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Choosing the Right Leader

By Tammy Spina

Ever found yourself in the local tackle store wondering why there are so many different options in the leader section, what’s the difference and which one is right for the job? Then this article is for you!

“Leader” is the term used to refer to a length of line or wire connected between your main line and hook/lure to offer more protection against structure, teeth and anything that your line may come into contact with.

Along with protection leaders also give you the ability to run thinner main line or braided lines which allows you to hold more line on your spool but also significantly improves your casting distance!

First to understand what leader to purchase it helps to know what style of fishing you will be doing or what species you plan to target. Next understanding what each material does and what application it is used for is what I will be covering today.

With so many brands supplying line and leader it can be a little daunting when it comes to choosing so let’s break it down to 3 simple categories.

Monofilament, Fluorocarbon and Wire leaders have specific purposes and knowing these differences and choosing the right one for the job can lead to less breakoffs, better action from your lures, easier knot tying and more fish!

Fluorocarbon Fishing Line


Let’s start with Monofilament or Mono for short.

Mono is made up of a single strand of extruded nylon and is the line you most likely got when you purchased your first fishing combo and the most versatile and widely used by anglers targeting bream, whiting and flathead right through to the mighty giant trevally and marlin.

When talking about leader the benefits of using a mono is that it floats, has more stretch and shock absorption, is softer, easier to tie knots in especially when getting into the thicker stuff and has better knot strength but can be less resistant to abrasions due to being a single strand and any damage done to the line affects its overall integrity.

Mono leaders have come along way and mono isn’t just mono anymore because that would be too easy. Because of the advancement in line manufacturing and so many companies competing we the anglers are the real winners here and get a very wide range of choices.

Within the mono section you will find clear options, as a leader these generally are the softest material letting your plastics, lures or bait move more freely which makes knot tying much easier also and better action from your lures hopefully means more bites but generally offers the least amount of abrasion protection. It’s a great option when floating lines out the back or using unweighted baits and is perfect when using topwater lures and plastics as it can have a dramatic impact on action!

Other options that are more white or milky in appearance are generally stiffer as they are armour coated and offer a more abrasive resistance making it a great option for when you are using dead or live baits, fishing deep or chasing species with raspy teeth or abrasive features. 



Fluorocarbon or fluoro is made of multiple layers of fluoropolymer PVDF. While at first glace it may just look like normal mono line fluoro has a few tricks up its sleeve which make it a great option to consider. Not only is it a popular fan favorited among many lure-based anglers who want a more subtle or stealthy lure presentation but it can also improve your bait fishing game! 

Fluro has tightly packed molecules that create a denser material which means it’s stiffer then mono but it sinks, has a thinner diameter for its breaking strain, is more translucent and sensitive. Fluoro is also made up of 2 to 3 layers which generally gives it more abrasive resistance for its diameter because damage to the outer layer does not compromise the integrity of the inner layers which makes it an ideal choice when fishing diving lures, plastics and crab imitations around rock walls, jetties, oyster farms, pylons and other man-made structures. Combined with braided fishing lines and a quality graphite rod choosing Fluoro leader will not only give you a stealthy, better abrasive option but will also increase sensitivity when bait fishing meaning you won’t miss a bite! 

So, with all these things combined Fluoro seems like the clear choice here… but there are a few things to remember about Fluoro. Not the ideal choice for topwater lures as it can hinder the action of the lure. Because of its stiffness fluoro can be more challenging when tying your knots especially when getting into the thicker stuff and its knot strength is not as good as Mono. That lack of stretch or shock absorption means big head shakes and hard-hitting strikes can snap knots, pull hooks or even straighten hooks!   


There are many different types of wire leaders or traces and should only be used when targeting toothy critters like Mackerel. While you can still catch other species while using wire it generally not recommended.

When targeting mackerel, the best option is to stay away from the pre-made traces and learn a hay-wire twist. A single strand wire leader to your hook, lure or live bait may be needed to prevent getting snipped off, no mono or fluoro will stand a chance against those razor-sharp teeth. But some days using wire will be the reason you don’t get a bite so keep that in mind. The thinner and less length of wire you can get away with the better chance you have of not reducing the bites you get.

I hope this article has help shed some light in what each material is used for and in doing so can help you make the right decision down that leader line aisle.


Daiwa is always looking to provide anglers across Australia with the best gear and advice possible. You can find your local Daiwa store here and if you want more fishing tricks and tips take a look at our blog page here! Also make sure to sign up for our mailing list so you're the first to know about new blogs, product updates, and special giveaways!

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