Rovex leader/trace recommendations for popular fish

Leader choice is crucial to fishing success. It’s a compromise between invisible and tough. Rovex takes the guesswork out of your choice with this chart of the best general leader for popular Aussie fish.

Use this chart as a start and increase the line strength if you’re targeting extra-big specimens, or decrease line strength if the fish are smaller than average. Try fluorocarbon for finicky fish or in clear water.

Rovex leader recommendations

M = Rovex Mono Leader 100m Clear

F = Rovex Fluorocarbon Leader

Fish species Leader material Leader strength rating
Barramundi M 40lb
Bass F 6lb
Bream F 6lb
Flathead M 30lb
Jewfish M 40lb
Kingfish F 80lb
Luderick F 4lb
Mackerel* M 40lb
Marlin M 400lb
Mullet M 40lb
Barramundi F 4lb
Murray cod M 40lb
Perch, golden F 10lb
Sailfish M 150lb
Salmon F 15lb
Snapper F 30lb
Tailor* M 40lb
Trevally, giant M 100lb
Trout F 4lb
Tuna, yellowfin M 100lb
Whiting M

*If you’re nervous about losing the odd lure, try using a light wire trace for these species.

Braided fishing lines

Braided lines have changed the way we fish. They offer superior strength-to-diameter ratios to monofilament lines and the near-zero stretch properties offer anglers unmatched sensitivity. The thin diameters facilitate more line on reel spools and less drag through the air and water, all of which are great advantages.

Choosing the right fishing line

Fishing line is a simple device. It connects your reel to the fish you catch so, in theory, if it doesn’t break, you will catch most of what you hook. That theory is sound but it ignores some aspects of fishing line that can help you catch more. The variety of line to choose from is enormous. From nylon and fluorocarbon monofilament, to gel-spun polyethylene—widely known as ‘braid’—the scope can make things confusing. So how do you choose the best line for your style of fishing? Start by identifying what you’re likely to catch and ask your local tackle store what the average weight of that species is in your area. This will be your guide to what breaking strain will be suitable. Avoid overkill. It may be tempting to cover all bases by using a 50kg line, but heavy lines have disadvantages to consider.

Your next choice will be which material to use. Standard nylon monofilament is a good place for beginners to start—it’s cost effective, plus it’s easy to handle and to tie knots with. Fluorocarbon monofilament is basically the same but it can a bit stiffer and more expensive. It’s only needed as a mainline if you’re fishing crystal clear water.

Braid lines are growing in popularity because they don’t stretch like monofilament and they have a thinner diameter, which means they don’t create as much drag as mono. These properties offer an angler more ‘feel’ and a more direct link with the hook/lure, which is handy when striking to set the hook and for avoiding being stuck on obstacles.

Whatever your choice, remember that thinner lines offer better casting distance, but too thin and you’ll be sacrificing abrasion resistance. Also remember that your line is only as good as your knots.

Fishing with floats

Many of the fish we like to catch spend much of their lives hanging around the bottom of rivers and oceans. This explains why most fish’s eyes are at the top of the head—it’s practical for lying low, looking up for food to pass by. Therefore it makes perfect sense to present baits and lures with this in mind.

Suspending baits at a predetermined depth with floats is one method of keeping them in visible positions to attract fish. Floats come in all shapes and sizes and suit applications as wide ranging as trout stream fishing to floating big live baits for offshore pelagic predators.

Setting up for float fishing can be as easy or as complex and precise as you want to make it. However, as with all fishing, the more thought you put into what you’re trying to achieve with your rig, the more fish you will catch.

If you’ve never tried floats, give it a go next time you’re on the water. It’s effective, and also lots of fun! The anticipation and excitement will have your emotions riding every wave and movement. It’s an intense, visual experience.

Selecting fishing hooks

A fishing hook is no longer just a simple device. Technological advancements in materials and manufacturing have created so many variations that you’re almost guaranteed to find a hook specifically designed for the fish you like to catch.

The real benefits of these advancements are more evident in heavy tackle applications. Small, light gauge hooks are strong and sharp enough out of the box and rarely need to be anything more than that for the fish they are intended for. However, big saltwater sportfish can bend or break inferior hooks with ease, making your choice crucial to success.

Next time you visit a tackle store, ask the staff to talk you through the different hook patterns and sizes so you can decide for yourself which hooks best suit the style of fishing you enjoy most. More detailed information might inspire ideas for a new rig or tempt you to cast into places you wouldn’t have dared to before. But that’s okay, some of the new shapes and strengths are making the impossible possible.

Sinker selection

Sinkers are the most basic of fishing tackle. If they sink, they work. But the science of sinking is not that straightforward. Like all fishing tackle, they are constantly evolving into a variety of shapes and sizes designed for specific functions. This expanding choice makes the task of picking the best sinker for each application more difficult, but the upside is that if you take advantage of that choice, you'll catch more fish.

The basic role of a sinker is to hold your baits in a specific position. Your choice of sinker style will always relate to this task but is also influenced by what bait and rig you're using, the scenario, fish species and prevailing conditions.

Some shapes and sizes allow baits to waft around in the current, others anchor bait exactly where you want it. Sinkers can be used to make precision adjustments to float or lure rigs and some are used to move baits below the surface, but not all the way to the bottom.

What you can do with these simple tools is limited only by your imagination. Think about the depth at which the target fish are feeding, how much movement you need to allow your bait and then choose the lightest weight that is practical to achieve that presentation.

Choosing the best hook for each situation

Hook choice can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. Factors such as size, shape and weight of the bait, size of the fish’s mouth, strength of your line and reel drag, and dynamics of your rod will all influence what is the best hook choice for each style of fishing.

To make the decision simpler, the most important attribute of a hook is its sharpness. A hook point must be able to penetrate the fish’s mouth and must also have the strength to hold under the pressure.

Finer gauge hooks achieve sharper points and are the most effective at securing a hook-up, but they’re more susceptible to straightening under pressure and the hook point is more easily damaged. Thick gauge hooks are more suitable for bigger species with hook-bending jaw strength, but when using these an angler must keep in mind that several rod strikes may be necessary to ensure the hook-up is secure. For fish that weigh less than five kilograms, I choose the smallest hook which is still practical for the size of bait I’m using—remembering you can catch a big fish on a small hook, but it’s hard to catch a small fish on a big hook. Smaller hooks allow for a more natural presentation and weighting of baits. More specific choices are required for fish larger than five kilograms to accommodate the additional pressure on your rigs.

These same principles apply when you’re choosing hooks such as trebles for lures. Moving the hook point across your thumbnail to see if it grabs is a simple sharpness test you can use before your next cast. If your hooks aren’t sharp, you won’t catch fish.

Fishing rod choice for lure casting

Fishing rods can look similar to the naked eye but modern designs are the result of sophisticated technologies used to create specific attributes—and which attributes you choose is never more critical than when selecting casting rods.

The rods you use for luring will affect how much you catch. For example, small hard-bodied lures and small soft plastic lures are both popular for catching bream—and there’s often little difference in the weight of the two lure styles at this size. However, the best rods for little hard-bodied lures have stiffer tip sections for a ‘faster’ rod response to achieve solid hook sets—because the fish will immediately try to spit out the lure. Some anglers prefer soft plastics rods with softer tip sections for a ‘slower’ rod response—because the hook-up rate will increase if you allow fish time to chew on the lure.

It’s a subtle difference, but this kind of attention to detail is often what separates the catchers from the fishers.