By Jamie Simpson;
Over the years I have found on several waters the need to cast that little bit further than I can reach with my normal 12lb big game line. (Check out also the Angling Lines Blog article on “Distance Casting”). I have tried many different materials over the years and spent quite a bit of money on the tactic.
Firstly I would like to state that I won’t use leaders and light line if I believe it will be detrimental to the well-being of the carp in the event of a crack off or lost fish. Therefore I will not use them on extremely weedy waters where the lighter 8lb or so line will part. I see no point hooking fish I cannot land.
If it is safe though and I think it will make a difference then I will feel totally happy using leaders. I started off using amnesia leaders at first and although they did a fair job and the material was fairly cheap, they were a bit stiff and I wasn’t happy with the knot. I would say this was in the early nineties and before the tapered leaders were available.
I then moved on to Quicksilver leaders, and by using the braid I found the knots to be better, but after not tightening my clutch properly after I had caught a fish in France, I managed to tear my casting finger to the bone. This was pretty painful as you can imagine and is probably the biggest problem with braided leaders, they are so abrasive. The worst part of this was that it was early in the week and I had to struggle to cast for the rest of the week. I did super glue my cut which helped, but it still put a dampener on what was otherwise a good week.
Then came the tapered leaders, now I may have initially missed the boat on these but it seems like they haven’t been around that long at all and I can’t remember using them until around 5 years ago. There are loads on the market now and I have tried several of them in various breaking strains. A huge plus point is obviously that they taper down to around 12 or 15 lb so you can get a nice and tidy Knot.
Recently I went for a casting day with one of the country’s casters, who is without doubt at the pinnacle of long range casting expertise. I was using one of my tapered leaders at the time and was casting a fair way by my standards. It was pointed out to me that although the leaders were fine, I would be better off using a braided leader such as Korda Armacord. The reason for this was quite simple really and it makes total sense when you sit back and think about it. The mono leader stretches slightly whilst the rod is under compression and acts as a buffer against the pull of the cast thus reducing the rate of propulsion and therefore the overall distance of the cast.
A word of advice for anyone using braided leaders is to always wear a finger stall or casting glove and ensure that it is made from leather and not a rubber imitation. The Gardner glove shown is my personal favourite. Be careful with the stalls as the size needs to be right for your finger and they do vary tremendously.
Believe me on large waters with a fair amount of pressure the carp will regularly move out of range to their comfort zone away from anglers lines. If you gain those extra few yards on your cast by using leaders and a slightly thinner line it can make all the difference.