Why do you need a leader?
In the game of fishing, I think we have lots of blind acceptance of theories of what is good and bad. Too much faith in our own experience and advises from experts that we just believe things without questioning, examining or testing. Sometimes I get questions from beginners and they give me fresh new look on things. I often question myself, “Is it REALLY like how I’m explaining it?”
That is why I like the kind of websites that really do experiments to prove or challenge all the beliefs, like this one.
He does a lot of experiments on line and knots. He doesn’t just buy “This knot is strong.” He does experiments to see how much exactly it is strong. He’s great. He’s a wonderful source of experimental facts to me.
Why do you need a leader?
I would like to talk about this question which people ask me every now and then.
PE braided fishing line was born in the 90s and made revolution in all fishing games. PE line is light, strong and sensitive (as it doesn’t stretch.)
But it has its disadvantages.
- PE line is weak against knots.
- PE line is weak against impacts.
- PE line is weak against frictions.
In order to compensate these disadvantages, we attach fluoro or mono leader at the end of our line system.
In order to connect knot-weak PE line with the leader, PR knot was invented and was proven to maintain 100% of the line strength.
One of my readers pointed out the Seaguar movie shows an easy, not complete, PR Knot. And he sent a link that shows the complete PR knot.
He is right. This is the way I knot my leader too.
My PR knot consists of about 6cm of the whipping part, 20 half hitches on the main line and the leader, and (cut and burn the leader) 8 half hitches on the main line only. The last part is there to protect the main line from the cut of the leader.
Thank you Assaf.
OK now. Let’s see how Jigging Soul experimented to prove these disadvantages of PE line.
PE line is weak against knots
First he chose good old clinch knot.
How to make clinch knot by Seaguar (movie) →
In his past test, this classic knot proved to maintain 85% strength with fluoro line.
That’s pretty good. Good knots die hard.
Now he tied PE line #2.0 (9kg test) with clinch knot to the ring to see how PE line holds it. He tested 3 times and the result is, PE line could only hold it at average 3kg. It’s only 33% strength. PE line just slid away and untied the knot itself.
Clinch knot holds 85% strength with fluoro and 33% with PE
Next he chose what is called “Caterpillar Knot” here. This knot is so simple to make and he has proved in the past that it maintains 100% strength with fluoro line. This knot is highly recommended for jigging.
Now he tested this caterpillar knot with the same PE line #2.0 (9kg test). He tested 3 times and the result is, PE line broke at 6kg. It’s 66% strength. As the tension increased, PE line moved in the knot and the friction cut the line.
Caterpillar knot holds 100% strength with fluoro and 66% with PE
PE line is weak against impacts
This is another issue anglers point out for PE line cons. But I don’t think it’s not worth a discussion.
PE line doesn’t stretch as much as fluoro or mono.
Here are the stretch percentage before break on each lines:
- Mono, 20% – 45%
- Fluoro, 17% – 37%
- PE, about 4%
PE doesn’t stretch, so the impact will be more direct, therefore, PE line is weak against impacts… That’s the idea.
When PE line came out in the 90s, many experts said PE line was not for lure fishing, certainly not for jigging. Sato Sensei was one of the first jigging experts that started using PE line on an overhead reel for jigging. But he also denied PE line for jigging first in his own article in 1994. Now they all use PE line.
Because of its non-stretching property, PE line takes on more force from impacts, but the line is not always in a straight line with the jig. There is line slack with the current pushing the line and the boat being pushed away from the jig by the wind. There are rod and reel drag too. In reality, there are many cushioning factors expect the line stretch. Now no experts get the line break at the strike and complain PE line is weak against impacts.
The idea is true, but it’s not an issue. That’s what I think.
PE line is weak against frictions
At the tip of our line system, the line is very likely to come under friction, against fish tooth and lips, against fish fins and scales, and against bottom structures.
Jigging Soul did an experiment on how much PE reduces its strength against friction.
He used a pinch to keep the same friction. He gave 3 or 4 rounds of brush on PE line and it broke. Fluoro or mono line of the same strength can take 10 rounds of brush with this and none broke. Well, of course, for the same strength, these lines are much thicker.
Now, he brushed on PE line just one stroke. See how PE line became fluffy from the stroke.
And he gave a tension to this line and scaled the breaking weight.
He tested 3 times and the result is:
This 10kg test PE line held only about 2kg. Surprising. Only 18% strength. This is no comparison with mono or fluoro. Very vulnerable. Much more vulnerable than many people think.
Damaged fluffy PE line only holds 18% strength.