How to Fish with Lead Core Lines

Fishing with lead core lines is a great way to increase your chances of catching fish. This type of fishing line is especially popular among anglers who are looking for deeper waters and increased casting distance.

What Is a Lead Core Line?

A lead core line is a fishing line made of lead wire surrounded by a sheath of nylon or other materials.

It’s a unique type of fishing line that provides specific advantages to anglers who want to target fish that are deep in the water column.

The line comes in different lengths and thicknesses, allowing you to adjust it to your rod’s specifications.

How Does a Lead Core Line Work?

The process of using a lead core line is relatively straightforward. You simply attach the line to your rod, add your desired bait or lure, and let the line sink to the desired depth.

Because the amount of lead in the core determines the speed at which the line sinks, you can adjust your depth by changing the length of the line you let out.

Do you need a special rod for lead core line?

You do not need a specific rod for lead core line fishing. However, there are a few things to consider when selecting a rod.

First, you will want to make sure that your rod is able to handle the weight of the lead core line. Lead core lines are typically heavier than traditional fishing lines, so you will want to select a rod with enough strength and sensitivity to handle the weight.

Another thing to consider is the color of your lead core line. Some anglers prefer to use a specific color of lead core line to better track their depth and the movement of their bait.

If you are using a colored lead core line, you may want to select a rod with a color-specific tip to help you keep track of your line.

What is the best reel for lead core line?

First and foremost, you want a reel that has a large enough line capacity to hold the thicker lead core line. You also want a reel with a smooth drag system, as lead core lines can put a lot of pressure on the reel, and you want to ensure you have good control over the fish.

In terms of specific reels, there are a few options that are well-suited for lead-core line fishing. One popular choice is the Okuma Cold Water line counter reel, which has a strong drag system and a large line capacity. The Penn Fathom II line counter reel is another great choice, with a high line capacity and a durable build.

Both traditional round baitcasting reels or a spinning reel can work well, but many anglers prefer the level winding system found in baitcasting reels for lead core lines.

What lures work best for lead core line?

Due to the depth that leads core lines can reach, heavier lures are usually recommended to avoid getting snagged or lost in the water.

Some of the most popular lures for lead core lines include deep-diving crankbaits, heavy jigs, and weighted spinners. These lures can sink quickly and reach deeper waters, making them effective for catching larger fish species such as salmon, trout, and walleye.

How strong is lead core line?

The lead core line is considered to be one of the strongest fishing lines out there. It’s made up of a lead center wrapped in a woven synthetic material, which gives it incredible strength and durability.

Typically, the lead core line has a breaking strength that ranges from 18 to 45 pounds, which makes it perfect for targeting large fish like salmon, lake trout, and musky.

What speed do you troll for lead core line?

Most anglers recommend trolling at speeds between 2 and 4 mph. This allows your lure to swim at the right depth while also covering enough ground to increase your chances of a bite.

However, it’s important to note that the speed at which you troll will also depend on the weight and length of your lead core line. A heavier line will require a faster trolling speed to keep your lure swimming at the desired depth.

Here is a good video to show you how to troll with lead core

What weight is lead core fishing line?

The weight of the line usually ranges from 12 pounds to 45 pounds. The weight of the lead core fishing line refers to the breaking strength of the line.

How thick is lead core line?

The thickness of the lead core line varies based on its pound test rating.

Typically, a 12-pound test lead core line will have a diameter of around 0.016 inches, while a 45-pound test lead core line will have a diameter of around 0.032 inches. As a general rule, the higher the pound test rating of the lead core line, the thicker it will be.

How deep can a lead core line go?

One of the advantages of using a lead core line is the ability to reach deeper depths. Depending on the length and thickness of the line, it’s possible to reach depths of up to 5 or more feet per color.

Color refers to the length of the line needed to reach a certain depth, with each color typically representing 10 yards. So, for example, if you’re using a 10-color lead core line, you could potentially reach depths of 50 or more feet.

How do you mark a lead line?

There are several ways to mark your lead line:

1. Colored Markers: The simplest method is to use colored markers or paint to mark the line every 10 yards. You can use different colors for different depths, which will make it easier to keep track of multiple lines.

2. Nail Knots: Another way to mark your line is to tie a nail knot with colored thread every 10 yards. This is more time-consuming but also more durable than markers.

3. Electrical Tape: Electrical tape can be used to mark your line, but it is not as durable as markers or nail knots and can wear off quickly.

4. Line Counters: Line counters are specialized reels or devices that count the number of lines you have out. This is the most accurate way to keep track of your line but can be expensive.

How do you join a lead core line?

Two common methods are: knotless connection and the loop-to-loop connection.

To create a knotless connection, you need to first remove the outer layer of the lead core line and expose the inner lead core. Once exposed, you can simply insert the monofilament or fluorocarbon line into the center of the lead core and push it through until it reaches the desired length. Then, tie a uni-knot around the exposed lead core and cinch it tight.

To create a loop-to-loop connection, you need to create a loop on both the lead core line and the main line. This can be done by tying a double overhand knot in each line, creating a small loop at the end of each. Then, pass the loops through each other and pull tight. This creates a secure connection that allows for easy removal of the lead core line when necessary.

Here is a good video to show you how to tie lead core to monofilament

Advantages and disadvantage of fishing with a leader line


1. Depth Control: One of the most significant advantages of lead core lines is that they allow you to reach specific depths. The amount of line that you let out determines the depth at which your lure will swim. By using a lead core line, you can more precisely control the depth of your lure than you would with a standard fishing line.

2. Sensitive: Another advantage of lead core lines is that they are sensitive. You can feel every bite, nibble, and bump on the line, which helps you detect when you have a fish on the line. This increased sensitivity also makes it easier to fish in deeper water, where bites are more subtle.

3. Stealth: The weight of the lead core line helps to keep your bait or lure lower in the water, making it less visible to fish. This stealth factor is particularly useful when targeting species like walleye and lake trout, which tend to spook easily.


1. Weight: The biggest disadvantage of lead core lines is their weight. They can be much heavier than standard fishing lines, which can make them more difficult to handle and cast, especially if you’re using a lighter rod.

2. Complexity: Using a lead core line requires a bit more finesse than using a standard fishing line. You need to pay attention to the amount of line you let out, the speed of your retrieve, and the depth you’re fishing at, all of which can take some getting used to.

3. Tangles: Lead core lines can be more prone to tangles, which can be frustrating to deal with, especially if you’re out on the water for a long day of fishing.

    Hand lead vs Deep sea lead

    Hand lead core lines are typically used for trolling in freshwater while deep sea lead core lines are ideal for trolling in saltwater.

    Hand lead core lines have a thinner diameter and are easier to handle. They also have less stretch, making it easier to detect bites and set the hook. They are ideal for catching species such as trout, salmon, and walleye.

    On the other hand, deep sea lead core lines are much thicker and heavier, allowing them to handle harsh saltwater conditions. They also have a higher weight capacity and are suitable for catching larger fish species like tuna, marlin, and swordfish.

    Copper vs Lead core line

    Copper lines are thinner than lead core lines, making them less visible in the water and allowing lures to dive deeper. However, copper lines are also more brittle and prone to breaking than lead core lines.

    Lead core lines, on the other hand, are much more durable than copper lines and can withstand the rigors of deep-water trolling. They also provide better sensitivity, as anglers can feel the movement of the line and detect bites more easily.

    However, lead core lines are thicker than copper lines, which can limit the depth at which lures can dive.

    Best lead core line for different types of fishes

    Choosing the right lead core line is essential for catching different types of fish.

    When it comes to striper fishing, a 27-pound lead core line is the best choice. On the other hand, for bass fishing, an 18-pound lead core line works great.

    If you are targeting walleye, a 12-pound lead core line is ideal. For rock fishing, you will need a heavier 36-pound lead core line.

    What color lines should you use to catch fishes?

    Choosing the right color of lead core line can be crucial when trying to catch different types of fish.

    For striper, a black or dark-colored core line is recommended as it blends in with the water and is less visible to the fish. This can make it more likely for them to take the bait without getting spooked.

    For bass, a green or olive-colored core line is often preferred. This color is believed to blend in with the natural vegetation in the water, making it less visible to the fish.

    Walleyes tend to be caught using a more natural colored core line such as brown or gray. This color is believed to resemble the color of small baitfish that walleye typically feed on.