Back to Basics June 2021

Back to Basics – Shock Leaders by Martin Wood

This month I thought I would touch on shock leader, whether mono or braid lines, as I am seeing on the forums and on Facebook a lot of debate for new people asking questions, some of the info is great and some which is just downright dangerous!
So I thought I would cover the aspects of good beach safety within the angling community.

So let’s start with shock leaders! Just lately there have been a lot of questions regarding length and poundage or if one is even needed so we shall address this accordingly.
If you are beach fishing whether on your own or not safety is always paramount and in my opinion and many other anglers as well a shock leader should ALWAYS be used!

The general rule of thumb is 10lbs of line for 1 oz of weight so if you’re using 6oz leads you really want a minimum of 60lb shock leader, I mainly use 6oz leads but I use a 70lb leader for safety because should it be lightly damaged or ruffed up by the mark or fish and is not noticed its generally still safe enough, it just gives a cushion of safety.

How long should the shock leader be? Well if it’s for casting, it is generally two lengths of your rod and then two or three turns on your reel, this way when power casting or even just normal casts it takes the shock all the way to the reel and has no weak point and resulting in your mainline not being broken.

Do I need a shock leader with braid? My answer here is plain and simple..yes you do!
Why not be safe? You have to think about other users on the beach even if you don’t care about your own health, there is no stretch in braid and if your cast isn’t smooth the jolt on the braid can snap it pure and simple.
I know that some knots can be tricky with braid or cause large knots but just buy a tapered leader and the then length is the same again as above and the tapered leader will give a much smaller knot.

People who tell you they have casted for years without a shock leader and its fine clearly have no regard for other in the sport or their own safety.
It is not alright at all its nothing short of dangerous and again knots weaken line as does the seabed so a mainline straight through really isn’t so clever.

Even when people use braided line of 50lb and a 5oz weight you should be using a shock leader how would you feel if you were with your kids on the beach or a loved one and a 6oz lead flies your way due to a crack off mid cast it can be lethal.

Obviously if your just cobbing the lead out 20-30 yards that is different and won’t be needed, but I would still use one regardless and helps if you’re on your own and get a large fish if you beach it and you have leader on your reel you’re a lot stronger to move the fish with no breaking of the line or you can grab the leader and pull the fish clear of the surf.

Please always think of your own health as the RNLI or coastguard or other services will be called and cost when it could have been prevented in the first place good etiquette costs nothing compared to the cost if you injure yourself  or heaven forbid someone else.

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