Have you been using wire leaders that are just not up for the job of handling big northern pike? Have you had bite-offs, kinked leaders, and problems with wire abrasion and corrosion?
Well, so have I! And as I got tired of all that, I did some serious research and testing in order to find the very best wire leaders for northern pike.
Both stainless steel and titanium wires are great choices for northern pike, as they will be able to withstand those ultra-sharp pike teeth. Such wire leaders are extremely strong, smooth, and flexible, allowing for an optimal bait and lure presentation.
When it comes to breaking strength, you should be using wires that have a 20-40lb test. For lure fishing, your wire leader should have a length of 10” to 15”, for fishing with live or dead bait, the length should be between 15” and 20”.
As some anglers prefer to tie their own wire leaders and others want to fish with ready-rigged ones, I thought it best to include both options in this article.
1. American Fishing Wire Titanium Leader (Top Pick)
This first leader is made by American Fishing Wire and of titanium of the highest quality. It’s as perfect as can be when it comes to pike leaders for spin fishing with medium to large-sized lures fished at a medium to fast retrieve speed.
American Fishing Wire is, by far, the best leader material out there, both for fresh- and saltwater species. That’s why so many fishermen use this type of leader.
Personally, I think it’d be super hard to find a leader of such high quality. And the fact that it’s made of titanium, which has become ever more popular in recent years (and rightly so), makes it even more awesome!
Titanium leaders in general, and the Tooth proof in particular, possess the following amazing features:
- very bendable and flexible
- kink-free (it really is!)
- knottable (use the clinch or Albright knot)
When I first tried out this titanium leader, I thought to myself: Sure…kink-free…who are you kidding!? But then I tried it out! I couldn’t believe it at first, but titanium really doesn’t kink! It’s a predator angler’s wet dream, really!
In other words, if you invest in such a leader, you can be sure to enjoy it for a very long time to come! It’s such a superior tackle choice, you gotta try it out for yourself!
2. Berkley Ball Bearing Wire Wound Leaders (Ready-Tied)
Leader number two is the Berkley Ball Bearing Wire Wound Leaders, which is a high-quality and decently priced ready-tied leader.
This leader is best suited for medium-sized lures fished at a slow to medium retrieve speed.
Ready-tied leaders can be a good option for both beginners and anglers who do not find the time to tie their own leaders. But it’s really important to buy material of a decent quality here!
Far too many of those leader types either break almost immediately or corrode after a short while in the water.
Trust me, I have been through dozens of them and it’s really frustrating when you lose a lure, or even worse, a fish on these low-quality leaders. This one is the only pre-tied one that I can really recommend!
For being a ready-tied leader, this one actually has a lot of strength, thanks to its high-quality lock snaps and swivels.
When it comes to durability, it definitely manages to withstand even bigger predators and their teeth, and it is very corrosion-resistant!
This leader comes in a package of 3 30lb test leaders (length: 12 inches).
3. Knot 2 Kinky Nickel-Titanium Leader Wire
This nickel-titanium leader is still fairly new on the market but has already managed to convince thousands of pike fishermen.
This is the material you will want to purchase if you want to make your own lure or live/dead bait leaders!
The combination of nickel and titanium seems to be the perfect one in terms of flexibility and personally, I have never seen such a wire material before.
The Knot 2 Kinky even has some stretch to it, which helps it recover from really hard bites and violent fights. This, coupled with the fact that it basically cannot kink, makes it a really economically sustainable and long-lasting DIY pike leader.
Pro Tip: While this leader material can be knotted, it really isn’t that easy to do! I have found the knotless knot to work very well instead! You can also use crimps in order to attach your hooks and/or swivels to the leader!
4. American Fishing Wire – Stainless Steel Trolling Wire
This soft wire leader material is an awesome choice for trolling. Not only is it extremely smooth and flexible, but this leader variant also sinks very fast, which can be of huge help when trying to keep your trolling lures or trolled baitfish at the intended depth, even at a faster speed.
Other convincing features of the AFW Trolling Wire include:
- great corrosion and abrasion resistance
- kinks less than conventional leader materials
- can be straightened when bent
- awesome flexibility and strength (even at a lower pound test)
However, the best thing about this leader is its price. 300 feet of 30lb test sells for less than $20, which is absolutely phenomenal if you ask me.
And a length like that probably means that you won’t have to buy any more trolling leaders for a very long time!
5. Laxygo Heavy-Duty Nylon-Coated Wire Leaders (Budget Pick)
This last stainless steel leader is most suited for smaller lures and a medium to fast retrieve speed.
When fishing with smaller lures, using a longer leader can be a smart idea, as a pike is much more likely to engulf smaller and lighter lures entirely.
If it swallows your lure too deep, there is a big risk that its teeth will reach your mainline, which then all too often results in a frustrating bite-off.
This leader has a length of 18 inches and a 45lb test, making it the perfect leader for even the smallest of lures and for all pike sizes. Thanks to its somewhat higher breaking strength, it also handles snags pretty well, resulting in fewer lost lures.
Besides being extremely durable, it is also equipped with quality crimps on both ends, a very strong ball-bearing swivel, and an easy-to-open and secure snap swivel.
All in all, a really strong, qualitative, and reliable leader for pike fishing with smaller lures.