Shockleaders- How & When to use them!

by jason yau

Shockleader– is a length of line added to the end of your mainline for one of several reasons. In this blog I will going into detail about the reasons why you may choose to use one.

When casting a lead the force created can snap your line mid-cast if it is not strong enough- there is a simple way to know what strength of line you should use depending on the weight of lead you are using. It is recommended that you should use a line rated 10lb x (the amount of weight in ounces you are casting) eg.

  • 10lb line = 1oz lead
  • 20lb line = 2oz lead
  • 30lb line = 3oz lead
  • 40lb line = 4oz lead
  • 50lb line = 5oz lead

And so on… By using this formula it will prevent the lead from ‘cracking off’ mid-cast- this extremely important when fishing in a built up area as if your lead was to crack off it could damage surrounding property or injure a passer-by. It will also stop you losing your: bait, rig and lead!

This is only one of the many benefits of a shockleader. Using a shockleader means that you can use a much lighter mainline- especially if you use ‘mono’. By using a lower diameter line much less drag is created in flowing water; this eliminates the large bow in the line which so often occurs in rivers and channels. Another benefit of using a lower diameter mainline is less drag is created when casting- resulting in a further cast, this is especially important when those few extra yards mean the difference of blanking or ‘bagging’. 

There is an alternative to using a shockleader which is: using a heavy line straight through as your mainline. Ofcourse most monofilament lines will have far too great a diameter to use straight through- this is when braid can become a better alternative- as a good quality 50lb braid can be as low as 0.18mm. I will create another blog about the pros and cons of braid at a later time. 

There are different shockleaders available to use- most people still choose to use 50-80lb of a good quality monofilament line, such as Asso Ultraflex. When applying the shockleader the length should be: twice the length of the rod plus around 5 turns around the reel. It is also worth tying a link clip at the end of the reel to attach your rigs, this saves the need for cutting and retying each time you go. Another popular choice is a tapered shockleader– this type of leader comes in pre-prepared lengths (usually around 15m) and starts at a low diameter (usually around 0.35) and gradually tapers upto a thicker diameter around 0.8mm. The benefit of using this type of leader is that your leader knot will be much smaller in size, a large knot will catch against the rod eyes and can reduce the distance of your cast also a large knot will catch more weed and rubbish is the tide. It is worth baring in mind these factors when choosing which type of leader is best for you.

Image result for asso ultraflex

Shockerleader are available in many different colours. A lot of the time it just comes down to personal choice- you may want the colour your leader to match the colour of your mainline. If you are fishing murky water your choice colour will make little, to no, difference. However if you fish gin clear water or for species like bass or mullet it may be worth using a colourless leader to increase your catch rate. Fluorocarbon may be worth considering if you are targeting one of these species in clear water- I will talk about the uses of fluorocarbon in a later blog. But for now understand that fluorocarbon is virtually invisible in water as it has a very similar refractive index to it. See the source image

Last but certainly not least- the choice of shockleader knot. The most popular ones are: a basic leader knot, a uni to uni knot, an albright special and the FG knot- all have their uses and perfect applications, I highly recommend that you watch YouTube videos on all of them and practice each of them and make your own mind up. Different knots work better with different materials and diameters. That being said I personally prefer the uni to uni knot due to it’s easiness to tie, it’s non-slip design and it works well with all diameters of line. But be sure to check them all out and make your own mind up on which is best for you and your style of fishing.

See the source image

Be sure to keep and eye out for future blogs, thank you.