Making fishing leaders is easy, and it’s really something I had to do more of because of the types of fishing I do. It saves money and I find it to be enjoyable. There are really 2 ways to make a fishing leader.

  • Leaders with a GOOD knot.
  • Leaders made with crimps.

How to Make Fishing LeadersNow if you ask this question around circles, you’ll hear reasons for both. Me personally, I like using crimps. It’s fast, easy, cheap, and they rarely let you down. BUT, there is a science to making them right. And I will explain.

How Long Should My Fishing Leader Be?

Well, I guess it the species you’re fishing, but it’s generally between 9 – 18 inches in length. I like to go on the longer side for muskies, and a bit shorter for smaller pike.

The main reason I started making fishing leaders, was because I was tired of losing baits to pike. I fish a few tournaments on Devils Lake, ND, and it’s an amazing pike fishery. But the tournaments I fish for are for walleye, so pike, unfortunately, get in the way. When you’re slinging $10-15 crankbaits in the shallows, you better be rigged with a leader.

So with that being said, let’s get into how to make fishing leaders…


There’s 3 types of fishing leader line: mono, fluorocarbon, and wire leaders. There are reasons to use all 3 but for this tutorial, I’m using fluorocarbon. It’s extremely clear and has pretty good strength. I’m using 30 lb. fluoro for this tutorial.

I highly recommend going with a name brand for your leader line. With all the corners you can cut in fishing, don’t cut this one (my opinion).


There are 2 kinds of connectors: single and double barrel. More often than not, you’re going to be using double barrels (ESPECIALLY for thick line). But it takes a special 45-degree crimp, and can easily fail otherwise. So for thinner line and for ease of use, I’m using the single connectors in this tutorial.


If you search for crimpers, you’re going to find a ton. The market is flooded with knock-offs, and a lot of them show with poor ratings. I’ve asked around and I hear the same from veteran musky and pike anglers – they use High Seas Crimpers. I picked up a model that is great for a thinner line. This is the problem with most crimpers, they’re made for thick saltwater (I’m VERY far from the Salt Life)… So stick with a good pair, and it’ll last and serve you well.


A pretty simple step, really. Choose the right clip for your fishing application, as well as the swivel. I like to use a clip and swivel small enough that it’s barely visible but strong enough to withstand a 40-inch pike. When in doubt, have many sizes available.

Now the fun part…making the leader! If you’re into seeing it on video, I made a video on how to make fishing leaders below. If you want to see it slowed down, continue on.

DIY Fishing Leader Tutorial Video

For my tutorial, I’m making 12-inch fluorocarbon leaders, made with 30# test. If you want the end result to be, in fact, 12 inches…you’ll want to add another 3 inches to account for the loop and some excess. Just keep that in mind when making leaders.

DIY Fishing Leader

First off, slide the connector down the line. Then, feed the line through the fishing hook clip, and back around through the connector. The line should stick out maybe an inch. You’ll want to adjust the loop accordingly, so it’s not too big.

Then, you’ll want to crimp the connector down hard. The key is not TOO

crimp leader for fishing

 HARD or it’ll weaken the line too much. This is where it’s kind of a science. After that, clip off the excess so there’s not too much sticking out.

Repeat the same steps with the swivel.

As you can see in the short video, the process is actually quite simple. A single leader can withstand quite a few pike explosions before it’s time to put on a new one. MONITOR YOUR FISHING LEADERS for weak spots, so it won’t break in future casts or fish. Don’t be afraid to change them up…after all, that’s why you’re making them in the first place!

I hope this tutorial on making fishing leaders was beneficial.

fluorocarbon leaderTight Lines

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