Paul Cooper expresses his thoughts around yet another controversial issue. Leadcore, impregnated leaders and tubing.
How do we define leadcore – For years now leadcore has been readily available, complete as a fully spliced leader, or on spools where you have to splice your own. Leadcore is normally made up of a length of braided type material with a fine lead wire running down its centre.
Leadcore and how to create your own leader – Firstly strip out around 3 inches of lead wire from one end of the braid. Take a braiding needle. Piece the leadcore material at the 3 inch point where you have just stripped out the wire and push it down the center towards the end. At around one and a quarter inches, expose the needle through the side of the material. Place the end of the material into the loop on the needle and pull it back through until you leave a small loop. Hold the loop and continue pulling it back through itself until the end is exposed. Trim off. Now take some superglue and put on a couple of dabs to secure the knot.
Measure out the length of leadcore that you need and splice the other end. Easy, and even easier is to buy one ready made up. You can watch a short video on splicing lead cored material here.
Leadcore is a brilliant way of presenting the last half to a metre of end tackle, tight to the bottom of the lake, out of the way of wary carp and will not rise and fall when the carp wafts its fins when testing your baits. But is it safe?
In my opinion there are certain issues around the use of leadcore – The outer heavy braided material has the tendency of lifting scales on a carp during the fight. Generally, leadcore is made up of strong heavy material of 20lb+ BS and the mainline knots that they are attached too, are the weakest point of the anglers set up. If there is a problem with a break off, the carp ends up towing or wrapping itself around in a length of 30lb+ material which very often leads to a distressed or a dead fish.
There are plenty of instructions on how to make the leadcore system a safe and fish friendly system, but unlike other methods of pinning down, one mistake on this rig and it can be fatal to any carp.
For example, even if you are fishing a system that is dumping leads, the carp still has the problem of getting rid of the stiff lead core that has the tendency to snag on objects more so than monofilament nylon line. Running leads are especially a problem due to the narrow tube that runs through the middle of the lead and tend not to discharge over the leader knot. It only takes a bit of weed, silt or misjudged set up and the lead will remain on the leader and cannot be released or dropped.
Lead impregnated nylon leader – Lead impregnated leaders hit the angling scene a few years ago and they certainly look the business, in different shades and colours to match the lake bottom. Are they safe. Again this is all a matter of opinion. It depends on the user. As with any set up lead impregnated leaders can be abused by using objects or material that are not designed for them. Stick to the instructions and use the same make of safety clips, beads, swivels and rubbers etc and there should be no problem.
Remember there is a loop at the end of the leader and everything needs to be able to easily slide off if a problem occurs. Bearing in mind, lakes do contain weed and silt which can effect this safety release. For reason’s that I will keep to myself, I have not and do not use these set up’s and again have banned them on my lake.
Naked set up – Due to lead core and leader bans on some French and English waters, it is fashionable these days to fish the main line straight through without tubing, as a naked set up. In my opinion this is not a good idea. The last 3 foot of the main line is the part that actually comes in contact with a carp during a fight which can lift scales and cause cuts and abrasions on the carp’s body and fins.
Tubing – So we want to pin down our end rig so how do we do it? Back to the old fashioned method. Tubing.
These days you can purchase smooth but heavy tubing that is as good as any leadcore and it is fish friendly. I have caught hundreds of carp by using tubing to pin down my main line. It is important not to apply any other pin down material on or above the tubing as again this can cause jam ups for the safety devices release if a problem occurs during the retrieval of a fish. Common sense really, and not catching fish at all costs.