Tying a Leader Doesn’t Have to Be Hard

Easy Knots to Tie Fishing Leaders

Learning how to tie leaders is every bit as important as choosing the right rod or choosing the right line. While tying leaders at first may appear intimidating, with a few easy knots, you can tie virtually any leader you need. 

Tying a leader basically means attaching a clear piece of either monofilament line or fluorocarbon line, to a colored braided line. The reason you want to add this clear piece of line is so that spooky fish such as snook, redfish, bonefish or tarpon do not see your braided line in clear water.


For most inshore saltwater applications a wind-on leader is used. A wind-on leader is called such because you are reeling the leader through the guides. 

First, tie a loop called a spider hitch in your braid, where you make a loop with your braid and go through it five times. It is a misconception that a bimini twist knot is needed. Because you are tying braid and not monofilament line, a spider hitch knot works perfectly. 

Next, choose your leader material. The line you choose is up to you, but for this application, 20lb soft monofilament is best as it will slide in and out of the guides smoothly. Length of the leader is also something you need to decide on based upon water clarity, and target species among other things. Cut your leader to your specific application, however, for this application fishing around mangrove forests, about 3 feet is sufficient.

Attach your leader material to the braided loop you created with a knot called the no-name knot. Stick the tag end of your leader through the loop, and wrap it about seven times. It helps to pinch the loop and tag end as you are doing this. Then, take the tag end that you just wrapped, and go through the initial braided loop that you came through. 

An important thing to get in the habit of doing is to wet the knot with your mouth before pulling it tight. This prevents abrasions and allows it to tighten smoothly when you cinch it tight. Cut off any excess tag. You now have the leader attached to your braided line with a knot that is small enough to slide in and out of the guides without affecting your cast. 

Depending on what you are fishing for, you may want to add a bite tippet to your leader. Fish with teeth have no problem cutting through thinner diameter line. A bite tippet ensures that you keep your lure and catch your fish. Keep in mind the action of your lure when choosing the line for your bite tippet. Fluorocarbon is denser than monofilament and can affect the action of your lure.


So for this application with a small jerkbait using 40lb monofilament line would be best. The length needs to be long enough to prevent break-offs but not too long to affect your cast– around ten to twelve inches. To attach the 40lb bite tipped to your 20lb leader a simple blood knot works. 

The last part of tying this leader setup is attaching your bite tippet to your lure. Since you want the most action possible on your lure, you will tie a knot with a non-slip loop. Put your line through the lure’s eyelet and bring the overhand knot right up to the eyelet. Pinch it off and make one and a half turns with the tag end and go through the overhand that you initially make. Now your lure can swing freely with the most enticing action it can make. 

With the knowledge of how to tie a leader, you can not only trick that fish of a lifetime, but you can prevent break offs and cast efficiently all day long, ensuring you have the best time of the water possible.