Louisville, KY - One subject many anglers wrestle with has to do with optimal use of fluorocarbon leaders. There’s when to use leaders, length choices, the best knots to use to attach them to main line, as well as which presentations benefit most from their use. In an attempt to reduce the frequent head scratching we’ve talked with some of Seaguar’s staff of bass pros who share the nuances of their fluorocarbon leader use. Their shared knowledge will no doubt help you in your use of fluorocarbon leaders this season, alleviating much of the confusion that can accompany the topic.
When asked what’s the typical fluorocarbon length he uses, bass pro Brandon Palaniuk responded, “My fluorocarbon leader is typically between 10 and 12 feet long. I don’t have an exact measurement for it, but rather make sure that my knot is in my reel and then I make two more revelations with the reel and cut the leader next to the reel after it travels through the guides and back down the rod.”
With regard to technique, Palaniuk keeps the fluorocarbon length the same for each technique. He says the length of the rod may vary slightly or he will potentially go longer for extremely clear water like lakes or reservoirs with greater than 20 feet of visibility. In terms of the type and test of his preferred fluorocarbon, Palaniuk prefers 6-10 lb. Seaguar Tatsu for his leader material. He says the deciding factor for which pound test will be the type or amount of cover he’s fishing around.
Seaguar pro Brandon Palaniuk
Greg Vinson prefers six to 20 feet leaders depending on “water clarity, depth and technique.” He continues: “For weightless rigs like twitching Netbait T-Macs, flukes or wacky rigs I like to use a 6 to 10 foot Seaguar Tatsu fluorocarbon leader. That helps to get the most sensitivity but more importantly helps to get a solid hookset, which can be a challenge with weightless rigs, especially when the hook is Texposed, like a fluke. But I will also use a shorter leader with heavier fluorocarbon like 10 to 15 pound test. And in deeper, clear water I prefer a longer 20 foot leader for drop shotting, vertical rigs (Damiki), and especially when casting a finesse swimbait to suspended fish. Sometimes I feel that the leader-main line connection passing through a group of suspended fish can be a turn off if it’s too close to the bait, especially in clear water and heavily pressured waters. That’s when a 20 foot leader really excels. Although the leader is long, the braid on the spool lessens the amount of overall stretch and absorbs the line twist after hours of dropping or casting.”
John Garret says his preferred go-to leader length when fishing the stained waters in the southern states is usually about six feet of Seaguar Tatsu 8 lb. fluorocarbon. What he likes about that length is the leader knot is not in your guides when you cast and in most water conditions it’s enough that fish do not see your braid. “This length also allows for the maximum hook driving power which is a big key when throwing a spinning rod and fishing shakey heads, weightless worms, small lures with treble hooks, and casting drop shot rigs.”
Seaguar pro John Garrett
However, if he’s fishing clear northern waters or dropping directly down on fish Garret will up his fluorocarbon leader length to 15 feet depending on how deep and clear he’s fishing. “That still gives you plenty of fluorocarbon leader that the fish don’t see your braided line. And the majority of the time you’re fishing deep clear water you’re using a smaller size wire hook, so you do don’t need as much hook driving power. You have a little more give from the leader length.”
Bass pro Matt Lee’s typical fluorocarbon leader length is about 10 feet or 8 lb. Seaguar Tatsu fluorocarbon. He says that length typically keeps the Albright Knot out of the spool to prevent the knot from catching a rod guide when casting. However, he sometimes ups the length of the Seaguar Tatsu fluorocarbon he uses in southern stained waters on lakes with greater visibility, going as long as 20 feet with 8 lb. and switching to an FG knot to connect to his main line braid. “There are some situations when I might go up to 10 lb. Tatsu, but I don’t ever need to go heavier than that.”
Seaguar pro Matt Lee
Whether you’re fishing stained waters or clear, fluorocarbon leaders can definitely help up your bass fishing odds. As cited above, tons of techniques clearly benefit for their uses, no pun intended. And if you were confused about the right leader length, test weight, and knots to use, the shared tips should help you fish more strategically when it comes to incorporating fluorocarbon into your bass fishing regimen!
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