Why Use A Leader When Fishing? Purpose & Benefits

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If you’re an avid angler, something that you’re probably well aware of is that using a fishing line leader can be very beneficial. If you are a newbie and you don’t know what a leader is, then you have no idea what you’re missing out on. Leaders are used very often so they have to be beneficial, right? So why use a leader when fishing?

A good leader to help protect your main fishing line from damage caused by rocks, other obstacles, and yes, sharp fish teeth too. Some types of fishing line can be extremely easy for fish to see, and if you use the right kind of leader, it can help hide your line from sight.

Do You Have To Use A Leader When Fishing?

No, you absolutely do not have to use a leader when fishing, and in fact very many people don’t, especially newbies who are just fishing for a bit of fun.

Let’s put it this way, although there is no law or fishing regulation that says that you must absolutely use a leader, it is a good idea to do so.

As you’re about to find out below, there are a few different benefits associated with using a leader for fishing.

Books there are many things in this world that you don’t absolutely have to do by law, but are still beneficial if you do them, and yes, using a leader for fishing is definitely one of those things. 

What Are The Benefits of Using Leading Lines?

So, if it is not a legal requirement for you to use a leader when fishing, then why would you waste your money on one?

Well, the simple answer here is that it’s definitely not a waste of money, because it does come with quite a few different benefits.

In fact, there are three main benefits of fishing with a leader that we want to take a look at right now.

1. Increased Toughness

One of the main benefits of using a leader when fishing as that it allows for added durability.

Although some fishing lines are made quite tough, the simple reality is that they just don’t do well with prolonged scraping against rocks, shells, and reefs, and they don’t handle being bitten to shreds by fish very well either.

Using something like a good wire leader can help prevent your line from snapping if it scrapes against the rock or is bitten by a fish, thus allowing you to reel in your catch and not lose that expensive lure. 

2. Decreased Visibility

Another big benefit of using a leader when fishing is that it can help to greatly decrease the visibility of your fishing line.

This is particularly effective when using braided line, which happens to be extremely visible to fish.

If you use a good 18 or 24 inch length of leader, it can help to disguise that braided line from fish so it does not scare them away.

Being as low visibility as possible is extremely important when it comes to not scaring away those frightful fish. 

3. Ease of Changing Lures & Hooks

The other benefit that you get from using a leader when fishing is the fact that they come complete with little clip systems in the front that make it much easier to change lures and hooks.

Instead of having to re-tie your hook or lure onto a new piece of fishing line every single time, all you have to do is unhook the old one and clip the new one into the leader.

How Do You Use A Fishing Leader?

This might all sound a bit complicated to you, but the simple reality is that using a fishing leader is actually quite easy.

Generally speaking, all you have to do is to tie one end of your fishing line to the leader, and then you can hook your lures and baits into the leader.

The only thing that you really need to know how to do here is how to tie the knot that will connect the fishing line to the leader.

Make no mistake about it because the type of knot you used for this task is going to make a big difference. If you use the wrong kind of not or, you just don’t tie it well, you were quite literally going to lose that leader the second it goes into the water.

Now, explaining exactly how to tie a fishing knot using words is much easier said than done. So, what we have done here is included a short tutorial video on how to tie a leader to a main line.

Take a look at the tutorial video that we have included below for a simple step by step instructional;


Types Of Leaders

types of leader lines

Although undoubtedly just a coincidence, what is interesting to note is that just like there are three main benefits of using a leader when fishing, there are also three main types of leaders that you need to know about.

You have your standard monofilament leaders, your standard fluorocarbon monofilament leaders, and your wire leaders.

Let’s take a closer look at each one so you know what you’re getting into.

Standard Monofilament Leaders

Standard monofilament leaders use one strand of a strong and very thinly spun line.

This type of leader is known for being very resistant to abrasion, they have a bit of stretch, they absorb a little bit of sunlight, and they also absorb a little bit of water.

Now, standard fault monofilament leaders are fairly cheap to purchase, and they’re also quite flexible. Not to mention that they are very easy to tie knots with.

Due to their slight stretchiness, they are great at absorbing impacts when fighting fish.

That said, this ability to stretch can also make it hard to peel nibbles from smaller fish.

Moreover, because this type of line absorbs most UV light and water, it does degrade fairly quickly.

Course one of the biggest advantages here is that this type of leader is very low visibility.

Fluorocarbon Monofilament Leaders

Fluorocarbon monofilament leaders are fairly similar to standard monofilament leaders, but they are made with much higher quality materials.

Fluorocarbon leaders don’t really stretch very much, so it’s much easier to feel smaller bites, but with that being said, due to this increase stretchiness, they don’t handle impacts from big fish quite as well.

That said, due to the special material which is used in the making of fluorocarbon monofilament leaders, they are extremely resistant to abrasion, and they also have fairly good knot strength.

On that same note, this type of leader also does not absorb water or UV light and is therefore much more durable overall.

When compared to standard monofilament leaders, the only real disadvantage that you get with fluorocarbon monofilament leaders is the fact that they are a bit more expensive, and that they may sink in water too.

Wire Leader

OK, so as you can probably guess, wire leader is made out of metal wire, and yes, it is silver and shiny.

So, right off the bat, one of the big disadvantages is that you get with wire leader is that it is actually very visible.

In fact, wire leader is probably more visible than any kind of fishing line or leader that you may use.

However, with that being said, wire leader is also extremely strong, much stronger than any of the others we have talked about, and much stronger than any kind of fishing line that you could have on your reel.

Therefore, if you’re trying to catch very big fish with sharp teeth that will eat through any other kind of line or leader than your only real option to go with is a wire leader.


Should Leaders be Stronger than the Main Line?

Generally speaking, about 90% of the time your leader should actually be lighter and thinner than your main line.

With this, of course, being because one of the main purposes of a leader is to disguise your main line.

Therefore, if what you’re going for is Logan’s ability, it would make absolutely no sense to use a larger leader than your line.

That being said, if you are using a model filament or fluorocarbon leader, and you are fishing by rocks and other obstacles or you are targeting fish with very sharp teeth that tend to be big time biters, then you do want to use a leader that is much stronger than the main line.

As you can tell, it really depends on what your purpose is. If your main goal is to reduce visibility, then a smaller leader is required.

However, if what you were going for is they can durability, then a large and thick leader is what you want to go for.

When Should I Use Wire Leader for Fishing?

If you are going for large species of fish that are predatory in nature, had very large teeth, and are known for biting, then you will want to use a wire leader, and this is the case whether you’re going for freshwater or saltwater fish.

When it comes to fish that are known for biting through line, you do want to go for a wire leader.

Using a wire leader will ensure that big fish cannot bite through your line and cause you to lose your hook and lure, and yes, the fish too. 

Can Fish See Wire Leaders?

Due to the fact that wire leaders are silver and shiny, the unfortunate reality is that fish can usually see them and this is the case in most water conditions.

Therefore, if you’re going for fish that are easily spooked, a wider leader is probably not the best thing to go with.


As you can see, using a leader for fishing can be extremely beneficial and, in most cases, it is recommended.

Of course, there is no law stating that you absolutely have to use the leader, but that said, there also aren’t any laws stating that chocolate ice cream is delicious, which as we all know, it is.