Why The Length Of Your Fishing Leader Line Can Be Critical


What is the ideal length for a leader for inshore saltwater fishing?

What happens if it’s too short?

Or if it’s too long?

Why do you even need a leader?

In this video, I’ll answer all of these questions and more!

Check it out below.

Ideal Leader Length [VIDEO]

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Before we get into this, know that these aren’t very strict guidelines and a lot of it has to do with personal preference.

Advantages of having a longer leader:

  • Monofilament and fluorocarbon are more abrasion-resistant than braid line, so the longer your leader is, the more abrasion-resistant your line assembly is.
  • When landing fish, a monofilament leader is easier to grab than braid, so a longer leader makes it easier to bring fish into the boat.
  • It keeps your braid (which is easier for fish to see) farther away from the lure.

Scenarios where I like to have a longer leader:

  • When I’m live bait fishing and sometimes when finesse fishing with soft plastics.

Advantages of having a shorter leader:

  • You can cast better. It’s bad for knots to go through guides (weakens the knot and makes you susceptible to wind knots) and shorter leaders make it so you don’t have a lot of extra line hanging out of your rod tip.
  • If you’re using thick leader, there’s a greater chance fish will feel a longer leader than a shorter leader with their lateral line.
  • As more line is out of the rod tip before you make a cast, it’s more dangerous for other people in the boat, so shorter leaders are safer

Scenarios where I like to have a shorter leader:

  • When I’m using topwater lures
  • When I’m using spoons

 How long should a leader be?

I typically start with a leader about 26″.

As I catch fish throughout the day, sometimes to part closest to the hook will get frayed, so I’ll snip off an inch or two and retie.

I’ll do this until I get to about 13″, then I’ll tie on a new leader about 26″ again.


ideal leader line length

Although there’s not an exact science for the ideal leader length, I typically use leaders between 13″ – 26″.

Check out this article for detailed information about how to make the most effective leader assembly for catching redfish, seatrout, flounder, and snook with artificial lures (best knots, leader material, leader strength, etc).

What is your ideal length for a leader?

Have you found anything different to work for you?

Do you have any questions about leader length?

Let me know in the comments below!

And if you know someone who ties too short or long of leaders, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

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1 year ago

I bass fish with microguides on all my baitasters. Knots won’t go thru but I would use 20″ leaders if that would work. I don’t see much talk about this so I’ll be following this article. Does anyone use these short leaders a catch bass in very pressured waters? I’ve been using braid to leader knots for 15 years or so on spinning rods….the knots won’t work on my baitcasters, just sayin`.

1 year ago
Reply to  Luke Simonds

Thanks. I saw another Salt Strong video about a 6 turn surgeon’s knot. It’s marginally larger than the alberto but if it’s not going thru the guides I can tie it quick….and correct every time.

George Hartley
1 year ago

Just us an FG knot and the leader can be as long as you like.

James Crews
1 year ago

I fish the Fla panhandle where the water clarity is typically crystal clear and theres fairly heavy fishing pressure. That being said, my leader material and length depends on what im using and how im fishing it.
Topwater – 12lb mono at about 12-16″ (alberto knot)
Paddletail – 10-12lb mono at about 36-48″ (FG knot) (fast moving)
Twitch bait/Jerkbaits/soft plastics – 10-12lb fluoro at 48-60″ (FG knot) (longer in winter and when im working it slower, shorter during the summer with a moderate retrieve)

The thinner leader material works for my area because snook aren’t common and im mostly fishing away from heavy structure. It allows me to cast through the guides without as much of an impact as a heavier leader cause.

Just my 2 cents!

Matthew Navarro
1 year ago

Is there a video or article on what oz weight to utilize when free lining shrimp or any bait fish. Also when utilizing lures. Targeting reds and black drum.

Gary Morrissette
1 year ago

Luke, appreciate all your work helping us out! I use the Alberto for my flouro to braid knot. I like it because it’s easy to tie and holds up well. Your thoughts on the Alberto please?

Sam Sheffield
1 year ago

Good stuff Luke! Appreciate the tips!

Kenneth Bement
1 year ago

Luke – I see in a response below that you are now using braid with a leader attached. Have you tied directly to braid in the past or had issues when tied directly to braid?
I fish in the Galveston area and have been tying directly to braid for over a year now. A key reason for the switch was due to the knot abrasion through the guides. I would try not to reel in too far, but especially when fishing at night I would do so. Another reason is that in the area the water clarity is not the same as south Texas and Florida, so I do not think the visibility issue is as great.
When I first made the change I was watching for abrasion issues or fish bite issues, but have not had much issue. I have had a couple of break-offs with lady fish and their jumping, but I do not run into them much.
I was even able to bring in a 36″ red with an owner twist-lock tied directly to 10# braid!

George Hartley
1 year ago
Reply to  Kenneth Bement

What knot did you use?

Rick Daniel
1 year ago

I found that the shorter leader (12-13″) seems to give me better control when using the skitter-walk lure.

Paul Birmingham
1 year ago

Just an insight on making an Alberto to wire trace leader knot. Is there any value in adding a section of rig tube, heat shrink type , to nullify any chance of the monofilament leader, sheering on the wire under high tension, like when fighting a heavy fish that’s running in deep water.? Thank you.

Darrell Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Luke Simonds

Is there a link missing for the wire to braid knot?

Roger Edelman
1 year ago

Love your tips. Question, based on your years of experience and testing, do you prefer braid
over mono for inshore fishing and if so why ? Do you use both and if so under what conditions
would you choose one over the other ?


Justin Steele
1 year ago
Reply to  Luke Simonds

Hi Luke. Did you get around to making this video yet? If so can you post the link? Thanks!


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