Leaders will prevent northern pike from cutting your line and getting off. Not only will you lose the fish you are trying to catch, you may also be losing an expensive lure, so you really want to use leaders to avoid the pike bite-offs.
Wire or steel leaders come pre-rigged and you can usually buy them in bait and tackle shops in the areas you will be fishing. If there aren’t any bait and tackle shops that carry them where you’re fishing, make sure you get them before your fishing trip.
Mono or Fluorocarbon Leaders
You can easily make your own leaders by using a uni to uni knot to tie some additional line onto your main line. In the water is murky, you can use mono and be just fine. In clearer waters, you should be using fluorocarbon line if you want to get more bites.
Here are our recommendations for using mono or fluorocarbon leaders:
Add a 50 lb. Mono or Fluoro Leader
If you are nervous about northern pike biting you off, but you don’t like how you get less bites with the steel leader, go with the 50 lb. mono or fluoro leader and you’ll be happy you did. The 50 lb. leader will get the job done. We highly recommend going this heavy with your heavy action rods and when you are using a swivel to attach your lures to the leader. This works great for casting spoons, spinnerbaits, jigs and other bigger baits that you may be using for northern pike. The fluorocarbon leaders have less visibility, so they will work better than the monofilament line in clear water.
Add a 40 lb. Mono or Fluoro Leader
Go with your heavy action rods and reels and add a 40 lb. mono or fluoro leader with a swivel or without. We like to use this setup when we tie directly to our baits to give the bait better action. When fishing for largemouth bass or smallmouth bass while also targeting northern pike, you will find out that you get a lot less bass bites with the steel leaders. You will also get less bites when using a swivel to attach your lure when using some of the slower moving lures. This pound leader will give you a small enough diameter line to tie to your jigheads or swimbait hooks while still giving you the action needed to get more hookups plus the strength you need to avoid the pike bite-offs. The fluorocarbon leaders have less visibility, so they will work better than the monofilament line in clear water.
Fishing for Walleye
If you are targeting walleye, but want to catch pike at the same time without getting bitten off, take a look below for more information. If you are targeting pike first or bass first, but expecting to catch some pike, read above.
Add a 30 lb. Mono or Fluoro Leader
With the 30 lb. leader and a light action rod and a drag set loose, you are going to limit the pike bite-offs big time. We do recommend going with a line like Stren MagnaThin Monofilament so you can keep the line diameter as thin as possible while still giving you the strength you need to prevent bite-offs.
Add a 20 lb. Mono or Fluoro Leader
With the 20 lb. leader, you get a little more strength to prevent more bite-offs, however, you may lose some sensitivity and action with your presentations for catching walleye. When the pike are around though, this is a good way to go, especially if the water is slightly stained to murky.
Add a 14 lb. Mono or Fluoro Leader
You will still get bitten off with 14 pound line as a leader, however, if you are fishing vertical and you have a light action rod, you can definitely catch a lot of smaller to mid-sized pike without getting bitten off. You will need to make sure your drag is set light so when the pike runs, your ultra light rod will bend and the line will go out from the drag. This will prevent a lot of bite-offs, while still allowing you to catch a lot of walleye.