Guide to the Best Fishing Leaders in New Zealand

Guide to the Best Fishing Leaders in New Zealand

Are you an angler looking to improve your fishing skills in New Zealand? Look no further than fishing leadersFishing leaders are an essential component of your fishing gear that can significantly increase your chances of landing a prized catch.

In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about fishing leaders in New Zealand. From understanding their purpose to selecting the best fishing leaders and rigging and setting them up, we’ll provide top tips and insights to help you enhance your fishing experience.

Key Takeaways

  • Fishing leaders are crucial for successful angling in New Zealand.
  • Choosing the right fishing leader based on factors such as material, strength, length, and visibility can make a significant difference.
  • Knowing how to rig and set up your fishing leader correctly is vital.
  • Different fishing techniques and strategies work best with fishing leaders in varying conditions and target species.
  • Stay up-to-date with the latest fishing insights and continually improve your angling skills for a successful catch.

Understanding Fishing Leaders

If you’re an avid angler, you’ve likely heard of fishing leaders and their importance in your fishing setup. Fishing leaders are essentially an additional piece of line that attaches to your mainline, providing several benefits that can greatly increase your catch rate.

Firstly, fishing leaders can help prevent fish from breaking off your line by providing additional strength and abrasion resistance. This is especially important when targeting species with sharp teeth or rough skin, such as snapper or kingfish.

Secondly, fishing leaders can improve the visibility of your bait or lure, making it more enticing to fish in the water. By using a clear or coloured leader that matches the conditions, you can create a more natural presentation that fish are less likely to ignore.

There are several types of fishing leaders available in the New Zealand market, including monofilament, fluorocarbon, and braided options. Each material has its unique properties and benefits, so it’s worth researching and experimenting to find the best fishing leader for your needs.

Understanding Fishing Leaders: Types

Monofilament leaders are a popular choice for their affordability and stretch, which can help absorb shock when fighting fish. However, they are more visible in the water than other types and can deteriorate over time from UV exposure.

Fluorocarbon leaders are nearly invisible in the water, making them an excellent choice for targeting wary or finicky fish. They also have excellent abrasion resistance and strength, making them ideal for targeting fish with sharp teeth or swimming in rough areas. However, they are generally more expensive than monofilament leaders.

Braided leaders offer unparalleled strength and sensitivity, making them ideal for targeting larger or deeper dwellers. They also have a thin diameter, making them more difficult to detect in the water. However, they can be quite visible if you choose a coloured option, and they tend to be more expensive than other types.

Selecting the Right Fishing Leader

Choosing the best fishing leader for your needs is crucial to your angling success in New Zealand. Several factors need to be considered to make an informed decision.

First and foremost, you need to consider the material of your fishing leader. Fluorocarbon leaders are popular among anglers due to their high level of invisibility underwater. They are perfect for targeting fish that are easily spooked, such as trout and salmon. However, if you prefer fishing in rough conditions, a monofilament leader may be a better option as it is less likely to tangle.

The strength of your fishing leader is also crucial. It needs to be strong enough to handle the weight of the fish you’re targeting. A good rule of thumb is to choose a leader with a breaking strain of at least 30% of your mainline test weight.

Another essential factor is the length of your fishing leader. A longer leader provides better casting distance and allows your bait or lure to move more naturally in the water. However, it’s important to consider the fishing conditions and the species you’re targeting. In some cases, a shorter leader may be more effective.

Finally, it’s essential to consider the visibility of your fishing leader. In clear waters, a highly visible leader may put off some species. In this case, consider using a leader with a lower visibility rating. Fluorocarbon leaders are best for this, as their low visibility allows them to blend in with the water, making them almost invisible to fish.

Rigging and Setting up Fishing Leaders

Once you’ve selected the best fishing leader for your needs, it’s time to rig it up correctly to maximize your chances of catching that elusive fish. The following steps outline the basic process for rigging your fishing leader:

  1. Tie the leader to your mainline – The most common way to attach your leader is by using a double uni knot or another suitable knot. Tie a loop in the end of your leader and pass it through the loop in your mainline before pulling it tight.
  2. Adjust the length – Depending on your target species and fishing conditions, you may want to adjust the length of your leader. To do this, simply cut your leader to the desired length and tie a loop in the end to reattach it to your mainline.
  3. Attach your hook or lure – Tie your hook or lure to the end of your leader using a suitable knot. Make sure it’s secure and won’t come loose during casting or retrieval.
  4. Test your rig – Before casting your line, give your rig a few test casts to make sure everything is working smoothly. Adjust the length or weight as necessary to get the desired results.

Remember, the right rigging technique can make a significant difference in your fishing success. Take the time to learn and master the appropriate knots and techniques for rigging your fishing leader.

Fishing Techniques with Leaders in New Zealand

Fishing leaders are essential components for catching fish in New Zealand, but knowing the right techniques to use with them is equally important. Here are some fishing techniques to help you make the most of your fishing leader:

Fly Fishing

Fly fishing is a popular technique in New Zealand, and a fishing leader plays a crucial role in it. Opt for a long leader when fly fishing, as it provides more control and accuracy in casting. A leader length of 9-15ft is ideal, with a breaking strength of 6-8lbs. Use a tapered leader for better presentation, and select a leader with a low visibility for clear water conditions.


Surfcasting is another popular technique that requires a sturdy and robust fishing leader. A braided leader is a great option for surfcasting, as it provides better sensitivity and strength. Opt for a leader length between 2-3 meters, with a breaking strength between 20-30lbs, depending on the target species. A shock leader is also beneficial to absorb the force of casting and prevent line breakage.

Bait Fishing

Bait fishing is a versatile technique used in various New Zealand fishing conditions, and selecting the right leader can make a significant difference. Use a fluorocarbon leader for better visibility and abrasion resistance, with a length between 1-2 meters and breaking strength between 10-20lbs. A thinner leader provides more sensitivity, while a thicker leader offers more abrasion resistance.

By using the right techniques with your fishing leader in New Zealand’s diverse fishing conditions, you increase your chances of success. Experiment with different techniques and adjust your approach based on the conditions and target species to maximise your catch. Remember to also follow local fishing regulations and practice responsible angling.


As we come to the end of our guide, we hope you have gained a deeper understanding of fishing leaders and how they can enhance your angling experience in New Zealand. Remember that selecting the right fishing leader is crucial, so take the time to consider factors such as material, strength, length, and visibility before making your purchase.

Expert Tips:

If you’re still unsure which fishing leader to choose, consult with an experienced angler or visit your local fishing store for advice. When rigging your leader, ensure that you tie strong knots and attach it correctly to your mainline. Also, remember to adjust the length of your leader depending on your fishing conditions and target species.

Whether you’re surfcasting in the rugged West Coast or fly fishing in the tranquil streams of Canterbury, adapt your fishing techniques accordingly. With practice and patience, you’ll soon be reeling in that trophy fish!

Stay tuned for more fishing insights and tips from us. Until then, tight lines and happy fishing!


What are fishing leaders and why are they essential?

Fishing leaders are additional pieces of line attached between the mainline and the hook or lure. They serve to improve the strength, durability, and invisibility of your setup. They are essential because they provide protection against abrasive structures, prevent fish from seeing your mainline, and increase your chances of landing big fish.

What types of fishing leaders are available in the New Zealand market?

In New Zealand, you can find various types of fishing leaders, including fluorocarbon leaders, wire leaders, monofilament leaders, and braided leaders. Each type has its advantages and is suited for different fishing conditions and target species.

How do I select the right fishing leader?

When choosing a fishing leader, consider factors such as the fishing conditions, target species, line strength, visibility, and abrasion resistance. It’s essential to match your fishing leader to the specific requirements of your fishing situation to maximize your chances of success.

What is the best way to rig and set up a fishing leader?

Rigging a fishing leader involves tying appropriate knots, such as the improved clinch knot or the uni knot, to attach it to your mainline. It’s important to leave a sufficient length of leader and use swivels if necessary. Adjust the length of your leader based on the fishing conditions and the desired presentation of your bait or lure.

Can fishing leaders improve my fishing techniques?

Absolutely! Fishing leaders can enhance your techniques by increasing the stealth of your setup, allowing for more natural presentations, and providing added strength when targeting larger fish. By adapting your fishing techniques to work in conjunction with fishing leaders, you can improve your chances of success in various fishing scenarios.