Do I Need a Leader for Bass Fishing?

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Leaders serve as a safety net of sorts for many anglers, giving them the assurance that their fishing lines would be safe from harm underwater. However, not all fish have teeth strong enough to break fishing lines with their teeth. If you are a bass fisher, then you might wonder, ‘do I need a leader for bass fishing?’

Do I Need a Leader for Bass Fishing?

No, you do not particularly need a leader when bass fishing because bass does not have teeth that are large or strong enough to do any real damage to an abrasion-resistant and high-strength line. Despite this, however, it is always advisable to use a leader line, no matter the species you are fishing.

Water bodies usually have different species of fish, so while the one you’re fishing for might not pose any danger to your line, other species might. For instance, if you are bass fishing in water that contains northern pikes, then you should make use of a leader to reduce the risks of getting a broken line.

An image of a freshly caught bass fish

Why Should You Use a Leader While Fishing?

A leader is a fishing line of a shorter length that is attached to the end of the main fishing line. Leaders are very useful during fishing, preventing line breaking as well as reducing line visibility, and should be used at least 99% of the time to ensure successful fishing.

Prevents Line Breaking

Fishing lines go through a lot of risks when they are underwater. Asides from the fish that have sharp teeth that can cut through your line easily, there are also rocks, stones, and reefs with sharp edges that could cause damage to your line.

While purchasing a high-strength and abrasion-resistant fishing line -such as fluorocarbon or monofilament- would go a long way to help, it is still only a matter of time before the constant exposure to teeth and rocks would get to your line.

Making use of a leader ensures that the part of your fishing line that is most exposed to fish teeth and underwater rocks is protected, thus reducing the risks of line breakage.

Reduces Line Visibility

While some fish will attack a bait blindly, others -bass included- are more likely to inspect the bait carefully. Seeing that it is attached to a fishing line might chase them away. As a result, if you are hoping to get plenty of bites, then you should make use of a fishing line that is almost invisible inside the water.

The best lines for reduced visibility are fluorocarbon lines or lines that have colors that blend naturally with water, such as blue. If you are making use of another kind of line, however, you could easily get a short length of fluorocarbon leader and attach it to your line to reduce its visibility inside water.

Prevents Line Twisting

When a fish gets hooked, it begins wriggling and jerking, and these movements could lead to your line getting twisted. Line twists are bad because they reduce the smoothness of the line, thereby lessening its castability. In worse cases, twists could even lead to your line breaking off at the twisted part.

An image of a person holding a bass fish

Making use of a leader attached to a swivel would ensure that your main line is not twisted as the leader rotates. However, many are against swivels because of the weight that they add to the main line, thus increasing the chances of it weakening.

Related Questions

What Size of Leader Line Should I Use for Bass Fishing?

Bass are very sensitive fish that investigate bait before biting it, and as a result, only thin, soft, and nearly invisible lines should be made use of when fishing for them. You should not use a leader line that has a pound test of more than 12lb.

How Long Should a Leader Line for Bass Be?

The average length of a leader line is between 13 and 26 inches. However, this length can change depending on the properties of the water body you are fishing in, such as its depth and its underwater features. Ideally, a leader line should be long enough to cover the part of your main line that is exposed to abrasion.

When Should I Not Use a Leader Line for Bass Fishing?

You do not have to use a leader line for bass fishing if you are fishing in waters that are clear, have little or no rocks and reefs, and are rid of fish with sharp teeth such as pikes.


The goal of every angler is to return home with a basketful of their target fish after each fishing expedition. However, this might not happen if you are doing things the wrong way. To increase your chances of a successful catch and safeguard the integrity of your fishing line, it is advisable to make use of a leader line.