Are fish leader-shy?

  • Spoon Minnow
    Participant
    Posts: 273
    #2203309

    I made some thin wire leaders and attached my jigs using a snap swivel or duo-lock. I found out that no species was leader shy – even the smallest fish:

    Rodwork
    Participant
    Farmington, MN
    Posts: 3064
    #2203356

    Was it fluorocarbon leader material?

    fishthumper
    Participant
    Sartell, MN.
    Posts: 8855
    #2203376

    Some are and some are not. It depends on things like fishing pressure, water clarity, the lure type you are using.

    The more pressured the fish are the more you need to keep things as natural as possible and that is not possible with most leaders ( A light Fluro tied direct may be a exception.

    I find you can get away with one in highly stained water most often.

    I think it has less effect when using moving lures than it does in finess slow moving baits.

    In your case I’d use a fluro leader tied direct. No need for the snap. If you feel you need a snap to change lures often I’d go with a fast snap

    AK Guy
    Participant
    Posts: 917
    #2203383

    Also depends on the lure if you’re using wire. If the wire affects the action, then it’s a no go.

    Steve Root
    Participant
    South St. Paul, MN
    Posts: 5335
    #2203395

    Agreed. I think they see everything, including fluoro. It’s how the leader affects the movement of the bait that is most important in my mind. They used to sell this red mono and the claim was it was hard for the fish to see. Next aisle over were red crank baits. Somebody was wrong!

    If I’m throwing big streamer flies at Bass, I’m using a lightweight wire leader so the Pike don’t steal all my flies. Seems to work just fine.

    SR

    Spoon Minnow
    Participant
    Posts: 273
    #2203419

    “Was it fluorocarbon leader material?”
    Thread-thin stainless steel wire.
    Even the smallest fish had no problem/ 82 fish caught that day All on wire leader connected 1/24 oz and 1/32 oz jigs. Not shown were the 16 crappie caught, many over 11″.

    Attachments:
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    3. snap-swiver-duo-lock-fork-tail-bass-2.jpg

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    5. bass-wire-leader-fork-tail.jpg

    mojo
    Participant
    Posts: 444
    #2203443

    I think the question would be more accurate as “can you catch fish while using a leader?” When the presentation is moving, it doesn’t matter near as much.
    Try catching panfish on a small jig in the middle of ice season with and without a leader/swivel if you want the answer to the question posed in the original post.

    bigcrappie
    Participant
    Blaine
    Posts: 3465
    #2203450

    You have too much on the end of your line, just tie the jig and fish. I do not like all that hardware.

    Spoon Minnow
    Participant
    Posts: 273
    #2203474

    You have too much on the end of your line, just tie the jig and fish. I do not like all that hardware.

    I should have mentioned I lost 4 lures to pickerel the day before.
    Now no more lost lures due to razor-sharp teeth. I had to play this puppy for 45 seconds and the leader saved the day due to the lure being hooked deep.

    If a lake has no pickerel, the snap swivel or duo-lock minus the leader is faster when changing lures.

    Attachments:
    1. me-and-pick.jpg

    bigcrappie
    Participant
    Blaine
    Posts: 3465
    #2203626

    That makes sense then, Happy fishing…….

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>bigcrappie wrote:</div>
    You have too much on the end of your line, just tie the jig and fish. I do not like all that hardware.

    I should have mentioned I lost 4 lures to pickerel the day before.
    Now no more lost lures due to razor-sharp teeth. I had to play this puppy for 45 seconds and the leader saved the day due to the lure being hooked deep.

    If a lake has no pickerel, the snap swivel or duo-lock minus the leader is faster when changing lures.

    Spoon Minnow
    Participant
    Posts: 273
    #2203725

    Here’s another even bigger fish caught today, netted because of the wire leader:

    Attachments:
    1. large-OL-pick-May-16-2023.jpg

    gimruis
    Participant
    Plymouth, MN
    Posts: 11334
    #2203731

    Some are and some are not. It depends on things like fishing pressure, water clarity, the lure type you are using.

    The more pressured the fish are the more you need to keep things as natural as possible and that is not possible with most leaders ( A light Fluro tied direct may be a exception.

    I find you can get away with one in highly stained water most often.

    I think it has less effect when using moving lures than it does in finess slow moving baits.

    In your case I’d use a fluro leader tied direct. No need for the snap. If you feel you need a snap to change lures often I’d go with a fast snap

    Agreed, that is my position as well. Pressured fish + clear water makes it tougher. Vanishing line is a variable I can control, so I am going to control it.

    Spoon Minnow
    Participant
    Posts: 273
    #2203743

    For me the evidence is in the catching and the number of strikes overall. Words like ‘natural’ don’t do it for me. There are just too many lures that catch fish that are unnatural in design and action.
    Example: bass strike spinnerbaits – a lure with a heavy wire attached to a brightly flashing blade attached to a lead head with a hula skirt attached, not to mention the sharp hook. Natural? I think not!
    Example: Chatterbait – a bent metal blade attached to a hula skirt. Its action like the spinnerbait is one of the most unnatural underwater moving objects ever.

    Name a lure and I’ll pick it apart as being unnatural. Anglers assign a motive as to why a lure was attacked (i.e. hunger, territorial, nest protection). But motive is not what motivates fish to strike; sensory overload is. The overload could be instant or take longer to occur. How many of you had a strike as soon as the lure hit the water? No time for a motive beforehand.

    Any lure choice I make is based solely on two things:
    Will fish strike it based on its action and shape? If so, color is the least consideration but lure size a major factor when it comes to action and shape.

    The wire leader or snap is not part of the lure that focuses a fish’s attention or distracts from it – the lure is as proven by nearly over 80 fish caught in two days using it. Photo proof is the answer to the question along with many others I’ve asked and had answered thanks to fish strikes.

    Carter Johnson
    Participant
    Anoka County
    Posts: 1749
    #2203780

    A better test would be fishing trout streams out west. I hear those fish are fairly picky.

    gimruis
    Participant
    Plymouth, MN
    Posts: 11334
    #2203782

    – the lure is as proven by nearly over 80 fish caught in two days using it. Photo proof is the answer to the question along with many others I’ve asked and had answered thanks to fish strikes.

    You may have proven it on one or two specific lakes. Prove it on a highly pressured lake with clear water like Mille Lacs, Gull, or Minnetonka. There is a reason pros don’t use wire leaders.

    buckybadger
    Participant
    Upper Midwest
    Posts: 5747
    #2203783

    Add me to the boat that says most fish see everything, including even the clearest of leaders. Sometimes it matters and sometimes it doesn’t.

    2 summers I borrowed a a couple leadcore rods to a buddy who was going to fish the river with his college friends. Nobody in the group really knew what they were doing but wanted to give it a go. I gave him a few spots to try and told him to let me know how it goes. They ended up catching 1 fish short of a 3 person walleye limit. When I got my rods back I noticed they somehow broke off the leader and a portion of leadcore. They then tied a duolock snap back on directly to the bright blue leadcore with a mangled giant knot and no leader. It was a mess of leadcore probably the size of a marble. He later told me that happened on the first pass, but the bite was lights out all day.

    Spoon Minnow
    Participant
    Posts: 273
    #2203793

    I read all the time about clear-water high pressured waters. I’ve fished them and don’t see a difference between them and low-pressure less-than-clear waters. My thing is, first, you gotta find them. The larger the water the more difficult it is to do that. The less skilled the average angler that fish’s them, the easier it is to find spots they are incapable of finding.

    A local lake I fish has all kinds of fishing pressure from bass club anglers. Few catch a limit anytime they fish the lake and the reason is obvious – they simply don’t know the lake.> Plus, they don’t know what to use and when to use it. More fish for me using a variety of unconventional lures in unconventional ways covering more water effectively.

    Natural got noth’n to do with it. Numbers of fish do. Trout got the same brain as bluegill. Make that cast long enough and retrieve slow enough and FISH ON!

    Jimmy Jones
    Participant
    Posts: 1110
    #2203795

    A better test would be fishing trout streams out west. I hear those fish are fairly picky.

    Or Lake Superior. Water clarity can play a huge part in whether fish see a leader or not.

    Most of the water I fish here in SE Minnesota is at least stained, but often downright dirty from run-off. Most of the waters I fish have a northern pike presence. On last Thursday I had a pike bite me off using 4 pound mono while chasing crappies, and that’s just part of the program. I’m used to that. If I had any kind of leader on that would prevent pike bite-offs of any sort I would not catch any crappies, that I know is certain in the lake I fished.

    I also fish Mississippi River backwaters and main channel bass locations that always have a strong pike presence and have fished with the thin wire leaders made of the super strong, very limp wire that can be tied on the end of braid or mono; from 15 up to 40 pound test. The wire seems to hinder bait action enough that the number if hits is reduced when compared to baits fished directly to the braid or to a mono/fluoro leader.

    I’ll admit that pike can be frustrating but so can not catching fish by try to prevent bite-offs. I take pike with a grain of salt and just keep fishing. And honestly, I have lost a $9.00 stick to a pike only to get it back when the same pike hit a different stick later in the morning with the first stick still in its chops. I’ve lost lures to pike bite-offs only to find them floating a bit later on. I’ve had pike hits that resulted in the lure flying 15 feet in the air and plop down where I can retrieve it. I made every lick of my crappie tackle and if I lose a jig/plastic to a pike I’m not out much, maybe 20 cents. I don’t get too fretful about it.

    Where we fish bass there’s also pike and a ton of grass and weeds that don’t break the surface and anything with a swivel or a snap just loads up with crap and again, no hits, so I just won’t bother with wire. Even knots can grab grass or slime, so I slip a small diameter, thin-walled silicone sleeve about 1/4″ long on the line before I tie the lure/hook on and then slide that sleeve over the knot and right up tight and over the hook or line ring. This really cuts down on trash collecting at the tie….especially with heavier braid or stiff fluoro.

    On the Mississippi River and its backwaters, dogfish are a bigger threat to fishing than pike. I dogfish has a smaller mouth FULL of razor blade and with chomping power likely rated in tons and they’ll destroy a wire leader and anything attached to it meaning after its netted I have a mess, so when one hits my line I simply prefer they break it and go back to their haunt.

    I don’t mess with leaders.

    Spoon Minnow
    Participant
    Posts: 273
    #2203822

    Nice reply!
    I looked up the thickness of 32g wire and it’s a measly.008″ Even I have a hard time seeing it in my tackle box. The thinner the better for reasons others mentioned such a lure action being affected. No way would I want to use a leader thicker than that, plus the wire only needs to be less than 3″ long.

    I’ll be fishing a lake this coming week that has no picks – no leader needed. I have gone up to 15# test braid to lessen line wraps and knots at the rod tip in windy weather. I know it won’t affect the bite from all the fish caught using it last week.

    Interesting in that even small fish are caught on the leader as well as trophy fish of different species. Again, the lure focuses a fish’s attention and once one bites it, others in the area seem to want to join the fun.

    (Note: when I throw bits of bread to sunfish in my pond, at first only a few go for it. But when that happens, more become near, surface slapping then becomes the rule. They even compete with the small turtles that also arrive for the snack, taking it before a turtle can dive for it their usual way to eat bits of bread.)

    (Note: small bass come over to see what the commotion is all about. But recently a foot-long bass watches me, waiting for more small yellow perch to be dumped that I put in from my boat’s livewell. Who says fish can’t learn where the goodies come from whether bits of bread or lures?! Good thing it’s not the same thing with lures.)

    Jeff Schomaker
    Participant
    Posts: 364
    #2204435

    I personally disagree with so much of what you have said Spoon Minnow that I think the best reply I can give is, to each their own and happy fishing.

    Spoon Minnow
    Participant
    Posts: 273
    #2206410

    It will always come down to numbers and quality caught. I got both and the logs to prove it.

    Joe Scegura
    Participant
    Alexandria MN
    Posts: 2742
    #2206416

    It will always come down to numbers and quality caught. I got both and the logs to prove it.

    Sounds like you got it all figured out. Have fun, thats all that matters.

    By the way how many walleye have you caught in clear water during the day on your wire leader? grin

    gimruis
    Participant
    Plymouth, MN
    Posts: 11334
    #2206424

    Hey Joe I see you’re doing reports again on Angling Buzz.

    Spoon Minnow
    Participant
    Posts: 273
    #2206426

    By the way how many walleye have you caught in clear water during the day on your wire leader?

    Never caught walleye or fish waters that have them. In fact, no water I fish is gin clear except one trout river.

    If I had any kind of leader on that would prevent pike bite-offs of any sort, I would not catch any crappies, that I know is certain in the lake I fished.

    Too bad we don’t live closer. I believe I could prove that on certain days, and especially when fish are schooled, I could do well with fine wire leaders and the right lure(s).

    Eelpoutguy
    Participant
    Farmington, Outing
    Posts: 9033
    #2206432

    Hey Joe I see you’re doing reports again on Angling Buzz.

    Ha – I saw that last weekend also.

    Eelpoutguy
    Participant
    Farmington, Outing
    Posts: 9033
    #2206433

    I saw a video a while back with a camera on the line video-ing a crank bait. The crank bait picked up a bunch of weeds and a walleye banged it.

    Out of curiosity – Where do you live Spoon Minnow? You use the word “pickerel” and they seem to have a skin pattern that’s a bit different than something from the midwest.

    The_Bladepuller
    Participant
    South end
    Posts: 739
    #2206437

    Spoon Minnow might have stock in a wire leader material producer. whistling

    I make no bones about it, I’m a Mille Lacs walleye guy thru and thru. Back in the ’00s to the ” no keeping any walleyes” on the lake I had just pulled into my lift and was sitting in my boat reflecting on how things had gone. I look down and see a ULCC bass hunkered down between a dock wheel and the frame of the lift.
    Having some crawlers left and not wanting to put them back into my refrigerator crawler “condo”, I dropped one down right in front of the big girl. GULP! She goes and it is gone. I do this 3 more times with the same result. I then grap a rod with a small circle hook and thread a crawler on to. Big Azz Momma Bass just watched that one fall and when I twitched it a bit I got the same result.
    Fish bite when they want to bite, but if they are neutral or negative then one best have the presentation as subtle as possible.

    Spoon Minnow
    Participant
    Posts: 273
    #2206441

    Fish bite when they want to bite, but if they are neutral or negative then one best have the presentation as subtle as possible.

    Couldn’t have said it better. Personally I like catching the most fish, not necessarily the largest. There are among the 100 – 150 I catch (on some days), some nice specimens of different species. But it seems most were not actively feeding – even the schoolies.

    A few days ago I got into two different schools 40 yds. apart: crappie and sunfish, one fish caught after another after the first fish. Isolated fish were yellow perch, bass, pickerel and a catfish just hanging out – just like the fish in the two schools.

    Once the school is revved up, the variety of lure shapes and actions fish can be caught on increases. I rarely burn baits through areas for reaction strikes but there is a time & place for it.

    (southern NY BTW, not far from the PA border.)

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