As an angler who likes to fish for carp, your choice of leader can make all the difference, along with your fishing technique.
Basically, there are two paths to go when it comes to leaders carp fishing: lead-free and lead-core leaders. Many fishers prefer lead-free because they’re allegedly safer for the fish, while others like to stick with good old lead core leaders because of their heavy weight and excellent sinking capabilities.
Whether you prefer leadcore or lead-free leaders, we’ve put down a list of some of the best options for both designs.
|Gardner Camflex Leadfree Leader||Check Today's Price|
|FOX Submerged Camo Lead-Free Leader||Check Today's Price|
|ANGRYFISH Braided Lead Wire Fishing Line||Check Today's Price|
|Bank Tackle Lead-Free Leader||Check Today's Price|
|Korda Kable Leadcore||Check Today's Price|
|ESP Leadcore 25m Bulk Spool Carp Fishing Leader||Check Today's Price|
|Avid Carp Outline Pindown Braided Hooklink 20lb||Check Today's Price|
The Top 7 Best Lead-Free and Leadcore Leaders in 2023
Now, let’s explore the ins and outs of some of the most popular lead-core and lead-free leader choices on the market, so you can decide which one best suits your needs.
Gardner Camflex Leadfree Leader
- Incorporates sturdy PTFE fibres that make it heavier and stronger than other options out there
- The abrasion-resistant design provides protection against gravel bars and snags
- Features a large 0.60mm diameter for added strength
- Available in muddy silt and weedy green colours
- Flaunts a breaking strain of 35lbs with a 10-meter spool length
FOX Submerged Camo Lead-Free Leader
- This lead-free leader sinks faster than many other lead-free leaders on the market thanks to its relatively larger diameter and heavier weight
- The diameter measurement makes the FOX Submerged Camo leader a good choice for splicing
- Features a nice camo pattern and lies over debris quite effectively
- Integrates a kinking-resistant design despite the larger-than-average diameter
- Available in 30lb, 40lb and 50lb breaking strain models with 10-meter spools
ANGRYFISH Braided Lead Wire Fishing Line
- Allows for easy and quick hook fixation and sinks pretty fast
- Designed for carp fishing
- Braided thread-wrapped surface for extra smoothness and strength
- Sports a heavy lead inner core that’s not only supple but also helps leaders settle flush to the lake bed
- Available in the following configurations: 25lb-11yds, 35lb-11yds, 45lb-11yds, and 60lb-11yds
Bank Tackle Lead-Free Leader
- Features a large diameter that gives it extra weight for faster sinking
- Can withstand pretty much any underwater obstacles or debris particles
- Comes in 10-meter spools with a 45lb breaking strain
- The larger-than-average diameter makes the Bank Tackle leader super easy to splice
- Available in brown and weedy green colour varieties
Korda Kable Leadcore
- Designed for use over virtually any terrain that has sand, clay, and gravel spots
- Easy splicing with robust loops that allow for convenient connection to the terminal tackle and reel line
- Features a supple material, a breaking strain of 50lb, and 7-meter/25-meter spool length choices
- Available in 2 dual-shade finish colour options (gravel and weedy/silt) that help break the outline of the leader, allowing it to blend nicely into the lake
ESP Leadcore 25m Bulk Spool Carp Fishing Leader
- Fast sinking with a breaking strain of 45lb and a spool length of 7 meters
- Supple material provides softness and strength
- Capable of following its contours
- Fast sinking, high abrasion resistance and easy splicing
- Available in the following colour choices: silt grey, weedy green, camo brown, and sandy gravel
Avid Carp Outline Pindown Braided Hooklink 20lb
- Designed with a supple material, this Avid leader is tried and tested over many types of terrains
- Its sinking rate isn’t the best around, but it’s definitely acceptable
- Comes to rest quite nicely after sinking down in the water
- Relatively easy to splice compared to other leaders
- Comes in a 50lb breaking strain configuration and 2 colour options: silt and weed
How to Choose the Best Lead-Free or Leadcore Leader
Choosing the perfect leader requires a bit of a trial and error approach. You might end up trying out 2 or 3 leaders before settling on one. To make things easier for you, here are some of the factors that you need to take into consideration when shopping for a lead-free or lead-core leader:
Strength and Weight
Heavier leaders sink more easily, so the heavier and stronger your leader is, the better. Leadcore leaders are heavier than lead-free ones, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a lead-free leader that sinks nicely.
Whether you go for a lead core or lead-free leader, try to choose one with a large diameter. These tend to be the heaviest, allowing them to sink faster.
Splicing prevents carp from coming in contact with the fishing line, which often causes them to move away. Some carp leaders are easier to splice than others, so that’s something to look for when comparing different leaders.
Kinking can ruin your fishing experience. To reduce the likelihood of this happening, try to choose a leader with a good level of kinking resistance. Lead-free leaders are the least prone to kinking.
There are two things to keep in mind when assessing the breaking strain of a leader: the lead you’re casting and the casting style.
As a general rule of thumb, you need 10 lbs for every ounce of the lead cast. So, for example, a 4oz lead requires a leader with a 40lb breaking strain.
If you utilise a power casting style with high speed and greater compression in the rod, it’d be safer to add 10lb to the leader’s weight as a safety cushion.
Also, remember that a relaxed swing from the beach is nothing compared to a power pendulum arc on the field. In a professional field, the rig and the bait don’t burden the lead, giving it more power.
On the other hand, casting on the beach means that your cast may face a strong wind and various obstacles. Add to that the unsure footing and the awkward stance. All of these factors result in a braked power input.
If you’re one of the anglers that like to use continental-style overhead casting techniques, a minimum breaking strain of 40lbs is highly recommended. On the flip side, a lower breaking strain might be tolerable when you don’t need powerful overhead casts or when you’re short-range rock carp fishing.
It’s also worth noting that casts can be unpredictable, even when you’re careful. From thumb slips to grip loss and line damage, even the most professional anglers can make mistakes, which is why adding a safety margin to your leader’s breaking strain is good practice.
What Are the Advantages of Lead-Free Leaders for Carp Fishing?
Lead-free leaders are considered safer for carp fishing. They’re also less prone to kinking. And while lead-free leaders aren’t as heavy as lead core leaders, they’re pretty close, providing fast-paced sinking.
Difference Between Lead-Free and Leadcore Carp Leaders
The most obvious difference between lead-free and lead-core leaders is the material. As their names imply, lead core leaders contain lead, while lead-free leaders are made of other materials. Most reliable lead-free leaders are constructed from 100% heavy PTFE fibres, giving them a heavy weight without including lead.
But what’s the point of making leaders without lead? Well, some say that lead-free leaders are safer for the fish than their lead-core counterparts. There’s little evidence that supports this claim, considering that lead core leaders have been used for ages.
Sure, lead-core leaders might be too bright, but in most cases, they blend just fine with underwater particles like leaves, debris, and stick twigs.
A considerable number of anglers also complain that leadcore leaders tend to kink, a problem that’s less frequent with lead-free leaders.
On a side note, keep in mind that the way you use your lead-packed leader plays a huge role. Experts believe that almost all types of leaders are safe when used correctly. So, before testing out a new leader, familiarising yourself with the best way to use it would be a good idea.
How Long Should Your Leader Be for Carp Fishing?
Ideally, your fishing leader’s length should be somewhere between 24 and 30 inches. Of course, there are multiple variables that influence this, like weather, fishing style, underwater features, and your main line.
So these were some of the most promising lead core and lead-free leaders you can get your hands on.
If we had to pick a winner, it’d be the Gardner Camflex lead-free leader. It’s heavy, easy to splice, and has good abrasion resistance. It’s uncommon to find a leader that has all these qualities combined.
Alternatively, you can opt for the Korda Kable Leadcore carp fishing leader if you’re not into lead-free leaders. It flaunts a dual-finish, doesn’t require much effort to splice, and can be used over most types of terrains.
Another good option would be FOX Submerged Camo lead-free leader. It comes in multiple configurations, ensuring that you can choose the one that best suits your lead and casting style. It also sinks much faster than other leaders.