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Ideal leader lengths and soft plastic choices

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hi all, 

long time reader, 

i'm transitioning from bait over to the dark side of using soft plastics (land based) and an enjoying it.

I've caught a few ST's, a few small bream etc but like many,...i'm still yet to hook onto a wiley ol' decent sized bream.

my plastics of choice seem to be the popular grubs in motor oil colour, using as light a jig head where possible, while my current lines are 6lb braid, with a 4lb fluro leader, of around a rod length.

my questions are;

1) for bream, on lures, what are peoples preferred leader lengths, and why?

2) is there a particular brand of leader that seems to be the 'go-to' that people use with good results?

any help is much appreciated.


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I started at a rod length of 4lb leader with bream and went up to 2 or even 3 lengths in the last 2-3 years. Can’t say for sure if it made catches go up or just better lure technique learned over time. But I will say that it made my confidence go up a little bit and that can only be a good thing. I run 4lb fluoro. Savage Gear, Black Magic, Sunline FC Rock all have done me well.
You’re probably not doing much wrong, it’s just that bream can be fickle at times and just need to persist. 

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1 hour ago, Softy said:

I've only ever gone a rod length of leader.. Don't like the knot on the spool and possible memory in the leader being wrapped on the spool?

Actually surprised to hear you run that much leader Kuerschie..

I'm the same, I don't like the leader on the spool. The leader has a tendency to want to "spring" off the spool unlike the braid.

I no longer use flurocarbon for leaders and use a good quality monofilament. The price difference between flurocarbon and mono is significant, and I couldn't detect any significant improvement with fluro. I like how mono is more supple and I feel this makes my knots better.

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I'm with @Kuerschie my standard is 4lb and 2-3 rod lengths depending on water clarity. Clear = more, dirty = less. 

I wouldn't over think it thought, heaps of people run a single rod length and brain them. If you run more than a single rod length your leader knot will be on your spool, so suggest learning the FG if you want to go down the path of >1 rod length. 

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well i experimented a little today.

i started with 2 rod lengths of fluro leader.

went to port gawler for a while, got a couple of ST's, then went to garden island for an hour or so and got another 4 ST's.

no bream but got to try out leader lengths, and out fished my father, who had same lures but less leader. ( just lucky perhaps? ).
i understand what some have said regarding the fluro getting a memory once it goes as far back as the spool, but being 4lb fluro it straightened out just by the weight of the lure alone and i did get snagged and busted the leader just above the lure, reducing the leader back to around 1 and half rod lengths,...and this then felt good, resulting in good feel when a ST attempted to bite. Ccasting still felt good and clean so I'm gonna leave it around 1.5 rod lengths for a while to see if i can find the benefits.

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I tie a new leader before every trip, so I hardly get memory on my spool from the fluoro leader. Normally I’ll be fishing within 24 hours of tying the leader so it doesn’t coil up. At the end of the day like TL said, it’s perfectly fine to have 1 rod length leader and you will catch fish like many people do. 
One other option entirely is to go down the route of straight fluorocarbon and getting specific casting fluorocarbon and then no more tying leaders at all. Some pro breamers use them during tournaments when the fish get super picky.

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I like to start a session with the knot just above my finger with my preferred amount of line between rod tip and lure, this is purely on personal preference.

I do well on lures compared to mates who prefer both longer and shorter leaders generally across most targets plus I always seem to be the one getting interesting bycatch, except on bream & yfw though for some unknown and immensely frustrating reason, bream are like my kryptonite for lure fishing, yfw sit at my feet and laugh when I am wading around with a lure tied on, I feel like they're punishing me for smacking them so hard on bait. 

I reckon, within reason, leader length generally has little impact on results.

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3 hours ago, HB tragic said:

And as an aside Scotto James from Messiah Custom Rods in Tasmania has been experimenting and having success with straight through braid ... no leader knot. His info and Youtube clip is certainly worth a read/watch. Regards, HB tragic.


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