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Leaders for Monster Fish

By Bob Daly

When preparing for a trip, one of the most important items to consider is which type of leader should I take with. Normally when fishing toothy critters such as golden dorado or tigerfish, heavy nylon coated wire is used. The wire is practically impossible to cut. However it normally has to be crimped which is definitely a weak link in the setup. Mono leaders are also used. The advantage is mono has some stretch so you will not rip the jaws off the fish during a hard strike. Large diameter mono is extremely thick and knots are difficult to tie so crimps are also often used. Mono floats so it is good with topwater lures. However mono can cut easily. Another disadvantage is mono absorbs water so it weakens throughout the day. Fluorocarbon is another choice. It sinks so baits run deeper. It is more abrasion resistant than mono. Mono however is suppler than fluorocarbon so knots are easier to tie. Flu0rocarbon has a refractive index very close to freshwater which means it is practically invisible in water. However, fluorocarbon is expensive when compared to mono. However fluorocarbon is resistant to UV rays making it last much longer than mono. The new kid on the block is leaders make out of Kevlar. Kevlar is 5x stronger than steel. It is very fast sinking and abrasion resistant. It has superior knot strength than either mono or fluorocarbon and you do not have to use crimps. Kevlar has practically zero stretch. However, Kevlar is not UV resistant and can easily be seen in the water.


I have used all of types of leaders mentioned above. For my upcoming trip to Suriname, I am making numerous leaders out of 300lbs Kevlar. However, I have used 300lbs mono leaders for golden dorado and have yet to have one fail me. So the choice is yours. I recommend becoming familiar with all 4 types of leaders and put them to use in different locations depending on size and type of fish you are seeking.

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