The impact of braid on feeder fishing has been one of the success stories in recent years, going from something that only sea anglers used to being on almost every feeder reel that I own. But there’s one other vital ingredient needed to make braid work, and that’s a shockleader.
As the name suggests, this is a length of mono line attached to the end of the braid, intended to cushion the impact of casting long distances with something that has no stretch. Try that without a leader, and lost feeders or broken rod-tips won’t be far around the corner!
Using a leader also means that there’s some stretch on the strike and, when it comes to netting time, you’re playing fish on the mono and not the braid, which in turn means fewer hook-pulls.
Yet I still get asked a lot of questions about leaders. How long a length should I use, what breaking strain is best, and how do I attach it to the braid? The answers as a rule are fairly standard and, once tied on, the robust nature of a leader means you won’t have to change it for a good long while.
Taking the strain
Guru’s Shield leader comes in 8lb, 10lb and 12lb breaking strains. The further you need to cast, or the heavier the feeder, the thicker the leader needs to be. When long casts are needed, I use a 12lb leader, but only 8lb if skimmers are the target.
I’d go for a shockleader of four to six turns of the reel with the feeder in the casting position. Another way to measure the leader is by arm spans. Three and a half of these is my choice, but I appreciate that not all arms are as long as mine!
Check ring width
You need a rod with rings wide enough to let the joining knot pass through without grating on the rings on the cast. Otherwise, a crack-off or a broken tip will result! The key area to check with rods is the quivertip, where the eyes are smallest.
When fishing at short range for skimmers and roach you can use ‘braid direct’, which gives brilliant bite detection but can be very harsh! A soft rod, along with a more refined strike, is a definite must to help avoid bumped fish or broken hooklengths.