Should You Use a Leader With Braided Line?

Should I Use a Leader with Braided Line?

One of the most common questions that novices usually have is whether they should use a leader with a braided line.

Surprisingly, this isn’t a simple question because it depends on a number of different factors.

It’s a question that sparks intense argument on both sides.

A leader can definitely be of worthy help in certain conditions. Alternatively, it is not essential, and in some conditions, it can actually hinder rather than help. It is ultimately up to the preference of the fisherman. 

This article will explain whether a leader is a necessity to use with a braided line and explore how separate situations influence this choice. We also discuss the benefits of a braided line and whether these apply when used with a leader.

Role of a Leader

Many novices may be wondering what the specific role of a leader is.

There are many types of leaders available, but they all share the common purpose of making your line look more natural to the fish.

For a braided line, we recommend using fluorocarbon or mono line leader. Both of these materials are designed to make your line look more natural to fish and help you to get more bites.

However, not every situation will require a leader and the role of a leader isn’t an exact science. It takes experience in different types of waters to determine the effectiveness of adding a leader.

Below, we will take a look at the various benefits of using a leader with a braided line.


Firstly, the question depends on the type of waters that you are fishing in.

A leader is far more effective when fishing in clear water. Fish can very easily see your line, and generally, a leader will be able to provide a better cloak of invisibility and allow you to get more bites.

For topwater, it is generally better to abstain from using a leader. This extra weight that a leader provides is a hindrance rather than a help in topwater.

Benefits of using a Leader

There are various benefits that can be gained when using fluorocarbon or mono leader with a braided line.

Ideal For Clear Water Conditions

A leader has obvious benefits when used in clear water. Fish are highly perceptive to the line when it is used in this water, and therefore a leader can help to camouflage this. Fish can take far longer to recognize your line, and this makes catching them far easier.

Allows Longer Wind Casting

Windy conditions present a challenge when fishing as it can keep your line straight rather than drifting towards the wind. The extra weight can help your line stay on course. It can also help to make more efficient use of the cast as none will be wasted by getting caught in the wind. A leader is highly recommended for windy conditions because it can dramatically improve your casting potential.

Saving Line

Most fishermen will be familiar with the pain of getting stuck in a structure. Whether it be a tree, some rocks, or something else; many are aware of the frustration that arises when they inevitably get stuck.

The use of a leader can greatly impact on how much this frustration impacts the entire fishing trip. A braided line poses some unique issues in that it cannot be simply snapped back when it is stuck.

Usually, a large blockage will mean giving the entire line up. This can potentially lead to losing a significant amount of line, which can ruin the entire outing.

You are more likely than not to catch onto something and using a leader provides protection against losing a large amount of line. It allows you to remove a smaller piece of line and carry on fishing.

The alternative can be to needlessly try to rescue the line which can cause further damage to the reel or rod. A key benefit of using a leader on a braided line is the protection it gives for incidents where the line gets stuck.

Benefits of Going Without a Leader

However, there are also key benefits of going without a leader. Certain types of situations will actually favor a braided line without any attachments.

Effective for Top Water

A leader may be effective in clear water; however, this drastically changes in topwater. The lack of a leader can make fishing more effective in topwater conditions. You can still use a leader in these conditions, but the necessity of one is greatly reduced.

Top Water Fishing

Throwing Thinner Line

A lack of a leader allows you to throw a thinner line. A thin diameter braided line is far from visible and can be effective in many conditions. A leader undoubtedly makes your line thicker, so this must be taken into account.

Further Casting

The presence of a leader usually limits your casting. However, when the rods are solely guiding you, it means you can cast further since there is a removal of the chance of the knot hitting the guides. Furthermore, for those using baitcasters, there can be less backlash if a leader is not used.

Fewer Snags

You will usually encounter fewer snags when a leader is not used.

It’s important to remember that adding a leader inevitably adds a further weak spot to your line. It’s irrelevant as to the specific type of spot you choose to go with.

The addition of a leader means an extra component in your whole setup and another aspect of your fishing arsenal that you have to be watchful of.

You must weight up the pros and cons of adding this component to your entire fishing setup.

Hookup Ratio

Hookup ratio is one of the most important considerations to keep in mind when considering the pros and cons of using a leader with your braided line.

It’s the hits and misses of fishing.

Ultimately, the main question is whether using a leader with a braided line will increase hookup ratios.

The answer to this is it depends on the specific conditions.

There is no objective consensus; however, it is evident that a leader used in clear water conditions will usually improve this ratio. It is important to remember that the hookup ratio can vary significantly even between different trips in the same conditions.

A leader can make a viable difference, but it won’t be the only factor that makes or breaks your overall hookup ratio.

Other Questions

What About a High Visibility Braided Line?

A high visibility braided line presents its own unique dilemmas.

A neon line will be particularly visible to the fishes, and it is highly recommended to alleviate some of this extra visibility. A leader can be useful in this situation to hide the bait better; however, you can also use a sharpie to color in the portion of your line that is above the lure.

This works as an effective camouflage to fish that may have been warded away by the visibility of the line.

Fluorocarbon or Mono?

The decision over the material of the leader can also be important.

Both fluorocarbon and mono are recommended materials to use as leaders on a braided line.

Mono is made from nylon material and is designed to be abrasion and UV resistant. The material is often pre-stretched to make it to more durable.

Fluorocarbon is essentially invisible in the water. To add, it has sinking properties which mono and braid do not.

It’s a myth that leaders can completely hide your line from fish. Mono is reliable and cheap, whereas Fluorocarbon provides a better feel for the lure and has better resistance to abrasion.

Your material of choice should reflect on your individual fishing goals and type of water. Both of these materials are suitable to use as leaders on a braided line.

What Are the Advantages of a Braided Line?

The braided line continues to be one of the most popular fishing lines in recent times.

There are a number of reasons for why this line is so frequently used. The synthetic material used on these lines is usually durable and strong which makes casting far easier. Braided lines are far harder to damage than other lines, and the chances of line breakage are greatly reduced. However, it can still go bad.

The reel life can also be substantially longer if proper maintenance is followed. A braided line is a fantastic option for a number of fishing conditions, and its longevity makes it a worthwhile purchase for every fishing enthusiast.

Final Thoughts

The debate over using a leader with your braided line is one that continues to go on. There are fierce and valid arguments on both sides.

In overall terms, a leader can really help in certain conditions or situations. However, it is not always essential, and in some scenarios, it can actually hinder rather than help.

This article will have answered your questions and will have allowed you to make an informed decision as to the usage of a leader with a braided line. In general, we think the use of a leader with a braided line is recommended but not essential and of course dependent on the conditions.


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