Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

If you use a leader, do you go for clear or coloured?

Yes, some stuff gets into my head and churns around - I am not going to debate the pros and cons of a leader or no leader, and fluoro versus mono is for another time. I like using a leader for various reasons and while I continue to fish with braid, I will keep on using one. What is churning around in my head is whether loads of us simply assume (blindly?) that a clear leader is the way to go for bass fishing, when, as per lure colours, do we really have much of a clue what fish can and can't see? I used to have a healthy addiction to mullet fishing, and virtually all I ever learnt about it was down to a few very kind and hugely talented Plymouth based anglers - and without a doubt, most of the guys would go for a dark hooklength over a clear one.

I can distinctly remember going to the sewer pipe (now gone) at Hope's Nose for my first time and using a clear hooklength and struggling. Now of course I was in my early days of learning about mullet fishing and I expected to be comprehensively outfished, but when I dissected the session on the way back home with the guy who took us up there (best mullet angler I've ever seen, period), it came out that he would always use a dark coloured hooklength - and for the most part it was that cheap as chips but dependable (brown) Daiwa Sensor, used both as a mainline and a hooklength, and yes, I still have a couple of spools of the stuff in my mullet bumbag.

I remember trying again and again with clear or white coloured hooklengths for mullet and always reverting back to a brown colour because they seemed to show a preference for the dark stuff. But surely logic says that with a fish as wary as a mullet, it would be the clear hooklength that they felt most confident around? Well I suppose human logic says to us that it's got to be the clear lines that are most invisible in clear water, but yet again for me it comes down to what the hell do we know what the fish are really seeing?

It's always stuck in my head how we had more success with dark coloured hooklengths, so it's natural of course that those experiences have to now come around to my obsession with lure fishing for bass, and especially when I am going through a period of questioning my leader strengths/diameters/material/colours etc. It strikes me that most anglers who tie on a leader for their lure fishing seems to use a clear one, but is that the right decision? As with scaling down for visible bass that I was on about the other day, can the colour of a leader make a difference to our catches? Nope, I don't believe that this is some kind of magical solution to enable a heap more fish, but I am not one for standing still and doing the same thing over and over - it's in my nature to question stuff. Why not?

A very good bass angler won't use braid as a mainline because he believes he loses too many big bass on it - whether I agree or disagree with that is besides the point, because what got my brain bouncing was the fact that this guy often uses a dark coloured mono mainline around a 12lb breaking strain straight through to a lure clip. Is that deliberate or is it simply what mono he can get his hands on? Well I've never asked to be honest.

Now he's a better angler than I am, and I'm perfectly comfortable with that - me and fishing are not competitive, and I am into learning rather than sulking - but the more I think about it, the more I can't help but wonder if at times that dark coloured mainline (which by virtue of being the mainline is also acting as a leader/hooklength) has helped with taking good fish in bright, clear conditions. I can remember multiple good fish this guy has had in what we would term tough bass fishing conditions, and with regards to my mullet fishing experiences, I am wondering if the colour of a leader can possibly have something to do with it? Any of you have any thoughts or experiences of this kind of thing, because I would be really interested to hear about them - please leave a comment below etc. Or does colour and/or diameter of leader simply not matter at all? Perhaps I should try and stop waking up so early with my bouncing brain syndrome.............

And of course, roll on Saturday afternoon and England v The mighty All Blacks. As much as I love watching the Kiwis play rugby, the fact is that this close to the World Cup next year and we need to be beating these teams. Can we do it? I can't tell you how much I hope so, but I can't help but worry about how settled the 2003 winning side was - and also how those heroes went down to the southern hemisphere and beat the All Blacks in their own back yard. Do you remember when we only had thirteen men on the field but held on for the win? Was that when you believed through and through that we could go on to the win the World Cup? Magical times, but can they be repeated? Come on England!!

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