Shock Leaders For Spodding

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Shock Leaders For Spodding - Main Picture

By James Bevan

Last updated: 5th June 2024

The use of a shock leader when casting heavy loaded spods or spombs is a technique many carp anglers swear by. But is a shock leader really necessary? And if it is, how do you use one? Let's break down everything you need to know on shock leaders for spodding in this full guide.

What Does A Shock Leader Do?

A shock leader is a heavier line attached to the mainline usually in the form of monofilament or braid. Its goal is to absorb pressure during casting that would otherwise stress the rod, reel, and mainline. 

With a shock leader, the risk of crack-offs or gear damage is reduced. Shock leaders are especially useful for helping to achieve long distances when casting, as well as casting heavy loads like fully loaded spods or spombs.

Is A Shock Leader For Spodding Necessary?

To cut to the chase, the general consensus is yes, it's advisable to use a shock leader for spodding, even when employing a high-grade spod rod. The main aim here is to ensure additional strength and support to prevent the dreaded breakages or, worse, breaking your rod in two.

Products like the Korda Armakord are an excellent choice for distance casting and are compatible with most spod braids and monos, offering an added level of confidence when casting.

However, as with all fishing matters, it's not so straightforward. Although most carp anglers advocate the use of a shock leader as a means of preventing breakages and crack-offs, there are circumstances when you may not require one.

For example, if you are fishing close in (up to 40 yards) and you don't need a powerful cast then you can get away without one. Equally if you are casting a light spod or spomb (up to 5 ounces), again a shock leader isn't really needed.

What are the Benefits of Using a Shock Leader in Spodding?

As previously stated, a shock leader operates like a safety net during casting - mitigating the risk of breakages and potential accidents. It absorbs the force from the heavy spod upon casting, which can result in enhanced distance and precision, especially when coordinated with your reel's line clip.

Another significant advantage is that it can minimise the wear and tear on your fishing gear. By decreasing the likelihood of damage to your rod, reel, and mainline from the strain or friction during casting, it could save you some expense in the long run.

A broken spod fishing rod

Using a shock leader does have an advantage of preventing rod breakages

What are the Drawbacks of Using a Shock Leader in Spodding?

There are some minor disadvantages to using a shock leader in spodding. One potential issue is that it can complicate casting. If your shock leader isn’t harmonised well with your rod and reel setup or isn't tied correctly, it may cause unnecessary friction.

When it comes to tying, it can be somewhat tricky. It necessitates some knot-tying expertise, and achieving a robust, secure connection can be somewhat challenging for some. The additional time spent preparing can be frustrating, particularly if you need to retie the knot due to fraying or damage.

The Different Types Of Shock Leader

When it comes to shock leaders for spodding, there are two primary options anglers turn to - standard leaders and tapered leaders.

Standard leaders provide consistent strength throughout the entire length. This type, made of a strong braided line, is a very popular choice among carp fishermen for spodding duties. The unchanging diameter and the lack of stretch in the braid delivers reliable casting performance.

Tapered leaders are thinner at the end attached to the mainline but progressively taper up to a thicker diameter at the other end. Monofilament line is commonly used to construct tapered shock leaders. 

The taper potentially allows for smaller, more streamlined knot connections. This can help reduce friction during long casts. Tapered shock leaders are more prevalent in sea fishing but may also assist when feeder fishing with lighter mainlines.

For spodding, I have found that a braided shock leader of around 50lb test has never let me down. The braid efficiently absorbs stress while minimising abrasion on the mainline. When paired with a thin, low-diameter mainline, this combination delivers confident and accurate spodding or spombing with a reduced risk of crack-offs.

What Knot Is Best To Tie A Shock Leader For Spodding

There are a few knots that are sufficient to use when tying a shock leader to a mainline for the purpose of spodding, however my go to knot is always the Albright knot and I share this sentiment with many carp anglers that use a spod rod often.

Here is a useful video on how to tie the Albright knot...

What Is The Ideal Shock Leader Length For Spodding?

There are a few different theories on what is the best length of shock leader for spodding. In my personal experience, I have always used an equation of half the length of your rod, plus 5 feet. This should see a good 5 or so turns of the reel with the shock leader on the spool.

So, for a 12 foot spod rod a shock leader length of 11 foot should be used and for 10 foot spod rod a length of 10 foot should be used.

Final Thoughts

In summary, a shock leader for spodding isn't mandatory, however it is advisable both for efficiency and performance when conducting the task. It can also be a real advantage for the safety and protection of your gear which for the sake of a few quid, is probably worth it.

I hope this guide has been helpful.

Happy Casting!