22 posts in this topic

Now that the Stripers are hitting, I thought I would get a general consensus on leader length for stripers. I am talking about the length of heavy line from the hook eye to the swivel on a ff rig.

I have been tying and using probably 6" leaders, and I am wondering if they should be longer- maybe a foot or so. I am thinking that the bait is getting buried in the sandy bottom where the fish are not detecting it with the shorter ones like I am using.

What is everyone having success with in regards to their own leader lengths?

Grossy

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My leaders are at most 4" and usually 1 or 2 inches.

In a perfect world you would like a longer leader but you won't be able to cast it very far at all. The shorter the leader the longer the cast.

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i keep my leaders under 3"

I don't think that leader length matters on a fishfinder rig since the line will slide through the weight holding it down. The bait is going to float naturally in the water column depending on buoyancy and current.

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For stripers, 6"-10"...throwing into a strong wind...will drop down in length and bait size.

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For stripers, 6"-10"...throwing into a strong wind...will drop down in length and bait size.

any reason in particular you like the longer leader? Or is that just what you found works for you?

I seem to get a lot of helicoptering with my bait when I goto a longer leader on my fish finder rigs.

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Jim, I always used a longer leader for stripers...read somewhere a couple years when I first started, someone preferred a longer leader for stripers and thats what I have always done...I occasionally get a herlicopter affect, but not often...heads are a different story and will put them on the shortest leader.

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3" works but will get more drops then 10"

drop a bait in the water and tell me if it floats...

They have to pick up the bait off the bottom and their mouths are structured in a way that they can spit it easily if something feels wrong.

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I vary it between 3" & 6" until I find out what works at that particular time.

Jim, often times the lower jaw will flop open and cause the rotating, try cutting the lower jaw off.

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I am thinking that the longer the leader the better, to a point. I always thought that a fish will drop what they just picked up if they feel resistance.And even using a ff rig, they will feel resistance earlier and more with a shorter leader because of the weight of the sinker.A little longer leader gives us that extra micro second for the hook to start setting.

Correct?

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Grossy,

Well Scott and Ben may/do use a longer leader than I do. They outcast me without trying!!!! If I could cast like those two guys I would go with a longer leader.

It doesn't matter what lenght leader you have if you can't reach the fish.

If your a good caster you can get away with longer leaders. If your an average caster I feel like you will be better off with shorter leaders.

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Grossy,

With a shorter leader it is more likely that the fish will pick up the full sinker sandwich, happens all the time with drum but their mouths are built in a way that either they don't care or can't spit the bait easily. When a striper picks up a bait it will grab a mound of sand and whatever is around it and can almost as easily dump that lump of debris and bait due to the large volumes of water they can move just by opening and closing their mouth and gills.

Best thing to do IMO is to throw a variety of leader lengths down to around 3" for your long distance bait and hell even up to 2-3' for an in close bait just outside the wash to allow the bait to move with the wave action. I'd do this if I were fishing 3 rods or more. For 2 rods toss out both with 6" leaders in a good spot, more rods then that you can vary your presentation and distances through your leader selection.

For stripers you mostly want to toss heads anyway so leader length won't matter that much up to about 8-10" as long as you are throwing 8oz or more.

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WOW that may be my problem the person who got me started taught me to put the FF slide right on my 3 - 4' leader before the swivel My thanks to all you guys who responded and to Grossy for asking the question. Learn something everyday

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Erbby, this works too, called a cannonball rig which packs the bait and sinker together. I've caught stripers on these rigs and Phil just got one I believe.

I don't think a short leader will keep you from getting bit, but it can cause you to get dropped or miss hookups in some cases. If that happens try changing your rigs up a bit. Variations in the water temp and oxygen levels can cause varrying aggressiveness in just about all species. On days with low temps or when the fish are lethargic a longer leader can help, on days when they are aggressive it won't matter one bit.

One day drum fishing I lost my first two fish on cannonball rigs, changed up and finally hooked and landed one...that day they didn't like the sinker sandwich but a 2" leader worked just fine.

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Well i kind of feel a little dumb after reading the length of leaders you guys use. I've always used atleast a 2 foot leader on a fish finder rig. I sometimes have a problem casting them with bunker heads but usually i get it out there pretty far. On occasion my bait will go one way and my weight will go the other. I guess i'll give a shorter leader a try. I've always thought the farther away the hook from the swivel the less chance a striper has to see it. But when i go this weekend i'll make some different lengths and give it a whirl.

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most times the sinker and swivels etc will be covered in a couple minutes leaving only a nice bait offering above sand. If you saw the hooks I use you wouldn't worry about visibility of your gear ever again.

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Grossy,

With a shorter leader it is more likely that the fish will pick up the full sinker sandwich, happens all the time with drum but their mouths are built in a way that either they don't care or can't spit the bait easily. When a striper picks up a bait it will grab a mound of sand and whatever is around it and can almost as easily dump that lump of debris and bait due to the large volumes of water they can move just by opening and closing their mouth and gills.

Best thing to do IMO is to throw a variety of leader lengths down to around 3" for your long distance bait and hell even up to 2-3' for an in close bait just outside the wash to allow the bait to move with the wave action. I'd do this if I were fishing 3 rods or more. For 2 rods toss out both with 6" leaders in a good spot, more rods then that you can vary your presentation and distances through your leader selection.

For stripers you mostly want to toss heads anyway so leader length won't matter that much up to about 8-10" as long as you are throwing 8oz or more.

I would pretty much agree...as far as drum, short leaders, even 1", seem to work well, I use 3" for the reds...IMO, I think it may be due to the ferocity a drum attacks the bait, which results in a easier hook ups with very short to no leader at all. I am not sure stripers are as aggressive as drum when it comes to eats on average.

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Counting swivel, and crimped loop, I shoot for around 5"-6". It seems like everytime i try something else, it screws with my mojo.

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Thanks to everyone on this subject. This is very good info to help all of us increase our chances out there.

Charkbait and Coop, thanks for the lesson on how the 2 species actually pick up their prey and how they keep it in their mouths. Good stuff!!

Based on what everyone is saying, it has to be a good balance of leader length versus reasonable casting distance.

Casting distance.... has anyone ever taken a rangefinder out on AI and measured the distances to the various breakers?

Good stuff, fishermen.

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I'll GPS the distance in the summer.

But generally, I would GUESS about 40-50 yards to the first one.

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I would pretty much agree...as far as drum, short leaders, even 1", seem to work well, I use 3" for the reds...IMO, I think it may be due to the ferocity a drum attacks the bait, which results in a easier hook ups with very short to no leader at all. I am not sure stripers are as aggressive as drum when it comes to eats on average.

Agree for the most part, AI drum tend to suicide run, other places more often then not I have them pickup and run straight to shore...sure get pissed when you catch up to them though!

It also has to do with where you are fishing, at AI they are cruising N/S in most locations, in my other spots they are moving in to feed on the tide. So they find a bait in or around a cut, eat it and then "sprint" into the current looking for the rest of the buffet.

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I would pretty much agree...as far as drum, short leaders, even 1", seem to work well, I use 3" for the reds...IMO, I think it may be due to the ferocity a drum attacks the bait, which results in a easier hook ups with very short to no leader at all. I am not sure stripers are as aggressive as drum when it comes to eats on average.

Agree for the most part, AI drum tend to suicide run, other places more often then not I have them pickup and run straight to shore...sure get pissed when you catch up to them though!

It also has to do with where you are fishing, at AI they are cruising N/S in most locations, in my other spots they are moving in to feed on the tide. So they find a bait in or around a cut, eat it and then "sprint" into the current looking for the rest of the buffet.

also don't over think it, start at 6" and change/check your baits at least every 15 minutes...good things will happen. If I'm fishing hard and seas are calm I'll get down to 10 mins moving/checking baits. Coop does the same and maybe more frequently...he stays VERY busy.

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also don't over think it, start at 6" and change/check your baits at least every 15 minutes...good things will happen. If I'm fishing hard and seas are calm I'll get down to 10 mins moving/checking baits. Coop does the same and maybe more frequently...he stays VERY busy.

Agreed, doesn't matter what length you leader is, if you've got a terd on the end of it. I shoot for every 15 - 20 minutes. The process takes me 15 minutes, then the clock starts again. Heads stay out longer, if they're holding up.

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