Preparation is an important part of fishing, no matter what species you’re after. Musky, though, require a bolstering of your tackle in order to handle their strength and ferocity. Sharp teeth and gill plates are other things that you need to watch out for when seeking musky, which requires strong leader material. When it comes to musky leaders, there are anglers who swear by fluorocarbon for their leaders, while others love wire. Today, we’ll take a look at the benefits to each.
Anglers who prefer long wire leaders tend to lean that way for a few reasons. First, musky often strike a lure head first, which means they can easily cut the line far in front of your lure. Furthermore, a lengthy wire leader gives you something to grab when you’re landing the fish. Wire leaders can be problematic in some cases, however. For instance, short leaders can still be broken under the strain of the twists and rolls for which musky are infamous. Also, wire leaders can become kinked, which prevents lures from running true and weakens the leader at the spot where it’s bent.
Fluorocarbon leaders have grown in popularity, even in the realm of musky fishing. Many prefer fluoro because you can buy it in a number of lengths and it does well in clearer waters, though musky aren’t as finicky as other fish. You have to go heavy with fluoro, though, like in the 100 to 150-lb range. Musky do have sharp teeth and gill plates, but many anglers—and even guides who’ve made the switch from wire—swear that heavy fluoro does the job. You can find pre-tied leaders, such as Tyger Wire, to use, as well. Heavy fluoro can be a pain to knot otherwise.
Whether you choose wire or fluorocarbon for your musky leaders, the important thing is making sure you have leaders that are strong enough to handle the strong, toothy, fish. Both materials offer their own set of benefits, along with their fair share of supporters. My advice is to keep a little of both on hand and keep up with what guides and pros are using most.