Steel leaders on ice.

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Giuga10
Giuga10's picture
Steel leaders on ice.
<p>I was wondering if people use steel leaders when ice fishing. Where I fish there is a serious possibility of picking up some decent sized pike and if I do I want to be able to land it. Do you guys ever use steel leaders through the ice? Also are fish less attracted when they notice the leader? I also have 40lb Power Pro Super 8 Slick would that be a good leader material, I read online that Pike can slash through it like butter.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Any help is appreciated.</p>
TonyS
TonyS's picture
Pike will go through braided

Pike will go through braided fishing line like nothing.  Honestly just as easy as mono in my experience.  Heavy fluorocarbon is an option as a "pike resistant" leader but use wire if decent pike are a real probably.  even through the ice.  Fish might be turned away by a leader but the visibility of anything is somewhat reduced below the ice - due to the diffusion of light by the ice (and snow if present).  

 

I don't usually bother with leaders on jigs as most the pike I hook on them are right in the lip and I'll take my chances, same thing with smaller baitfish on deadsticks and tip ups.

 

But if you are fishing a larger baitfish a light wire leader is nice peace of mind. If you are worried about spooking other species go with the lightest wire you can get away with.  I really hate snaps and crimps so I buy 49 strand craft store wire (often much cheaper than "knotable fishing leaders").  I use 13lb or 20lb through the ice, you can tie regular fishing knots and it doesn't kink as bad as most leader material - both of which are nice.   

 

I know I've caught "line shy" species like Walleyes on 10" Suicks with 200lb wire leaders so the "line spooking fish" thing might be overplayed.

TonyS
TonyS's picture
Pike will go through braided

My first post was long enough... no reason to post it twice...

Eli
Eli's picture
Seaguar Flurocarbon is your

Seaguar Flurocarbon is your best friend. I never use wire any more, opting instead for fluoro leader material. 40-60lb test is thick enough. Just check the end after every fish and cut off the end section if it's been nicked.

 

BTW, I know I keep plugging the Seaguar brand on here but let me be clear. I'm in no way associated with them. I'm just thoroughly impressed with their product. I had an 8lb pike inhale a panfish jig tied to straight 2lb fluoro. It was deep hooked and needless to say the fight lasted for several minutes, so the line must have rubbed in the teeth many times. The pike was landed and the line wasn't so much as scratched. There was no sign that the last 3" had been in the maw of a pissed off pike.

 

Having said all that, wire is still the most cut-proof thing out there. But fluoro will get you more bites.

Eli

 

 

reingered
reingered's picture
Line shyness may depend a lot

Line shyness may depend a lot on the fishing pressure a waterbody gets. I've seen pike strike at glowing coals floating in the water, so under the right conditions I doubt they would shy away from a steel leader, but if they see a ton of baits in the winter they will probably be more hesitant about them. 

 

I don't use steel leaders in the winter and I can't think of a time where a fish bit me off. That said, I certainly don't have a lot of experience with winter pike. 

TonyS
TonyS's picture
Eli - out of curiosity what

Eli - out of curiosity what are you doing for connections on the heavy fluorocarbon?  Knots? Crimps?  I've tried to knot 60lb fluoro and got frustraited.  

Eli
Eli's picture
For attaching a hook or snap

For attaching a hook or snap/swivel I'll use a palomar knot and pull the tag end tight with a pair of pliers while holding the hook with another pair.

If I'm livebaiting, sometimes I'll tie the hook using a loop knot to maximize the minnow's action on an otherwise stiff rig. 

Eli

 

 

Mike B
Mike B's picture
I've pretty much phased out

I've pretty much phased out wire altogether too. I've caught many decent pike with just 20 lbs fluro for a leader, and it ties easy to braid or mono with a uni knot. 20 lbs test is pretty risky I admit, especially when targeting large fish. A sure safe setup would be 90 to 100 lbs fluro attached to your main line by a barrel swivel. I like using a Trilene knot for the connections. But I've been using some 30 to 40 lbs fluro that I brought back from Florida that I used for saltwater fishing with no problem through the ice. Like Eli said, look for nicks after each hookup.

mike b

TonyS
TonyS's picture
Good to know guys - thanks!

Good to know guys - thanks!  I might drag my 60lb spool out and experiment with it again.  Might be nice to pick up a 12lb spool for trolling Drum/Walleye crankbaits,  Every now and again we pick up pike like that and I hate loosing a shad rap in the mouth of a pike

Bubbajoe
Bubbajoe's picture
I use the San Diego Jam Knot

I use the San Diego Jam Knot for my heavy fluro knots:

http://www.netknots.com/fishing_knots/san-diego-jam-knot/

I've used it in fluro up to 200 lbs. Just adjust the number of wraps for the weight of the material. In 60lb fluro I generally make 4-5. This isn't to say that the Palomar is a bad knot, just offering up another option.

TonyS
TonyS's picture
Knotting 200lb Fluoro, now

Knotting 200lb Fluoro, now that raises some interest...  Have you had good results?  I struggle the idea of attaching a $30 lure to a leader that "might" be cut, but then I've seen wire leaders have kinking and snapping problems too.

 

a 3'-4' length of 200lb Fluoro would make a rad leader for trolling 10" believers on the Croix at 6mph... if only I knew somebody with a boat worthy of trolling a big spread of baits on the Croix...

 

 

Outdoors4life
Outdoors4life's picture
a 3'-4' length of 200lb

a 3'-4' length of 200lb Fluoro would make a rad leader for trolling 10" believers on the Croix at 6mph... if only I knew somebody with a boat worthy of trolling a big spread of baits on the Croix...

 

 

Pretty sure you do know someone.

 

And if you want some specific areas to try I know of some great spots to troll.

 

It is all perspective!

Acer Home Inspections

Bubbajoe
Bubbajoe's picture
I've had awesome results.  As

I've had awesome results.  As in 0 failures. I use the Jam Knot for everything now except drop shot rigs where the palomar still rules the day. Fluro shock leaders for trolling are awesome, although I may want to go lighter than 200lb if I were using braid for mainline.

Just because I'm a knot nerd and these things a fun for me here's a few more fluro knot options:

The Nail Knot: http://www.netknots.com/fishing_knots/nail-knot/ 

I know guys who have used it without failures. I don't care for it as I find it harder to tie than the Jam Knot.

 

The Lee Tauchen Knot: http://leetauchen.com/lees_leader_knot.pdf

Basically a Nail Knot without the nail. Works great in the super heavy stuff, but gets a little cumbersome in lighter material where you want more than three wraps.

TonyS
TonyS's picture
Pretty sure you do know

Pretty sure you do know someone.

 

And if you want some specific areas to try I know of some great spots to troll.

 

Yeah I think we could probably drag 8 lures off that rig if we wanted to. 

 

I'd take you up on trolling location suggestions.  I can imagine a few but don't know a whole about spots that would be effective to troll on the Croix (I'm positive there are many though).  Most the Musky holding spots I know on the Croix are more effective to cast or jig than troll but I know a very small percentage of the main lake basin areas

TonyS
TonyS's picture
Fluro shock leaders for

Fluro shock leaders for trolling are awesome, although I may want to go lighter than 200lb if I were using braid for mainline.

I figure go big on the leader, I'd hate to lose a crank in Muskies face.  Trolling definately means razor sharp hooks and something in the system to "give" - either mono, a soft rod, and/or the loosest drag you can get away with.

Mike B
Mike B's picture
I've had some heart-breaking

I've had some heart-breaking losses with monster pike on 12 to 18 inch metal leaders because the fish gets all wrapped up in the line and it gets cut in the teeth. Really long wire leaders are unweildly to cast and usually get mangled after one good fish. You can still cast easily with a long fluoro leader.

I've been meaning to learn the Jam knot Bubba Joe.

 

mike b

Bubbajoe
Bubbajoe's picture
Do it! I tie it in Braid,

Do it! I tie it in Braid, Fluro, Mono, weight doesn't matter. Reliable and easy.

Tony - When I say lighter I was thinking 130lb on one of my casting setups where "give" is in short supply. I'd go heavy on a more standard trolling setup using a softer rod with more deflection or if I was spooled with mono.

I love that I just called 130lb fluro "light"!

TonyS
TonyS's picture
Tony - When I say lighter I

Tony - When I say lighter I was thinking 130lb on one of my casting setups where "give" is in short supply. I'd go heavy on a more standard trolling setup using a softer rod with more deflection or if I was spooled with mono

Getting a bit into a thread drift - hopefully Giuga10 doesn't mind.

 

I wonder what the functional "give" in a fluoro leader?  5% stretch seems like a common number for Fluoro leader material.  on a 36" leader thats a little under 2" at max stretch.  That's enough to make hooks stay, I guess - assuming you can hit max stretch and rebound from it.  Easier to hit max stretch on 130lb than it is with 200lb but I wonder how easy it is to hit max stretch with either?  Fluoro isn't near as "bouncy" as mono.  Every little bit helps I guess. 

 

That's the tough deal with musky casting equipment.  It is really inefficient for fighting fish.  But highly efficient for casting and working huge lures and comparatively efficient at setting the hook on said hure lures.  Unfortunately there isn't a way around it - all trade offs.  Smaller lures, trolling, fewer hookups, or more dropped fish.  Oh well - probably best to bury the hooks hope for a partner who is quick with a net...

 

I'll probably end up with 150-180lb as a trade off.  Like to be extra sure the leader isn't going to fail but going a little lighter is a sure thing to be easier on the knotting.

Giuga10
Giuga10's picture
No worries... I'm learning a

No worries... I'm learning a lot. :)

Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.