Pike leader: steel vs. fluoro vs. titanium
An important thing that every angler learns at some point in his fishing life is that pike have particularly sharp teeth and tend to cut the fishing line with these during the fight. Therefore, whenever you expect to catch pike, you should always use a bite proof leader. The choice of the right material is also a matter of faith. The most common is the classic steel leader, which is absolutely safe and brings even the biggest pike safely to shore during the fight. There are also other materials such as titanium or hard mono that are considered to be safe for pike. In the following article we would like to explain the differences between the individual leaders in more detail.
Which leader for pike fishing?
Fluorocarbon leaders are a common standard nowadays. The big advantage of this material is that it is almost invisible under water and therefore will not keep any fish from biting. Another advantage is that the material also has a very good flexibility, which is especially desirable when fishing with jerkbaits. However, conventional fluorocarbon is not bite resistant – especially for large pike with razor-sharp teeth. The question arises to what extent one wants to combine a higher bite rate with a low catch rate.
The good news is that pike-proof Fluorocarbon leaders are also available. As a rule, fluorocarbon leaders are considered pike-proof when they have a material thickness of 0.8 millimetres or more. But this is the big disadvantage of these leaders – with such a thickness they are very difficult and unruly to knot, which makes it very difficult to knot your own leader.
Hardmono comes very close to fluocarbon and is basically a thicker and stronger version of the normal monofilament line. There are also pros and cons, which are similar to those of pike-proof fluorocarbon.
Because even hardmono is relatively difficult to knot from a certain thickness and also the flexibility is not so good anymore.
Steel is still considered the best material for pike leaders. Mostly they consist of several steel threads which are linked together to achieve an even higher load capacity with the same material thickness. Steel leaders will certainly never be bitten through by a pike. However, they are relatively visible under water – which has very little effect when fishing for pike, as they don’t see very well anyway.
Using a steel leader can have a devastating effect on potential by-catches. Whether zander or perch – some other predators are easily deterred by a clearly visible leader.
Another big disadvantage is the flexibility. Once bent, the steel leader cannot really bend back into its original position very well, which always leaves a small irregularity in the line. In this case the leader almost always has to be replaced, because the lure can also run very unclean.
Titanium leaders can achieve a similar load capacity as steel leaders with the same diameter. They are also a bit more inconspicuous, as they are usually thinner for the same carrying capacity. But they are very stiff, which makes the lures easy to handle, but makes it a bit more difficult to build titanium leaders yourself. The cost of a titanium leader is high, but it is almost indestructible, so in the long run titanium leaders should be a cheaper option than steel leaders.
Without leader / with spinning rod
Especially when fishing with plugs some anglers swear by so-called spinning rods. These are rigid rods which are the connection between the lure and the main line. This avoids tangling the line with the lure. However, a big disadvantage is that other artificial lures such as rubber fish or spinners cannot be guided well, which means that they cannot be used with spinning rods.