Again, it won’t make or break your trip but it should help you out a bit.

The first situation you’d want to use fluorocarbon is when you want your bait to sink. Both braid and mono float but the main difference between them are that fluoro sinks. It’ll help you bait to get down to the bottom where the fish are.

The second situation you’d want to use fluoro is when you don’t want your line to stretch. When you need to get a solid hookset in, you don’t want your line to stretch. This is mostly the case when you’re fishing for bass. You don’t have to worry about ripping the hook out.

The final situation you’d want to use fluoro is when the fish aren’t being aggressive. Fluorocarbon is the hardest line to see in the water and is what you’ll want to use when the bite is slow.

What Monofilament Leader To Use

There are a bunch of different options to pick from and most of them will do the job. The majority of the cheaper monofilament lines will work completely fine, so you don’t need to spend money on a higher quality spool.

If you’re going to be using mono as your main fishing line then you’ll want to get a high-quality line because it’ll have less memory and will perform better. For your leader, it doesn’t really matter. I generally use Berkley Big Game (on AmazonOpens in a new tab.) and it’s always done the job.

The more important thing is what lb test to use. You’ll want to use as light of a line as you can get away with. You wouldn’t want to use 20 lb mono when you’re fishing for rainbow trout. It’s overkill and will probably spook them.

If you’re fishing with fluorocarbon I probably wouldn’t recommend a monofilament leader. There really isn’t any benefit and you’d be better off sticking with a fluoro leader.

If you’re fishing with mono you might want to use a mono leader. If you’re just trolling out in the open then you could just use your main fishing line. If you’re fishing around rocks and docks or are targeting a fish with sharp teeth then you’ll probably want to use a heavier mono leader.

If you’re fishing with braid you’ll definitely want to use a leader. The leader should be lighter than your braid because you normally use heavier than required braided line. If I’m fishing for rainbow trout then I might use 10 lb braid with a 4-6 lb mono leader. If I’m fishing for lake trout then I might use 30 lb braid with a 12-15 lb mono leader.

Let me know your thoughts and any questions you have. Like this article? Feel free to give it a share!

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Jon Webber

I'm by no means an outdoors or fishing expert, but it's something I've been interested in for over 20 years. This site is where I test out different gear and techniques to see what actually works.

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