When pike fishing, we need a special leader that protects our streamer from the pike's 700 razor-sharp teeth. In this video we will show you how to make an easy and safe pike leader and we will explain why this leader has proven itself for us. You can find all the knots you need for this pike leader here on adh-world. All you need is titanium or steel, fluorocarbon or nylon and a pair of pliers with sharp cutters.
The Pike Leader
Basically, a leader for pike fishing with a fly is no different from classic pike leaders that are also used for spin fishing. It serves the same purpose and can be made from the same materials. However, we fly fishers often try to keep our setup as simple and discreet as possible. Above all, so that the action of our pike streamer is hardly influenced by the leader. We therefore built this leader without swivels, ferrules and other unnecessary components that influence the run of the fly due to their additional weight. This is especially true when we fish in clear water, fish for pike that are exposed to strong fishing pressure or use light-weight pike streamers that may also need to be presented very slowly (for example during winter fishing).
Titanium Pike Leader
When we fish with conventional pike streamers (tied on a hook and not on a tube), titanium has proven to be the best bite protection for us. Titanium is now available from various manufacturers and has the great advantage over classic steel that it has a very thin diameter with a very high strength. This makes our pike leader very discreet - important in visible water. Titanium is also very insensitive and does not curl even after several bites or hooks. A big plus whenever we have to expect a lot of attacks or fish in waters with structures we can get hung up on. And although titanium looks quite stiff at first glance, it still knots very well! With a little practice and the right knots, titanium can therefore be used to make a very strong, durable and thin pike leader that offers reliable protection against the razor-sharp teeth of the predator. In addition, titanium is stretchable or elastic, which automatically creates a certain buffer in the event of aggressive bites. Comparable to a shock tippet in saltwater fishing.
Advantages of Titanium:
- Thin diameter
- Very strong
Building the Pike Leader
Our pike leader consists of two materials: titanium (e.g. from Knot2Kinky or Stroft) and fluorocarbon. With titanium you have a choice of two variants. The classic Single Strand Titanium or the somewhat newer 1x7 Multi Strand. Knotting with Single Strand Titanium is a bit more difficult, but with a bit of practice it's also easy. This is where the softer Multi Strand scores. However, it has the disadvantage that it is somewhat thicker and, due to the mesh of 7 thin titanium strands, needs to be checked more regularly for damage and replaced more quickly if necessary. If you take a closer look at the knots with the two different titanium materials, you will notice that the knots with the stiffer Single Strand titanium cannot be completely tightened. But don't worry! These knots also hold securely and offer excellent knot strength. If you wish, you can secure knots with Single Strand Titanium with a drop of UV glue. This prevents you from picking up weed with the knot.
Single Strand or Multi Strand Titanium?
Whichever titanium you choose: The bite guard should be at least 30 cm long at the end. Therefore, plan a little more material when knotting the leader. We have found 8 kg (18 lbs), 11 kg (25 lbs) and 15 kg (35 lbs) to be very good in practice. 11 kg is a very good all-round solution for most scenarios.
The length of the remaining leader depends on many factors. First and foremost, it depends on the pike line you are using. If you are fishing with a floating line, the leader should always be a little longer, about 180 cm to 270 cm (i.e. rod length). With sinking lines, on the other hand, we choose a much shorter leader so that we have direct contact with the streamer when stripping and no line bulge forms under water. We want to prevent the fly from fishing shallower than the fly line. It is therefore not uncommon for the leader on sinking pike lines to be only 80 cm to 150 cm long in total. Apart from the length, fluorocarbon has become the material of choice for our leaders. Fluorocarbon has the big advantage over monofilament/nylon that it is stiffer. This allows an easier turn-over and a more direct contact with the streamer. Fluorocarbon is also extremely abrasion-resistant. We are therefore happy to accept that fluorocarbon is a little more expensive - especially as we can fish the leader for a long time and only replace the bite guard (titanium or wire) if necessary.
Lengths, diameters and strengths:
- 30 cmto 50 cm of titanium (1x7 Multi Strand or Single Strand) with 8 kg (18 lbs), 11 kg (25 lbs) or 15 kg (35 lbs)
- 100 cm to 180 cm fluorocarbon with a diameter of 0.45 mm to 0.60 mm
Fly line, leader and streamer of our setup are tied with two knots, which you know from our fly fishing knot videos.
- The Perfection Loop is used to loop the leader onto the flying line. This loop-to-loop connection is reliable, strong, transfers the energy from the cast optimally into the leader and also allows the leader to be changed quickly and easily.
- The Albright Knot is used to connect the leader and the bite guard. The Albright knot offers a high knot strength and a straight transition from fluorocarbon to titanium or steel.
- The streamer is knotted to titanium or steel using the Perfection Loop again. This loop knot allows the fly to play freely, is very discreet and has a very high knot strength. In addition, the loop can be tied very small thanks to a trick shown in our video. If you want to change your streamer frequently, then you can tie a snap to the titanium or steel. Especially if you are unsure about the size, colour and action of the streamer, and want to react quickly to bad bites, etc., a snap between the streamer and the titanium or steel has proven its worth.
Do you want to connect the streamer directly or use a snap?
This simple pike leader is our favourite for fishing with conventional streamers. It is highly versatile, easy and fast to make. All you need is a pair of pliers with side cutters to cut through the titanium or steel and some basic materials.
We hope you enjoy tying and fishing this Pike leader. Tight Lines!