Leaders, Swivels, and Connectors
In order to catch fish, lures or hooks must be safely connected to the fishing line. However, any leader, swivel, or other connector that interferes with a lure’s action, or does not look natural to fish, will keep the fish from striking. Using the correct heat shrink wire connectors leaders, swivels, or connectors is a must.
Lures can usually be attached right to the fishing line when using monofilament. Other fishing lines can be too visible or too stiff for direct tying, making a monofilament leader a must. Using the lightest leader possible for conditions and fish type is recommended. When fishing in brush or timber, a heavier leader would be needed as opposed to one for fishing over an unobstructed bottom.
Some fishermen like to use heavy wire leaders to attach their lures no matter what type of fish they are looking for. Unless you are looking for fish with sharp teeth, wire leaders are not really necessary for most freshwater fish.
Many fishermen prefer a single-strand wire leader to a multi-wire strand leader. This is because it is smaller in diameter to strength, and easier to straighten if it curls.
Tapered monofilament leaders are recommended for fly fishermen. A level leader just does not have the momentum to unroll properly when casting most flies. Tapered leaders can be knotless or knotted. Knotted leaders are made from several lengths of different diameter monofilament. These are tied together to decrease in size from butt to tip, and are usually matched to fishing conditions and fish species.
While more expensive, knotless leaders do not pick up algae and are consistent in their taper. The size of the fly being cast will determine the weight of the front section of the leader, or tippet. Tippet material weight is usually designated in pounds and by an X-number. Dividing the fly size by 3 is a good general rule to use to help determine the correct tippet weight to use. A size 18 fly would need a 6x tippet, for example.