It’s a very common tactic in offshore fishing to splice various lengths of mono or fluorocarbon leader into hollow braid to make an almost seamless connection between the two. This is done for backing a spool to increase capacity or adding a top shot of mono as a shock leader so as not to pull hooks. There are a variety of ways to do this, but a simple one is to just thread the leader into the hollow braid as long as the diameters are similar enough to thread and to hold.
What’s not common is for anyone to use these tactics for inshore fishing, and to be honest, you don’t need to in many cases because the line and leader you’re using is too small to be practical. But I’ve found some instances that are unique and require “offshore-sized” tackle to pull powerful fish from heavy, barnacle-encrusted cover. I’m talking about snook fishing.
A snook likes to lurk in the deepest recesses of marine structures, be it natural or man-made. The shady patch deep under the mangrove trees that are protected by a mire of crusted prop roots that can cut lighter lines at the first touch. They can cut heavy lines too, but the heavier stuff can give you a chance. A snook has a plan to cut you off before he ever opens his mouth to eat your lure.
The deeper you can pitch your lure into the structure, the more likely you will trigger a bite from a big linesider, but you are also in emminent danger of a cut off.
This sets the scene for my thoughts on splicing 40# to 50# fluorocarbon leader up into a mainline of hollow braid. This allows me to use a longer-than-normal leader without the bulky knot to plink through or hang up in the guides when casting. I’m not making long casts here, it’s more like flipping for bass on steroids. Short casts and quick retrieves back out of any little pocket in the overhanging limbs and roots or docks and pilings.
The longer leader lets me cut out nicks in the line, that happen often, and still have a useable length of leader. I started out with about 10-feet of 40# fluoro and can trim it down to 4-feet before I feel like the braid is too close to the bait. This is good because the splice is time-consuming and not something you are going to do on the water while fishing.
Here are the basic steps to splicing the leader, fluoro or mono, into a hollow braid. It helps to be using a quality hollow braid. I prefer Seaguar Threadlock as it is smooth and the threads are very uniform and stable. For this outfit, I’m spooled with 50# Threadlock and I’m splicing 40# Seaguar Premier fluorocarbon into it.
I started to use a splicing needle from my kit, but in the end, I found it easier to just thread the 40# leader directly into the hollow braid. I smooth the tip of the leader by rubbing it on fine sandpaper, the goal is to remove any burrs or edges that might catch the threads of the braid as you insert it.
It’s a little tedious, but work the braid and fluoro towards each other gently. The braid has to be slack to expand and you gently push the fluoro up the braid. Yes, like all things, it takes a little practice, but you will be able to fish a long time with this long leader so it’s worth it.
I work the leader into the braid for about 12 to 16-inches. That will be plenty for the “Chinese finger effect” to hold it. Now you just need to secure the braid so that it cannot slide and release its grip.
I use a scrap of lighter braid, 20#, and double it up and lay it over the junction of the braid and leader. Pass the tag ends through the doubled end and then take the leg on the braid side and begin a series of half-hitches on top of the braid. Careful when you cinch it tight, not to pull the serving off of the braid and onto the leader. It will slide until you get enough half hitches in place.
Then repeat with the other tag end on the leader side. Make your first couple of hitches on top of the fuzzy end of the braid. you can also trim it down to reduce the fuzz. Then complete with the same amount of half hitches on the leader side and finish. Trim the serving short and you have completed your splice.
I use a rubber band wrapped around the leader multiple times and the ends placed over any nearby object to stretch the leader/line tight from the rod tip while I serve the connection. Many like to take the extra step and put a tiny rubbing of super glue or Zap on the serving, but in the case of smaller reels, I chose not too as it makes the connection stiff and I’m reeling the splice into a smaller baitcaster.
Now, this smooth connection can pass through the guides and level wind of the reel with no hang-ups allowing you the full benefit of a long leader just like I use offshore.
Of course, this method will carry over to any type of inshore structure fishing in freshwater or salt.
Get more great fishing tips from Capt. Scott on BD.