How to Hold a Musky (and other info)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Fluorocarbon Leaders for Esox

Gary Parsons

Fluorocarbon leaders are an “item” in the Esox world these days. This material is far tougher than mono, and with the right consideration for tackle and species, makes for good leader material. The advantages, besides the obvious of preventing bite-offs, is in the visibility of this material. The traditional braided or straight wire leaders are certainly more visible, while fluorocarbon’s properties make it nearly invisible under the water. It’s arguable, of course, as to how much difference this really makes to the fish, but common sense tells us “invisible” can’t hurt, especially in clearer water.

What I’ve found though, that is important, is this stuff isn’t invincible. Muskie and pike are “Fish with Teeth”. To be safe, and insure no bite-offs, I recommend going no lighter than 80 lb. test on leaders for casting, and a minimum of 100 lb. test trolling (the standard is 130 lb. with folks using it a lot). I experienced bite-offs with 50 and 60 lb (two, and immediately went heavier). Be careful to not put extreme pressure while fighting fish with fluoro leaders. Because often in trolling, contact with bottom (rocks) is common and done on purpose, going heavier compensates for abrasion wear. Fluoro is a good option. It’s also easier on fish slime and scales when fish roll, but be careful to check for tooth nicks and abrasion – and be certain to use the heavier material to prevent bite-offs.


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