Henry Gilbey
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If you use a fluoro or mono leader for your lure fishing, what influences your choice of leader material, and does a more expensive line make much difference?

I asked a similar question on my Facebook page yesterday, and what came out in the wash was plenty of anglers kindly telling me about the specific brands of leader material they fish with. I am in the fluoro camp for leader material and I have fished with a fair few over the years now. To be fair I can only recall actively disliking a couple of them, but funnily enough I have not yet tried what seemed to be the most talked about two fluoros on that FB discussion - and it’s interesting to note that these two lines are at somewhat different ends of the price scale yet the anglers who raved about them talked a lot about how much they trust these different leaders. Surely that’s the most important thing?

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Okay, so Facebook is merely a snapshot of fishing in general, but it’s great when I can get good and active discussions going. I was surprised that two fluoro leaders I have fished with a lot didn’t even get a mention yesterday, and I am not about to go into why certain fluorocarbon leaders are a lot more expensive than other ones - because it doesn’t really matter to us anglers is we use something that works well and we end up trusting it. Depending on where and how you lure fishing will of course dictate how much abuse your leader goes through, and please, this is categorically not a use or don’t use a leader thing - it’s up to you, although I will always refute the non-leader advocates saying that a leader is a potential weak spot in one’s setup. Use a properly tied FG knot between leader and braid and you have one hell of a strong link, end of.

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Anyway, over the years I have used the top of their range Sufix Invisiline fluorocarbon a lot now, and I think it’s some seriously nice, high-end leader material. Has it caught me more bass than a cheaper leader though? I’d love to say yes because of how well it knots and sits and stands up to abrasion, but honestly? Nope, and for whatever reason it has always seemed to be hard to find here in the UK, which when combined with the price of it might explain why not one single angler mentioned it on my Facebook page yesterday. There were a few mentions of the much cheaper and very good Sufix Super 21 FC fluorocarbon which is in fact a fluoro mainline but I found out that it also works really well as a leader material.

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I have really liked Varivas lines ever since I first started lure fishing with their incredible Varivas Avani Sea Bass Max Power PE braid some years ago now, and I have also used a number of their fluorocarbons as well. The one that I have a serious thing for and have been using a lot now over the last year and a bit is the Varivas Hard Top fluorocarbon. I like it because it isn’t at all expensive for what I am getting, and yes, I do like it when a spool of leader material has more than say 50m of line on it rather than these 20m or 30m spools. I like to change my leaders on a regular basis, and especially when I have been lure fishing over some properly rough ground, and I like my leaders to have a bit of stiffness to them which I think helps with working my lures. I am sure I am in the same boat as you when I say that a fluoro leader needs to feel good in my hands as well. So I really like this Varivas Hard Top fluorocarbon, but interestingly I don’t think it got a mention on my FB discussion yesterday. Do anglers simply not know about this particular leader material? Please note that I do affiliate link now with Veals Mail Order who I have known for many years, but as far as I can tell they are the only people in the UK properly doing Varivas lines so if you don’t ever shop on their website I guess you won’t easily come across the Varivas name.

I would hazard a guess that most of you here have heard of Seaguar fluorocarbon, indeed I believe they are the company that literally invented the stuff - but for whatever reason I can’t recall ever having fished with any of their fluoros. The one fluoro leader which was mentioned again and again yesterday was Seaguar Ace Hard, and there was universal praise for the stuff whenever it was talked about. It’s not a cheap line, but then “proper” fluorocarbons never are, and I have heard so much positive stuff about this particular leader material over a number of years now so for me it’s a given that we are talking about something really good here.

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And then the other fluorocarbon that was mentioned and praised a lot yesterday was the nice and cheap Berkley Trilene Fluorocarbon. Anglers were talking about how this stuff just refuses to let them down, and when I think back to bait fishing with that bloody good Berkley Trilene Big Game mono mainline, I remember how it was like rope with how it just refused to break! Again though, I have never used the Berkley Trilene Fluorocarbon, but with how much it was praised yesterday I intend to rectify that. I wonder what the Berkley Big Game Fluorocarbon is like which comes on 100m spools for very little money as well?

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I have recently come across a Spanish fishing tackle brand called Yuki who are getting their fluorocarbon leaders made by the mighty Seaguar, and I have it on good authority that their top of the range Seaguar/Yuki “Neox” fluoro is the best quality fluorocarbon that Seaguar can currently make. I have had a look around and it’s some reassuringly expensive stuff, but I trust my source and his information. The one Seaguar/Yuki collaboration I am most interested in is the “ZR Sea Bass” fluorocarbon leader that comes on 150m spools for some sensible money, and whilst it may or may not make much difference to you how a leader comes off a spool AND can be easily secured without requiring a frigging degree in mechanical engineering to prevent it unravelling off the spool, the way that these Seaguar/Yuki ZR Sea Bass spools work are in my opinion the simplest and best way. I have some here to try and I will report back in due course. It’s not an easy leader material to track down yet in the UK, but hopefully that might change.

Anyway, so there you go. I wasn’t really planning to write a blog post about leader material, but after so much interesting feedback on my Facebook page yesterday I thought it would be helpful to feed stuff back to you people on here who might not do the social media thing. I did try lure fishing without a fluoro or indeed mono leader for a little bit last year, but for a few reasons I just didn’t really like it. I also do like a nice bright braid mainline and I don’t exactly feel entirely comfortable having nothing clear between braid and lure clip. As I said, my days of worrying about my mainline to leader connection disappeared the day I found out about and learnt how to tie the FG knot………...

Rather than me spend more time linking to my reviews of the various items of fishing tackle mentioned in this blog post, you can find them all here, linked to within the various tackle categories.

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Disclosure - if you buy anything using links found in this blog post or around my website, I may make a commission. It doesn’t cost you any more to buy via these affiliate links - and please feel entirely free not to do so of course - but it will help me to continue producing content. Thank you.