What Lead Should I Use? Pt 1 – Leading and Marker Leads

In this series of blogs Paul Cooper passes on his knowledge and opinions of leads and what he believes are the best situations to use them.

What is the importance of using the right lead and size of lead in certain angling situations? In my opinion, selecting the right lead can mean success or failure when different situations are thrown my way. So… lets have a look at what leads are on the market and why they vary so much!

Tornament and zipp type leads – both these type of leads are generally used for distance fishing due to the aerodynamic shape, allowing them to be cast to the horizon.

What leads should you use when carp fishing

A selection of distance leads

Dumpy type leads – these come in all shapes and sizes, from pear shaped, round, square, bottle, oblong etc. There are so many but all are designed for medium to short range fishing which accounts for most waters that I visit.

which leads to use for carp fishing and when

Just a few of the many type of dumpy leads

Trilobe lead and gripper leads – specifically designed to fish on bars or slopes or with the trilobe, for silty lakes



In line leads – again these come in all shapes and sizes, some designed to remain on the line after a fish take and others can be set up to drop off in a similar situation.
Preferred leads for a marker rod set up – When approaching a new water one of the most important things that I do is to lead the lake bed. To do this I need a lead of at least 3 ounces. I usually use my marker rod to both lead the lake bed and establish water depths.

For this I use a 3oz dumpy type lead which is dumpy at one end then narrows off towards the swivel. I find that I can cast this lead at a maximum distance that I would comfortably cast my fishing rods. I use this lead to mentally map out the lake bed and to establish depths and of cause for a mark to eventually cast too. This type of lead is great on most waters but does tend to struggle holding bottom on sandy gravel pits where there is no silt or features. For this type of work I would switch to a gripper lead.


Gripper type leads

The gripper lead will hold the bottom better and allows accurate measurements of depths on flat sandy lakebeds. The disadvantage with the gripper lead is that the casting distance can be reduced.


Specifically designed lead for feature finding

In part 2 of this series of blogs I will outline when I use smaller swivel type leads of less than an ounce in weight and give my reasons and examples.

Paul Cooper


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