Shock Leaders 101

Discussion in 'Catfishing Library' started by Zero, Jul 10, 2009.

  1. Zero

    Zero New Member

    Messages:
    64
    State:
    SC
    What is a shock leader? It's a length of line heavier than your main line tied to your main line and the other end to your terminal tackle, and may be 30-80 lb test.

    It does several things for you but is first intended as a safety measure to prevent breakoffs (hitting someone/something with the 2+ oz sinker). The extra benefits are extra abrasion resistance and something to grab and rely on when landing a fish.

    I didn't think I needed one til I had 3 breakoffs in a row, one cast after another, with a 2 oz egg sinker, a shad head on my new saltwater 10' rod and a beefy SLX20SHA reel running 17 lb Sufix Tri+ main line. I was hitting it hard but since using the shocker I've had no problems.

    How do you know if you need a shock leader? Are you hitting 2+ ounces of lead, plus a big bait hard on a surf fishing setup for maximum distance? If so you probably need a shock leader, unless your main line is 25 lbs or better, and then you'll be losing a good bit of distance due to line drag so I'd recommend sizing down and using a shocker anyway. Boat guys don't really have any use for one since they're generally tossing out a few yards or dropping straight down, except for abrasion resistance.

    You probably already have the right size line to make your shock leader if you tie your own rigs. If not, an easily found spool of Berkley Big Game will work great. You want 10 lbs of line strength for each ounce of lead you're throwing. So, say you want to throw 3 oz, get 30 lb line at the minimum, if you toss 4-6 oz, get 50 lb, and over 6 oz get 60.

    Tying your shocker can be a bit confusing at first, as there are usually two knots involved. One is generally a knot to form a loop, like the spider hitch or bimini twist. The second is to connect your shocker to that loop, like a noname or bristol, uni, whatever.

    There's also one knot methods like the albright or alberto knots. Uni to uni works also but is weak when compared to other knots. Use what you're comfortable with.

    Every knot you'll see on my rigs is a spider hitch to noname. It hasn't failed me yet with some nice fish caught. To start tying it, you will need to tie a spider hitch in your main line. Goggle "spider hitch knot" and you will find plenty of methods. Leave your loop about 3" long. Then take your shock leader and tie a noname knot in the main line loop. Google will find directions on it, too.

    Cinch down extra tight and trim your ends almost flush on the shocker part and leave about 1/8th" on your main line loop knot.

    Take her out for a few casts and you'll get used to it fast. To prevent cutting your thumb pad, wind on your knots to the far left or right of the spool, then continue to lay your line evenly.

    No more breakoffs during the cast! Hope this helps. If you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer them via PM. I don't think you can reply in this section of the board.
     
  2. m27dumbell

    m27dumbell New Member

    Messages:
    10
    State:
    Erlanger, KY
    I actually tried this for the first time. I was going to the coast to try some surf fishing. I have couple of baitcasters and a new spinning reel/rod combo. I was using 30lb braid and 80lb mono for my shock leader. I used the power braid recommended knot. I practiced it a few times. Put it on all my rods and went fishing. The very first cast on my new emcast surf rod ripped the ceramic eye out in upper third of pole. Had 3oz sinker. The knot I believe ripped the guide out after catching it. Over the next several days each knot got caught in guides and failed, including the baitcasters.
    I can only conclude that I did not trim the ends enough.
    Brian
     

  3. Zero

    Zero New Member

    Messages:
    64
    State:
    SC
    That's most likely. If you're not slinging 8+ oz sinkers you do not need that heavy of a shocker. That is probably part of it. I throw up to 4 with a 30 and it keeps a nice small knot. Most folks that throw 8 oz regularly only use 50 or 60 lb mono. With straight 30 lb braid you probably could have gotten away with no shocker and stuck to 4 oz of lead or less, just check for abrasion often (since braid has little abrasion resistance vs mono).
     
  4. Graham

    Graham New Member

    Messages:
    67
    State:
    Arkansas
    I've fished on the beach most of my life and thrown 4-60z weights. The problem of the knot catching your thumb or breaking the rod guides can be fixed with a small amount of glue such as Goop. Just cover the knot with it and then taper it down onto the line either side. It won't effect your cast and although I only used mono, I'm pretty sure it would not harm braided line.
     
  5. Eich

    Eich New Member

    Messages:
    549
    State:
    Mount Joy,
    The general rule of thumb with shock leaders is 10 pounds of test line for every ounce of lead (+ bait) being thrown. If using 5 ounces of lead then the shock leader should be at least 50 pound test. :wink:

    Ray
     
  6. Blackwatercats

    Blackwatercats New Member

    Messages:
    25
    State:
    Manitoba
    I have switched to 80 lbs test braid for my main line and solved all the problems. still cast a good distance, and never have any breakofffs with 2 - 8 oz of lead. will never go back to mono, leaders or any other setup again. 80lbs test tough line is where it is at. for our 20-30lb channels