View Full Version : Leader Length Question

01-29-2010, 08:59 AM
I was watching a youtube video on sturgeon fishing in the Columbia drainage. This guy was using a very long leader, maybe 6ft., under the theory that sturgeon feed going with the current and with a short leader the fish was more likely to hit the main line and spook before finding the bait. They were catching fish on these long leaders. What do the experts think?

01-29-2010, 09:11 AM
I know several people who have caught sturgeon while fishing for stripers with shad and they were not short leaders? (24-36in)


01-29-2010, 10:01 AM
How does the sturgeon know the difference between your leader and your mainline? I would think either piece of string would pretty heavy no? If your bait is on the bottom, God willing a Sturgeon should suck it up...

01-29-2010, 10:14 AM
They don't entirely stick right onto the bottom. They are about 10" off the ground when they are moving in search of food. If they are not aggressively feeding they will stick closer to ground. A 3ft leader will not rise more than 10" off the ground due to the current keeping that leader from breaking through the current. Whether its an 18" leader or a 6ft leader. It react the same way. The only difference it makes is that if the current switches direction. Then longer the leader, the more space it can cover around itself.* 8-)

Team Opus
01-29-2010, 10:14 AM
* We've caught 4 sturgeon(3, 36-40" and one Keeper C&R'd)since the new year and all have been on striper rigs,all of them on leaders about 36-40" using filleted shad. I think the reason for the shorter leaders is to keep the bait closer to bottom. I guess it doesnt prove to be that important in my case but it was always during slow tide movement which probably helped the bait stay down. We use about a 22" 80lb mono leader when were after sturgies. Almost all of the experienced sturgeon fisherman around here will tell you 18-22" leaders. Funny how sturgeon fishing in the Columbia river is totally different then here in NorCal.

Bob Tuttle
01-29-2010, 10:36 AM
I know in my case it did make a difference. I make my leaders 36" long, but crimp 18" up from the hook. sinker only slides a short distance and defintely stays on the bottom. We have caught 12 sturgeon from 16" to 45" with this method in 4 trips this year. never had much luck with the long store bought leaders. just my 2 cents, Bob

01-29-2010, 11:05 AM
It really comes down to personal preference. It doesnt matter the length of the leader if they find your bait and want it they will eat it. I prefer the shorter leaders and when fishing the river or areas with strong currents I will add a 1/2 ounce egg sinker about 6 inches up from the hook. Caught one like this in the river recently. Today I saw a guy using a 6 foot leader and he hooked up for a minute, and says he catches alot of fish this way. That proves it is just about personal preference. This is just my opinion though.

01-29-2010, 02:38 PM
I always go with shorter home made leaders, you get sharper hooks, and with the shorter length its easier to cast and not wrap up your leader. And always add a 1/2 ounce weight about 4-6" above the hooks to keep it on the bottom.

Capt'n Kev
01-29-2010, 02:55 PM
another issue to consider is the difference in the current speeds. If I understand things correctly, our currents are much slower than the ones on the Columbia and the size of the bait used on the Columbia is much larger than the bait we use here.

Only reason for mentioning this may possibly explain the added benefit or need for a longer leader on the Columbia.

As has been stated, personal preference is king....if it works for you....then thats the way to go. My preference is on avergage 22 inches...which by the way is 4 more inches than I used to use....several reasons for the change.

GREAT...now I gotta try some longer leaders down here.... :o* :o* :o will advise!!!

01-30-2010, 11:12 AM
It was an interesting video and the guy made some logical points in favor of long leaders. I should have explained a couple things better. The leader lays horizontal along the bottom from the weight, the main line from the weight to the rod goes vertical, it is this line that he claimed the sturgeon would hit and spook. His theory was that this was the reason for all the "one pump bites" we get, they aren't bite but fish rubbing the main line. I also get the thinking behind a short leader keeping the bait closer to the bottom in heavy current, but this guy was fishing in a far faster current than I have ever seen in the delta.

01-31-2010, 05:44 AM
As has been stated by others, you should add a sliding sinker weight to long leaders to keep your bait down. Also, the longer the leader the more likely that your bait will start to spin and dance around, which most sturgie fishermen don't want.

01-31-2010, 06:25 PM
It really comes down to personal preference.

Well said. I like to go as short as legally possible.

02-01-2010, 12:34 AM
My leaders run about 36" with an egg sinker crimped on about 6-8 inches from the hook.

02-01-2010, 03:20 AM
On the Columbia we fished with 5 lb. shad for bait. We needed 1 foot of leader just to wrap our bait with 1/2 hitches. The whole leader was probably 4 foot long.