Advice about the use of Back-Leads

Many anglers lose carp and miss opportunities on both Lac Serreire and Badgers Holt due to using back-leads in situations where they would be much more successful without them. There are a few cases where back-leads can be an advantage but many cases where they are a real disadvantage.

Back leadsThe Pros of Back-Leads

  • They keep lines low in the water so that a carp being played doesn’t go through the lines of your other rods. This can be especially helpful at night.
  • In a few cases they can keep lines low in the water or on the bottom near to the rig which can reduce the risk of the carp detecting the line and spooking.

The Cons of Back-Leads

  • They significantly reduce the sensitivity of bit indication for several reasons; Friction of the line having to move through the ring of the back lead, the extra angle/pivot point that is created in the line at the point of the back-lead, the extra line that is on the bottom has to move over the bottom debris that is on most lake beds (leaves, weed, silt, twigs, etc) and this creates lots of drag (in fact at long range this amount of extra drag can be enormous) and finally the ring of the back lead can easily get clogged with weed, silt, etc.
  • If you have any raised feature on the lake bed between the back-lead and your rig (eg a bar or a weed bed) then the line runs from the rod tip to the back-lead then up over the raised feature and back down to the rig on the other side. This situation makes bite indication really bad. A hooked carp can move many yards before you receive any indication at all.
  • If you are fishing near to any form of snags, lily pads, etc then the extra angle in the line, created by the back-lead between the rod tip and mainline, allows the fish to take a considerable amount of line before you get a direct straight line between rod and carp. This allows the carp much more chance of entering the snag.
  • Fish often kite, especially at long range, and keep a fairly constant tension on the line. With a back-lead the fish can often kite large distances with no bleeps or indication at all at the rod end. In many cases the fish manages to rid itself of the rig and the chance is missed.

Do not use a Back-Lead in the following situations:

  • When fishing long range (over 100yds) on Lac Serreire. Because the lake is quite shallow, even with a tight line and no back-lead, at least the last 30yds of line will be on the bottom and therefore not spook the carp. Elimination of back-leads will allow much more efficient bite indication at long range.
  • When fishing near to any form of snag (lily pads, reeds, overhanging trees, etc). Back-leads increase the chances of the fish snagging in these cases.
  • When fishing with any raised features on the bottom between the swim and the rig (eg weed or bars). This is especially important on Lac Serreire when fishing in the Shallows swim, for any rods fished beyond the distance of the small island or in the carp holes and channels towards the back of the swim. We guarantee that the use of back-leads in this swim will result in lost fish and missed bites.
  • If there is any form of weed in the margin in front of your swim.

Back leads2If you do use a Back-Lead

  • Important – The back-lead must be heavier than the weight of the indicator bobbin being used. If the back-lead is lighter than the bobbin then, when you get a take, it will rise up off the bottom before the bobbin is pulled up. This will mean no bleeps or indication until the back-lead has risen a considerable distance and the fish has moved a much greater distance.
  • Try to slide the back-lead out as far as possible. This reduces the angle between rod tip, back-lead and mainline. Do not use ‘captive’ back-leads as these are typically fished very close in causing a steep angle down from the rod tip. These just magnify all the problems mentioned.
  • The back-lead must be free running on the line to allow the line to slide through it.
  • The bobbin must be fished with a drop below the rod so that even a small increase in line tightness can cause the bobbin to lift and give you at least a couple of bleeps. Fishing the line tight through the back-lead and with a light indicator and no drop on the indicator will result in carp kiting and giving no indication at all. This will almost guarantee to cost you fish.

The best solution

  • Don’t fish back-leads on either Lac Serreire or Badgers Holt. They are generally a disaster and will cost you fish.
  • When fishing close range in open water, fish semi-slack lines and very light bobbins for super sensitive bite indication.
  • When fishing longer range, progressively increase the weight of the bobbins and fish the line tighter, but still with a good drop on the bobbin (remember that bight alarms can only bleep if the line moves through them, so a drop on the bobbin is very important).
  • In cases of a lot of wind or undertow, then further increase the weight of the bobbins to maintain a drop below the rod. Lighter bobbins will creep up slowly due to wind and undertow, so more weight must be added to the bobbin. One bobbin cannot fulfil all situations! The fashionable ‘Stow’ bobbins are totally useless for this situation of long range fishing on Serreire with wind and undertow. Be prepared.
  • Do not use fluorocarbon mainlines for long range fishing on Lac Serreire. Due to their weight, they plug themselves into weed and silt and increase the drag required to move the bobbin when a carp moves the lead. Lighter in weight, thick and strong, monofilament lines are better suited to this type of fishing.
  • If a fish being played goes through another line then switch off the buzzer and open the bale arm of the reel on the rod that has been crossed. Usually you can easily land the fish being played and then sort out the tangled lines after returning the carp. If you have counted wraps or marked your lines then both rods can easily be re-positioned even at night.