Huge muskies. Predatory pike. Trigger more arm-jarring strikes from both of them this season with some exciting new “next-gen” leader technology.
Bass. Trout. Walleyes. And now, muskies and pike? Fluorocarbon has rapidly grown into arguably the most-popular fishing line used by today’s anglers. Bass and walleye fishermen, especially, have showcased how effective low-visibility premium fluorocarbon can be for specific techniques and when targeting pressured fish in clear bodies of water. But what about the toothy critters?
The truth is, more and more smart muskie and northern pike fishermen are starting to realize the many benefits of premium fluorocarbon line as well, largely due to the efforts of fluorocarbon innovators such as Seaguar. For decades stiff (and fish-damaging) wire leaders were the only option thought to be strong enough to handle these 20-plus-pound fish and their many rows of razor-sharp teeth. This has changed over the past 8-10 years. Muskie and pike fishermen are recognizing that premium fluorocarbon is the best leader material for the majority of techniques, and for a variety of reasons, but maybe number one is the line’s near-invisibility that consistently helps draw more strikes from these large wary fish, turning many of those sometimes-maddening inquisitive follows—into solid hookups.
And there’s more good news. Seaguar’s new technique-specific AbrazX Musky & Pike Fluorocarbon Leader material sports true “next-generation” construction, and is built specifically to target these toothy fish. The unique formula is not only highly abrasion resistant, but also allows for thin line diameters while delivering incredible knot and tensile strength. All good things when you’re chasing fish that can inhale half-grown ducklings in a single gulp. Made from 100-percent Seaguar fluorocarbon resins, the new line is extremely soft with low memory, and, as stated, is virtually invisible underwater.
The new line also has caught the attention of legendary muskie angler Pete Maina (releasing a muskie above), whose diligent field-testing has found yet another advantage of the new line. “In battle, big fish often roll; wire leader can cut, remove scales and scratch eyes,” Maina said. “AbrazX is a more giving material. It’s strong enough to give me the confidence that I won’t cut off, yet soft enough to handle well and inflict less damage.”
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Maina has spent a lifetime teaching approaches to target, catch and safely release the king of freshwater predators. “Everything we do today puts emphasis on the best possible handling practices to minimize any negative effects on released fish,” says Maina. “Sometimes it’s the little things like leaders that can have a big impact. We’re shifting our approach from using only wire leaders to tying on fluorocarbon leader material because there is less damage done to the fish.”
Across North America, the number of fishermen targeting muskies, in particular, has exploded in recent years, meaning fish are far more pressured than they were 20 years ago. The most obvious advantage of fluorocarbon is that it is nearly invisible. On some of Minnesota’s most-pressured waters such as Lake Mille Lacs, Minnetonka, Leech and Vermilion, there’s no doubt that lures run behind fluorocarbon are getting bit more often. But the rewards of fluorocarbon don’t stop there.
Beyond invisibility and less fish damage, still another advantage of a premium fluorocarbon leader is its low memory. Gone are the days of kinked and crooked wire leaders that can never be returned to their original state. Fluoro has the flexibility to handle the most-violent strikes, and will even hold up when an angry pike or muskie is thrashing in the net. Thanks to these unique properties, premium fluorocarbon leaders often deliver a much-longer lifespan than wire or even titanium materials.
The new line also has caught the attention of Minnesota-based muskie angler Jack Gavin.
“There are several fluorocarbons on the market today that can be used to build leaders, but Seaguar’s new AbrazX Muskie and Pike Fluorocarbon Leader Material has all the features that a serious big game fisherman could ever want,” Gavin (pictured above) said. “Maybe the number-one misconception shared by some muskie and pike anglers is that regular use of fluorocarbon leaders will produce frequent bite-offs; some of these ‘doubters’ feel that fluoro isn’t strong enough to stand up to the sharp teeth of a muskie or pike, and so don’t want to risk a prize fish swimming off, especially with a $30 bait that would not only result in serious disappointment, but potential harm to the fish.
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“In my experience, these concerns are groundless. I can personally say that I’ve fished fluorocarbon leaders almost exclusively for more than 10 muskie seasons now, and have never experienced a bite off. Not one,” Gavin continued. “And this is with fluoro line possessing nowhere near the quality of Seaguar’s new AbrazX.
“I’ve found AbrazX to not only be highly abrasion resistant and with thin line diameters, its knot strength has been off the charts,” Gavin said. “If you’re using crimps to build your leaders, they lock down tighter than anything I’ve seen, due primarily to the soft-but-strong qualities of this new Seaguar fluorocarbon. Since we’ve started using AbrazX to build our muskie leaders we’ve seen zero signs of wear and tear to the leaders, even after several fish catches. As stated, I’ve been a fan of fluorocarbon leaders for muskies for years, but after using Seaguar’s AbrazX material, it’s become obvious this technology has taken a serious leap forward.”
AbrazX Musky & Pike Leader Material is packaged in 25-yard coils in a zippered, reusable bag. It is available in 80 lb., 90 lb., 100 lb. and 130 lb. test sizes.