Leaders for Redfish and Sharks

Name: Charles F

Subject: Fishing

Message: Hey Tom, my name is charles, I'm 17 and a huge fan of your show. This summer I just got my license, so I finally was able to start fishing at the south topsail inlet and the New River inlet from the shore. My goal is to catch my first shark and a redfish before winter comes around. I had a run in with a shark the first time I went but it cut through a 80pound braid leader after dumping 150 feet of line. Now I am using an 8/0 circle hook attached to a 1.5 ft 108pound test wire with 5ft of 80pound mono wind on leader with a 2-6 oz sliding sinker. My question: is there a way I can alter my leader setup to target large redfish while still being able to handle a shark up to 200 pounds and cast long distances?

(Sent via Saltwater Experience Fishing Blog)


Hi Charles,

Congratulations on getting your license.  The fish had better watch out now.

For the most part, you are going to need to decide which you want to catch more and construct your leader according to that, but we may also be able to think of a compromise.

This is what I mean:

If you want to get the maximum number of bites from redfish, then scale down your leader to 20 or 30 pound fluorocarbon, use a small hook and just know that if a shark bites, you will probably lose it as it will go straight through the leader.  If sharks are your target, go heavier and use a solid wire leader with some mono or fluoro between the wire and the braid and maybe a swivel.  You see, as your tackle gets heavier and heavier with more and more hardware, the redfish is less likely to bite.  This doesn't mean that you wont catch any, it simply means that the heavier the tackle, the fewer bites you are going to get from a gamefish like a redfish.

In order to have a pretty good chance of catching both, I suggest 30-40 pound braid with a 40 pound fluorocarbon leader that is 2 feet long and a 12 inch piece of solid wire tied to the fluorocarbon with an Albright or Alberto knot.  This may still be light enough to get the reds to bite, and just heavy enough to be able to land a shark of 200 pounds.  If I was in a redfish tournament, this is not the leader I would use and if I was in a shark tournament, I wouldn't use it either.  This is a compromise.

You may get out there and hook way more sharks than reds and lose a lot of them with this rig.  If so, then simply bump up the tackle accordingly if that is what you want to catch.  The same holds true for the reds.

Another idea would be to have 2 rods.  One with a redfish rig and one with a shark rig.

I hope this helps.  If it does, leave a comment and post a picture of whatever you catch to our social.

All the best,

Tom Rowland