Monofilament Fishing Line: Should You Be Using A Leader?

There are a lot of different opinions when it comes to what fishing line to use. One of the more common questions is regarding leaders and in this post, I’m going to be talking about whether or not you need a leader when you’re using monofilament fishing line.

In most cases, you should use a leader when you’re fishing with monofilament. If you’re just fishing for small fish you could get away with using straight mono. If you’re fishing for bigger fish with teeth, you’ll want to use a mono or fluoro leader. It’s generally a good idea to use a slightly heavier line as your leader material to give some more abrasion resistance and act as a shock absorber.

Most of the time, I’ll tend to use the lightest possible monofilament as my main fishing line. It’s going to help with casting and it’s going to not interfere as much with my lure. If I’m going to be using 10 lb mono as my main fishing line, I’ll probably throw 15-20 lbs of mono or fluoro on the end. I’d only use fluoro if I’m fishing ultra-clear water with picky fish.

What Is A Leader Line In Fishing?

A leader is simply a piece of fishing line that goes between your main line and your hook. The two kinds of fishing line you’d use as your leader material would be monofilament and fluorocarbon. Both have their pros and cons but both of them will catch you fish. Mono is going to be cheaper so you should just use that if you’re on a budget.

The first reason you’d want to use a leader with monofilament is that it can be less visible to the fish. It’s not going to matter in a lot of situations but it definitely could if you’re in super clear water where the fish are really picky. Fluorocarbon is harder for them to see so you might want to use it as your leader. It’s not going to make or break your day but I think it does help slightly.

The second reason to use a leader is that it’ll be much more abrasion-resistant. If you’re using 10-20 lb mono, it’s pretty thin stuff and it’ll break fairly easily if the fish bites it or drags it against some rocks. Having a heavier leader will be a lot harder to break and you’ll land more fish. This is especially the case if you’re fishing around structure or an area that has a lot of rocks or coral.

The third reason to use a heavier leader is that it’ll be easier to land the fish. If you’re fishing by yourself it can sometimes be hard to get the fish in the net. You’ll have to just grab the line a lot of the time and having a thicker piece of line to grab will help you out. A thinner line can cut your hands up and it’s another minor reason you’d want that leader.

What Is The Best Leader Line?

You’re going to have two choices when it comes to what leader line to use. If I’m fishing with monofilament line, I’ll mostly use a mono leader. There have been a few times when fluoro worked slightly better but it’s not really that big of a deal.

When it comes to what brand to use, I don’t think it matters too much. Some of them haven’t been as good but the majority of them I’ve tried have been fine. I normally use Berkley Big Game (check the price on Amazon). It comes in a few different colors, comes in a bunch of different strength, and it’s priced well.

If you’re wondering what color to use, it’ll all depend on the water you’re fishing in. I did a test where I compared how a few different colors looked underwater, which you can see here. I normally like to keep things simple and that’s why I’ll stick with the clear color. If you’re in super dirty water, you could use something darker, but I haven’t noticed too much of a difference.

The line strength you’ll want to use will depend on what you’re after. I like keeping my main line as light as possible and then throwing on a slightly heavier leader. If I’m fishing for rainbow trout, I’ll probably use 4 lb for my main line and 6-8 lb for my leader. If I’m ocean fishing, I’ll probably use 20 lb for my main line and 40 lb for my leader.

How To Tie A Leader To Monofilament

You’re going to have two options when it comes to connecting your lines. The first is going to be tying them directly and the second is going to be using a swivel. If you’re using a spinning rod with a lure that spins, you might want to use a swivel to prevent your line from twisting and getting tangled. If that’s not the case, I’ll tie them directly.

I prefer to connect them directly because it keeps things simple and there’s less tackle on my line that could impact my lure. It’s pretty easy to do and there are a bunch of different knots you can pick from. I like using the Albright knot and here’s a video on how to do it:

The Albright knot is good for connecting two lines of different diameters. I don’t know if it’s the best or strongest knot out there but it’s always worked well for me. If you’re using a swivel, you can just tie an ordinary fishing knot and it should hold up nicely.

How Long Should Your Leader Be?

There are a bunch of different opinions when it comes to how long your leader should be. It’s all super minor though and I don’t think it’ll make that much of a difference. Sometimes I’ll have my leader short and other times I’ll have it longer. It depends on what type of fishing I’m doing.

As a general rule, your leader should be between 3-4 feet when you’re connecting mono to mono or fluoro. I’m not saying that’s the right way or only way to do things but it’s what I’ve always done. You can always experiment with your leader length but since you’re going from mono to mono/fluoro, it shouldn’t matter that much.

Until next time, happy fishing. If you want to catch more fish, use more hooks.

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. I created this site to test out different gear and techniques to see what actually works.

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