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Mako shark

When Shark fishing in the UK it’s usual to use some sort of wire trace to prevent bite offs from the shark’s sharp teeth. Many anglers are new to fishing for sharks and are unsure as to what wire is best for shark fishing. After reading this article you will be able to choose the best wire for shark fishing in the UK.

The Importance of Using the Best Shark Fishing Wire

It’s worth considering the merits of the most commonly used types of fishing wire; single strand wire, uncoated 49 strand wire cable and nylon coated wire cable. Cable is the term for multiple wire strands twisted together.

Like many things it’s a trade off. For a given breaking strain single strand fishing wire will have the greatest bite resistance and the smallest diameter, but will also have the greatest tendency towards kinking. At the opposite end of the scale 49 strand cable will have the least bite resistance and the largest diameter, but will have the greatest resistance to kinking.

As a rule, the more strands in a cable the more flexible and kink resistant it becomes. However the diameter also increases significantly and it is more likely that during a prolonged fight a shark will gradually be able to cut through the individual strands making up the cable.


Leadertec stocks the following wire for shark fishing.

49 strand wire cable

The most popular wire for shark fishing is our Leadertec Pro rigger 49 strand wire cable. Made from 304 stainless steel it’s strong, flexible and economical. 

Don’t be tempted to use very thin wire of 1.0 mm or less as it can cut into the shark when it rolls during the fight and cause severe damage to the fish. For blue shark fishing the 1.2 mm / 250 lb 49 strand wire is a good choice but this can be increased to 1.6 mm / 480 lb when porbeagle, thresher or mako sharks are a possibility. Specialist UK shark anglers use our 2 mm / 1000 lb wire for fishing for six gill sharks in deep water.

A 4 foot bite leader joined to 12 Feet of 300 lb / 1.6 mm nylon monofilament will be suitable for most UK shark fishing but should be stepped up to all wire 20 – 25 Feet length when mako or thresher shark are expected.

nylon coated fishing wire

Nylon coated wire cable

Nylon coated cable is a pleasant material to use. Cheap to buy, relatively small in diameter and easy to work with. It can easily be joined with copper sleeves and in smaller sizes it is very popular with specialist tope anglers.

This is our preferred wire for blue shark fishing. We use a 4 foot bite leader of 1.3 mm diameter / 450 lb breaking strain nylon coated wire joined to 12 Feet of 300 lb / 1.6 mm nylon monofilament to resist abrasion from the sharks’ rough skin. The nylon surface coating does get damaged by fish teeth though and you may find that you have to cut back the end of the leader after catching a fish. By starting with a 4 foot leader we can keep cutting the leader back until it is only 12 – 15 Inches long before replacing.

Our 1000 lb nylon coated wire is also used by many land based shark fishermen in the US & Australia. Many shark anglers believe that the nylon coating prevents sharks from detecting stray electrical current with their sensitive electrical receptors called the Ampullae of Lorenzini.

Malin Single strand wire

Whilst single strand leader wire is commonly used for lure fishing it’s not as popular for shark fishing as it used to be and is mostly used for specialist shark rigging techniques. That said, it can be a useful product to have in your shark fishing armoury.

Check out our store for the widest range of shark fishing tackle and feel  free to ask for advice. We’re here to help you.

Malin single strand wire

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