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 New Posts  The Dangers of Leadcore
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Posts: 30589
   Old Thread  #1160 15 Mar 2012 at 1.22pm  0  Login    Register

Having said all of the above as a reason not to use lead core I am also now aware of the dangers of all leaders. Simon Crow’s pictures of the carp that he was unfortunate enough to pull in fixed to a fused leader give testament to the fact that even a small “adjustment” to any rig can result in a dead carp. I accept that the bead in this case had been turned through ninety degrees and had been pierced “across” the hole but I have seen this suggested in the magazines on several occasions as a solution to stop the beads slipping on the cast. In short it can’t be blamed solely against that particular angler as Simon even said that the top bead slid off easily when he tried it but that even this leader had managed to kink.

Personally I feel that we should all take this opportunity to ensure that we minimize the risk as much as possible and try our hardest to use the safest rig possible for each fishing situation. I will put my hands up and admit that I use leaders when I fish the river Saone. The riverbed is so severe that I would suffer numerous cut-offs if I didn’t but I use them in a way that puts the “week link” as close to the hook as possible. My set up is 55 lb braided main line with a casting leader of 110 lb braid to withstand my need to cast 5 to 8 ounce leads. I then add a 30 lb fluoro leader of about 5 feet with my lead attached via a large eye swivel as a running rig and the whole lot is completed by the use of an 18 lb Ghost hook link. My belief is that any break should be at the hook link swivel and this fact should leave the carp with very little to get rid of.

When fishing my lake I use a light lead running rig without any leader or tubing based on the same principal as above. If a snap does occur it should be fairly close to the hook. I have heard some anglers suggest that even my rigs aren’t totally safe because I could still suffer a cut off close to the rod and the carp will be left towing a length of mono. I agree that this is a possibility but exactly the same could happen with a leader and then the carp is left towing a length of mono AND a leader. I would reiterate that all it takes is for each of us to stop, before we cast out, and ask “do I really need to tie on a leader?” If it isn’t needed why use it? You may actually find, as my friends and I have, that your catch rate improves without it. After all why go to all the trouble of choosing the best main line so that the carp can’t see it and then tie on a length of material which is three or four times the diameter so that the carp can spot it more easily?

If this article just gets a few more anglers thinking about fish welfare then it will have been well worthwhile.

Be lucky.

Keith Moors.


Posts: 30589
   Old Thread  #1159 15 Mar 2012 at 1.20pm  0  Login    Register

My first really disturbing discovery was a mid twenty mirror which was towing a bunch of small sticks and weed, around which was wrapped a length of lead core. There was no lead attached. The lead had been shed as it should but the lead core had still managed to wrap itself around the sticks and these had then been dragged through the weed thereby increasing the amount of snag being towed. Luckily the fish was relatively unharmed but, probably because of the weight of the lead core, it couldn’t shed the hook.

It was released and in all honesty I didn’t really give it too many more thoughts and believed that it was a chance in a million that that situation could arise and it would be just a “one-off”. However, over the next few years I found another six examples of exactly the same situation and it got worse. Of the seven carp found towing just a length of lead core (I did find other carp towing rigs but these were victims of bad angling so don’t form part of this debate) all of them had managed to wind it around sticks, roots or weed but only four of them could be released unharmed. One of them (a mid thirty common) had ripped the side of its mouth so badly that it has now been nicknamed “The Pipesmoker.” Another (an upper thirty mirror) had to be re-homed because its mouth was so badly deformed that it would never again be able to eat large food items and the last (an upper twenty mirror) was found towing a very large ball of weed and the pressure from this drag had snapped its bottom jaw, leaving the jaw hanging against it’s “chest” and I was left with the sad job of killing it and burying it. Obviously, as any fishery owner facing this situation would have done, I immediately banned lead core on my lake but I also wanted to know why these fish had become snagged.

I carried out several tests and found some worrying characteristics. It was obvious that lead core was totally different to most other materials that we use and it was much more easily kinked than any other, plus it could have the ability to allow some of the core to poke out through the sheath on occasions. I made some casts in our field to try to get some clues and these were my findings:

Upon the compression of a big cast the lead core is stretched but on landing the sheath relaxes more than the core. A couple more casts and the core can then snap and one end of the snap can poke out through the sheath. Obviously this can become an obstruction to prevent a bead sliding off but even more worrying is that the position of this break in the core also becomes a “hinge” which allows the sheath to fold easily at that point. If the “hinged” length of lead core is pulled around a small branch it folds easily and will then allow itself to be completely wrapped around the stick and once a full turn is achieved it simply gets tighter and tighter.

It is my belief that the most dangerous rig is the one left out in the lake after a casting crack off because I noticed in my casting tests that, if I wound the rig back in after the cast, the pressure of pulling it would straighten it out. Probably the act of playing a fish would have the same effect. However, if I walked out to where my lead had landed and examined the rig it had occasionally “crumpled” and had kinks and twists within its length. Now a carp picking up one of these crumpled rigs would easily be heading into trouble. I am fairly confident that hooked carp head for snags and weed beds in an attempt to “rub” the hook free from their mouths, which is probably why they are so proficient at transferring hooks to weed stems. However, with the inherent weight and roughness of lead core it drags down into the base of any weed bed or snag, and beds in more easily than a length of mono would. Add to this the kinks and twists and it then becomes easy to see that any carp which feels the tension from this material may start twisting and turning in order to get rid of this encumbrance and simply makes matters progressively worse.
Posts: 30589
   Old Thread  #1158 15 Mar 2012 at 1.16pm  0  Login    Register
Keith's article is now a sticky.


Right, where do I start? This is obviously going to have anglers who are strongly encamped on both side of the leaders argument. Hopefully I can complete it with sensible facts and suggestions that may make, even a few people stop and think before tying rigs with unnecessary pieces of equipment that can potentially make their rigs more dangerous than they need to be. I totally understand and agree that there will always be a certain amount of risk to the carp whenever we cast any rig in an attempt to try and catch them but I also believe that we are now finding more and more reasons to try to minimize these risks whenever possible. I also believe that this subject is coming to light now because we are all continuing to learn the “rights” and “wrongs” of carp angling as it develops. We have gone through a list of “accepted” ways of fishing only to eventually realise that we could be putting the fish at risk and to develop better ways of fishing.

During the early days it was common to see carp being kept in keepnets but now this is frowned upon. Similarly we no longer use fixed leads and this is another area, which needs more examination to help it improve. Sacks, landing nets, injury treatments and many other small items show that we continue to consider and change where necessary in order to improve the way we look after our quarry and these changes need to continue. By no means do I want this article to appear to be a snipe at the manufacturers of any of the leader materials and I want to put in print just how supportive ESP have been in allowing me to put my findings and my thoughts into print. As a consultant for them it could easily have been seen as working against some of their products and even easier for them to say that they didn’t want the article written, and I would have understood that stance. However they have simply suggested that a balanced view on the debate can only be good for carp angling and that outlook has my utmost respect.

I don’t want anyone to think that I am preaching from a “whiter than white” pulpit so I would just like to give you some background to my fishing which may help to explain how I have now arrived at this point. I started carp fishing in June 1967 using very basic rigs and as my carp fishing progressed so did my enthusiasm to try new approaches in order to “fool” the bigger residents of whichever lake that I was fishing. This series of developments eventually led me to begin trying lead core as a leader sometime during the early nineties. It wasn’t nearly as available then and my first batch was on a huge spool from America which I seem to remember was called “Kerplunk.” It was originally for deep water trolling and had bands of different colours for every 10 metres so that the “troller” could see how deep he was working his lures. I even went to the trouble of dyeing it to more friendly colours and used it for most of my fishing for many years. To illustrate just how much I valued lead core I even “invented” my own knot in order to “be able to use it more safely” and even now if you Google “Keith Moors Knot” you will find a series of diagrams showing how to tie it.

It was not for fish welfare reasons that I stopped using it but simply because I found that it didn’t actually do what I thought that it should. I began fishing a very clear lake and had lowered my rig, complete with braided hook link, into the margins to test the presentation. The margins were about two feet deep and I am over six feet and even from that range the rig was patently obvious. What became even more evident as I knelt down to examine it further was that the lead core didn’t follow the lake contours but simply laid from mini-peak to mini-peak leaving this obvious length of “cord” sticking out like a sore thumb. I immediately changed to a very basic rig and began catching better than before so had no need to revert to using lead core again. However it was always something that remained in my tackle box for future use if needed so I hadn’t immediately become anti-lead core.

In late 2001 I sold up in England and bought a house with its own lake in France, which we opened in 2002 as a fishery for English anglers. This is not an advertisement so I won’t even name my fishery but it is from this point on that I began to discover that rigs don’t always act as we expect. It became evident very early on that not all anglers had managed to interpret the published rig details in the correct manner and I was to find some astonishing rigs being used. They ranged from lead core with swivels at both ends, which the anglers struggled to understand how they could be death rigs, to helicopter rigs with knots in the leader above the top swivel “because the hook link keeps flying up the leader on the cast.” I then began to find carp towing leaders around but initially each time this happened it was a badly made rig, which was found to be the cause so I simply thought that more education was necessary. I think that the big difference was simply because I was living on the lake every day so I was seeing virtually every mistake or unpleasant situation whereas as an angler your views are more or less confined to your own swim and then only for your time at the lake. For all of the days in between your trips anything could be happening without you being aware.
Posts: 374
   Old Thread  #1199 15 Jun 2021 at 6.45pm  0  Login    Register
In reply to Post #1162
I want to use a helicopter lead setup on a spinner rig and was going to use some korda premade leadcore leaders until I just read this article.

How do I still use a helicopter lead setup without leadcore in a safe way?
Posts: 2400
   Old Thread  #1198 13 Apr 2021 at 1.46am  0  Login    Register
In reply to Post #1190
Both very dangerous materials to use imo
Posts: 49
   Old Thread  #1197 11 Jan 2017 at 10.46am  0  Login    Register
In reply to Post #1193
Really!! What the hell is this rig all about, maybe if bailifs carried out more regular barbless hook checks they would also see what they are attached to. All lakes/clubs I'm a member of have a barbless rule. Yet I've never had a rig checked yet in 30yrs of fishing. Just saying.
Posts: 2007
   Old Thread  #1196 3 Sept 2016 at 4.08pm  0  Login    Register
In reply to Post #1160
After reading this have binned the lead core. What would make a suitable leader material for use with 15lb braided mainline? I have some clear amnesia?
Posts: 223
   Old Thread  #1195 4 Mar 2016 at 6.38pm  0  Login    Register

you don't need all that

Just use a rotten bottom tied to a big rig ring pva stringed up for strength

I don't use leadcore either
Posts: 1
   Old Thread  #1194 22 Feb 2014 at 11.34pm  0  Login    Register
In reply to Post #1193
Hi all.

So. I've never used lead core before in the 15 years I've been carp fishing.

So... I've just bought some thinking anglers camo green lead core and had ago at making a safe drop off system.

Incase the lines decide to snap or crack off...I've designed it so the lead and the lead core drop off leaving the carp with just the rig.
Posts: 22735
   Old Thread  #1193 23 Dec 2013 at 7.39am  0  Login    Register
In reply to Post #1192

That is scary.....
Posts: 221
   Old Thread  #1192 22 Dec 2013 at 3.02pm  0  Login    Register
In reply to Post #1191
Regardless of whichever material you use it can't be as bad as this rig I pulled out of my local pond attached to a lump of lily root:-

It looks like someone has plunged their hand into a bucket of Carp rig bits, pulled out a few and put them on to the reel line in no particular order.
At one end there was a simple 8" braided hair rig, tied with what looks like a size 10 hook, and a standard barrel swivel, nothing wrong with that but it went totally bizare from that point on. The hook rig was then tied to a 44" length of 12 / 15lb line running through a 38" length of rig tube!
The line then went through a lead clip, but via the large hole usually intended for hooklink swivel.

On the lead clip was a quick change link, (but no lead), which was held in place by the tail rubber.

The line was then tied to another plain swivel which was then attached to a clip swivel, which held a 1/2oz plummet.

Finally the reel line was tied to the end of the final swivel eye, but it was somewhere in the region of 6lb line.


Well I was.

Posts: 9020
   Old Thread  #1191 27 Sept 2013 at 6.04am  0  Login    Register
In reply to Post #1190
Any leader reduces the safety of the rig.
Posts: 618
   Old Thread  #1190 25 Sept 2013 at 11.27pm  0  Login    Register
i only ever use korda leader now and only when using a chod set-up rig tubing is alot safer imo
Posts: 60
   Old Thread  #1189 13 Sept 2013 at 6.33pm  0  Login    Register
Im not using this stuff again, binned it this evening.
Posts: 4
   Old Thread  #1188 11 Apr 2013 at 1.21pm  0  Login    Register
In reply to Post #1184
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