CHOOSING THE MOST SUITABLE LEADER MATERIAL
It’s usual in saltwater fishing to use a leader at the end of the main fishing line to resist abrasion from the fishing environment (rocks, coral etc ) and from the fish themselves (jaws, sharp gill plates, rough bills of sailfish and marlin etc ).
IGFA rules allow the use of a leader up to 15 feet (4.57 metres ) long in line classes up to 20 lb (10 kg) and up to 30 feet (9.14 metres ) in line classes over 20 lb (10 kg).
Single strand wire
Multi strand cable
For: Supple, easy to knot or crimp (although slightly more difficult to knot than nylon), more abrasion resistant than nylon, less visible than nylon underwater, UV and temperature resistant
Against: Poor resistance to teeth, expensive to buy. Large diameter compared to wire or cable of similar breaking strain.
Tinned or galvanised wire (music wire)
Australian crews often use music wire (they call it ‘Gal’, short for Galvanised wire) when fishing dead baits for giant black marlin along the Great Barrier Reef. They find that a small amount of surface corrosion on the wire enables them to more firmly grip the leader with wetted gloves when leadering a big fish alongside the boat.
Multi strand cable
Multi strand stainless steel cable is very widely used around the world wherever toothy fish may pick up the bait or lure.
Nylon coated cable is a pleasant material to use. Relatively small in diameter and easy to work with. The coatings are available in a variety of colours in case that sort of thing’s important to you, and it’s equally suited to fishing with lures or baits and can easily be joined with brass or copper sleeves.
Uncoated 49 strand stainless steel cable is the most commonly used cable in higher breaking strains. It’s equally suited to fishing with lures or baits, can easily be joined with brass or copper sleeves and is highly kink resistant.