How Long Should A Leader Line Be?

There are some situations in which short leader lines can prove to be more useful, while others in which longer ones might be more beneficial.

A leader line should ideally be between 12 (30 cm) and 45 inches (115 cm). This can result in a short, medium or long leader line, although there are many factors that you should account for the length of the leader line, such as bait, type of line, casting, visibility, friction, stretch and knots.

How Long Should A Leader Line Be?

If you want to understand more about the ideal length of a leader line, you can go through the following sections.

Different Lengths For Leader Lines

Leader lines length can be categorized as:

1. Short

Short leader lines can be suitable if you want to use some other equipment like spoons or if you are carrying out shallow fishing.

Power baits and short leader lines usually go well together, resulting in a more effective catch.

In general, shorter leader lines are around 12-25 inches (30-63 cm) in length.

This can be ideal if the distance you want to cover is not too much either, not to mention that the casting process can be easier for you to carry out.

Additionally, if you are out fishing in a small boat or canoe, it can be much safer for you to cast a shorter leader line.

2. Medium

Medium leader lines usually measure between 25 and 35 inches  (63-89 cm) and can offer a nice balance, giving you a fair bit of distance and depth while also helping you manage the visibility of the line.

You can also expand your range and equipment when it comes to medium leader lines, allowing you to take advantage of a variety of techniques and fishing locations.

However, as compared to shorter leader lines, you might have to give up a bit of precision.

Over time, however, you can figure out the best solution to this as well.

3. Long

Long leader lines are those measuring more than 35 inches (89 cm).

These are typically up to 45 inches (114 cm), but can often go beyond this as well.

Such lengths are more suitable for longer distances and depths, but this also means that the castability and precision levels might suffer to a certain extent.

It might also take you a long time to get the desired results on your bait, but longer lines can make it more natural for the fish to find and catch the bait.

Typically, such leader lines are employed in live bait fishing or finesse fishing.

Factors Affecting Leader Length

How Long Should A Leader Line Be?

There are a bunch of factors that can affect how long your leader line should be.

You can go through the list of some of these factors below in case you want to find an effective way of managing the length of your leader line:

1. Type of Bait

You should not only consider the type of bait you are using but also the kind of movement they will display when you lower them in the water using your fishing line.

For this purpose, longer leader lines tend to be more suitable since they can result in smoother and more ordinary movements.

This can make it easier for the larger fish in the water to come closer to and catch the bait as compared to the jerky movements with the shorter lines.

2. Type of Line

There are different types of fishing or leader lines, including monofilament, braid and fluorocarbon lines.

These differ from each other on the basis of factors like stretch, visibility level in the water and overall strength and support to your bait.

Which line you are using should ideally determine the length of your leader line.

For instance, if you are using fluorocarbon lines, you should consider keeping the line longer as compared to some of the other lines.

3. Casting

Casting is an important part of fishing, requiring you to be precise while also ensuring that all the equipment, including the lines and baits, are in place.

This kind of accuracy is particularly vital if you want to fish on topwater or relatively shallower waters, in which case shorter lines can help.

In case of longer distances, you might not have too much of a choice about the length of the line since you will need to keep it long.

4. Visibility

Stealth and secrecy can make a huge difference if you want to catch fish as naturally as possible.

In this case, leader lines that are longer and thinner can help since they might not be too visible to the fish in the water.

Usually, fluorocarbon lines are employed when fishers want to fish in clear lakes or rivers, in which case you might do better to keep the line longer.

On the other hand, braid lines are thick and highly visible, requiring some additional length to make the bait look natural enough.

5. Friction

Friction is common while fishing, especially since there might be several obstacles in or around the water body where you want to fish.

For instance, underwater plants, small creatures, rocks, pebbles and other debris can interfere with the fishing line, resulting in friction and frequent wear and tear.

Whether you use long or short lines, you should ensure that the material is strong enough for the leader lines to survive for multiple uses.

6. Stretch and Power

Leader lines are likely to stretch to quite an extent after casting due to the levels of tugging on the bait.

Some lines can stretch more, which means that the overall strength of the line will reduce.

In this case, long lines can be slightly disadvantageous to your purpose.

How Long Should A Leader Line Be

Summing Up

Ultimately, how long your leader line should be can depend on your circumstances and where you are fishing.

The type of line and how this affects the elements of the leader line are also important to note here.

It can help to experiment a bit with different kinds of lengths to get a better idea about which one you should use.

If you want learn how to tie your leader line to the main one check the improved Albright knot (this is the one I use every time):

Tight lines, bend rods and may all your fishes come true!

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