Modern fluorocarbon leader materials have become really durable and are made of high quality, which means that more and more anglers use and trust them when fishing for pike.
But as there are so many different fluorocarbon lines out there, it can be quite difficult to find the right one for your specific needs and preferences.
That’s why I decided to write this helpful guide on the best fluorocarbon leaders for pike, as different methods and situations demand different types of fluorocarbon leaders.
So if you want to know which fluorocarbon leader material is the very best for pike fishing with lures, with live baits, or when trolling, all you have to do is keep reading this article!
Pro Tip: My number 1 fluorocarbon leader for pike is the Seaguar Blue Label, which is a super-durable and highly invisible fluorocarbon line that has yet to disappoint me. It’s a smooth line material that is very easy to work with when making your own fluoro leaders. Check out the awesome Seaguar Blue Label on Amazon here.
What Pound Test for Pike Fluorocarbon Leaders?
This is a much-debated topic and over the years, the answer to this question has definitely changed. Nowadays, fluorocarbon can be of such high quality and abrasion resistance that you can confidently fish with a 50-80lb test leader, regardless of the size of the pike you are targeting.
It used to be that you would have to use really thick fluoro leaders for northern pike, as the material had not yet been as advanced and evolved as it is today. A diameter of 1.00-1.25mm and a 100-120lb test was nothing unusual.
And why not, the very nature of fluorocarbon is that it is pretty much invisible, no matter the diameter. And back then, such heavy leaders did prevent bite-offs fairly well.
Over time, the technology surrounding fluorocarbon leader material got more and more advanced, and with it the leader’s strength and abrasion-resistance.
Today, you can find really awesome and extremely high-performing FC leaders for a really decent price and catch a ton of toothy northern pike on them!
What Are The Best Fluorocarbon Leaders for Pike?
As different fishing methods and situations demand different types of fluorocarbon material, I thought it best to cover each method separately so that you can get a better overview and be sure to choose the right leader material that’ll fit your preferred type of fishing for pike.
Best Fluorocarbon Leader for Lure Fishing Pike
Without a doubt, the Seaguar Blue Label is one of the very best fluorocarbon leaders out there!
It is especially suited for fishing with bigger lures, as it is somewhat stiffer than other leaders and has a lower stretch, which will improve your lure presentation quite a bit. It will also prevent the lure from getting tangled up in the leader when casting it out.
As you’ll fight pike fairly actively when spin fishing, you will definitely want a leader with extra strength and abrasion resistance. All those hard knocks and attacks, the violent escapes and headshakes; all that can cause a lot of damage to a fluorocarbon leader and can cost you quite a few fish.
But, I have yet to lose a northern pike on a Seaguar leader, which is really incredible, if you think about it! I’ve always been a fluorocarbon sceptic, but this leader changed my mind!
I recommend a leader strength of 60-80lb when lure fishing. And always make sure to check for weak points, just in case!
Best Fluorocarbon Leader for Trolling for Pike
When trolling for pike, you are looking for a fluorocarbon leader that will both sink fast, has a lower memory, and, at the same time, still has high abrasion resistance.
In other words, a leader that is both super strong and durable, as well as flexible. The Reaction Tackle Fluorocarbon is such a leader!
So why is this particular combination so important when trolling for bigger predators? Well, for one thing, fishing in deeper water will demand a fast sinking leader, just to get your bait down to your intended fishing depth.
For another thing, as many anglers will troll their baits fairly close to the bottom (especially during the colder months of the year), getting snagged on the bottom is quite common, which means that your leader will have to withstand that without breaking.
Classic pike trolling crankbaits don’t come easy, so it’s really important that you can rely on your leaders 100%!
This becomes especially apparent when fishing over e.g. zebra mussel banks, which are common hot spots for prey fish, and consequently also for pike. Those mussels have extremely sharp shells and can cut through most conventional fishing lines.
But if you’re using an 80lb test Reaction Tackle Fluorocarbon leader, which is the strength I recommend for trolling for northern pike, then you won’t have any issues with those hostile bottom features and can target the really big open water pike!
Best Fluorocarbon Leader for Live Bait Fishing for Pike
The last pike fluorocarbon leader I want to recommend is the somewhat lesser-known Japanese Runcl Svallet Fluorocarbon Leader.
This is a high-quality leader material that is perfect for fishing with live baitfish on the quick strike rig. Even at a lower pound test, it remains extremely durable and abrasion-resistant, which is something that I really appreciate when fishing with live bait.
I try to avoid using too thick leaders, as they will interfere with the bait’s movement, and hence, its presentation. And so, when I fish with this type of leader, I will choose a 50-60lb test with great confidence!
The Runcl Svallet allows the bait to swim and act as naturally as can be, which, I think, leads to more takes.
It is also a somewhat softer fluorocarbon leader material, which gives a definite advantage when live bait fishing for pike, especially during the colder months of the year.
Pike will test the bait a lot before it decides to go for it, nibbling at it and playing with it for a while. If a too hard or stiff leader gets in the way of that, the fish will most commonly get spooked and move on.
That is why I really like this leader; it kind of feels like conventional monofilament, but has this incredible strength and durability that’s needed when bait fishing for big northern pike.
Things to Remember When Using Fluorocarbon Leaders for Pike
No matter which fluorocarbon leader you will end up using on your pike fishing trips, remember the following when putting them to action:
Fluorocarbon is known for its invisibility underwater, but this only holds true in lesser light conditions!
In fact, fluorocarbon actually becomes quite visible if it is exposed to direct sunlight in open water, as the light will travel through it.
Now, personally, I don’t think the pike care all that much about that fact and still hit most of what comes close to their mouths. But, if that is a factor that you want to have present when fishing for pike, make sure to fish in either lower light, dark och murky water, or fairly close to the bottom.
RELATED ARTICLE: Do You Need a Wire Leader for Pike?
This is something I cannot stress enough; no matter how advanced or thick your fluorocarbon leader is, eventually, it will get weaker!
Much like any leader type, be it FC or wire, the pike’s teeth and strength will do some damage to them over time. Wire will kink and curl up, and fluorocarbon will develop weak points.
And while the above mentioned leader options are extremely durable and will last you a very long time, it never hurts to doublecheck and make sure that your fluorocarbon leader is still up for the job.
Check Out These Related Pike Fishing Articles
- Northern Pike Teeth (Facts and Pictures)
- Best Wire Leaders for Northern Pike
- Best Time of Day for Pike Fishing (All Four Seasons)
Featured image courtesy of Victor Strupinski