Fishing Tips – How Use a Sliding Link Leger

The sliding-link leger is a natural progression from the running bomb, and entails the weight being mounted on a separate link rather than on the main line itself. The simplest link leger of all is to pinch swan shot on to a doubled length of nylon, leaving a small loop in the nylon through which the main line runs, This is stopped from sliding to the hook by either a leger stop or a small shot .

The advantages of this arrangement over the lead being on the main line are twofold. Firstly, if you wish to change the amount of lead, there is no need to break down the terminal rig, you simply add or subtract the amount of shot. Secondly, in the event of snagging, the shots will pull off the nylon link, very often allowing recovery of the hook.

When you need to use lead more substantial than a few shot, the nylon loop is substituted for a snap-link swivel on the main line, which allows different leger weights to be clipped and undipped in seconds. The extra mass means that it is rarely satisfactory to stop them above the hook by simple leger stops or split shot as they continually slip.

It is far better to prepare separate hooklinks with their own swivels, with a rubber shock bead between the swivel and the sliding lead link to protect the knots. For even greater versatility, terminate the main line with a second swivel and snap link, to which the hooklink swivel attaches. With this arrangement, not only can you change leads in seconds, but you can also change hooklinks as quickly.

Another variation on this principle is to attach the lead to a short length of nylon and a swivel before attaching it to the main line snap link. This is always used with the nylon link of low breaking strain, known as a "rotten bottom", the idea being that if the lead becomes trapped in a snag it will break away but leave the main terminal rig in place. Use this arrangement if adding a lead link for freelining for pike.

A further extension is to make the nylon link much longer – up to several feet – if you are trying to cope with deep bottom weed or silt in a still water, and combine that with a hookbait of neutral buoyancy so that it comes to rest gently on the weed or silt, while the lead link sinks through it to the lake bottom, anchoring the rig in place. Again, this would usually incorporate a link of lower breaking strain than the main line. If you want to get really fancy, you can also place a balsa float body free-running on the lead link, ensuring that the main line is kept up in the water away from the bottom debris.

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