Quick Hitter: The Best Wire Leaders for Northern Pike Fishing

the best wire leaders for northern pike fishing
A good wire leader isn’t a sexy piece of fishing equipment – but needs to be in your tackle box for pike fishing!

If you are new to the world of pike fishing, you might not be aware of how important having a wire leader is.

Depending on the fishing technique you are using, not having a wire leader could lead to a lot of lost lures – and nobody wants to see you losing your favorite tackle.

I was taught to fish by my grandpa and dad – usually going after bass or trout.

So, imagine my surprise when I was 10ish years old and landed my first large northern. I was using a Rapala – and the power a large northern has striking that lure isn’t something you will soon forget.

That power – plus the fact that northerns have really sharp teeth, are the reasons that a good wire leader is going to be necessary from time to time – especially if you are going to be fishing for trophy sized northern pike.

Here is a list of the best wire leaders for northern pike fishing – plus some tips on when you might need to use one!

What to look for in a Wire Leader –

The standard that most people use for pike fishing is a 12 inch, 20 or 30-pound wire leader. Color can vary slightly but black or silver/grayish are popular. Sometimes a 6-inch leader is necessary for certain top water lures or lures where you are trying to keep the action from being overly affected.

There are a ton of great wire leaders to pick from, but here is a list of some of the best to use for northern pike fishing that meet the specifications that we are looking for.

The Best Wire Leaders for Pike Fishing

#1CJESLNA Stainless Steel Fishing Leaders
#2Berkley Steelon Wire-Wound Leaders
#3South Bend Nylon-Coated Steel Fishing Leader
#4Eagle Claw Black Heavy Duty Wire Leaders

CJESLNA Stainless Steel Fishing Leaders

These leaders are black in color, 12 inches in size, and has a 35-pound test line limit. Has a snap and swivel layout, and should meet your needs very easily for pike fishing.

Berkley Steelon Wire-Wound Leaders

Berkley has a couple of different options to pick from, so you can go with a 20-pound or 30-pound line test. Mostly of the time I would recommend their 12-inch option, but THEY do carry a 6-inch option for some of your top water and plug lures that don’t run as effectively with a 12-inch leader.

South Bend Nylon-Coated Steel Fishing Leader

South Bend also make a very good, 12”, 30-pound test, steel fishing leader. It is very high-strength, abrasion resistant leader that you will enjoy using!

Eagle Claw Black Heavy Duty Wire Leaders

The Eagle Claw 12-inch, black heavy-duty wire leaders are also a great option for northern pike fishing. They are a 20-pound test limit and let your lures have some nice action in the water.

Wire Leaders for Northern Pike Fishing FAQ:

Q: What Fishing techniques generally don’t require a wire leader?

A: One of my favorite ways to catch large northern is by trolling large Crankbaits! When trolling large Rapalas or other crankbaits, you almost never need to use a wire leader.

The fast-moving action of the lure – plus the large size – makes it really difficult for pike to engulf the lure and cut the line with their sharp teeth.

If you are also casting crankbaits with a steady return, you are going to greatly reduce the risk of a pike tearing off your lure. However, you may want that wire leader if you are chasing big ones!

Q: When do I need a wire leader?

A: Jig fishing for northern pike requires a leader. Their teeth are too sharp and the hit is too hard for a jig to generally survive.

Spinners and spoons should also be used with a leader. Basically, if the lure is small enough for the pike to inhale, it’s a really good idea to use a wire leader.

Also, smooth & quick lure returns generally don’t require a leader, so, it is safe to say slow start & stop retrieve lures generally require a wire leader.

Q: Is there a down side to using wire leaders?

Yes, there is. A wire leader provides that extra strength needed to keep northern pike from stealing your best lures. However, leaders can affect your lure’s action in the water, leading to less hits.

This just makes it more important to make sure you are using the right type of fishing lures – and understand you maybe trading off lure action for strength needed to keep large pike hooked.

Final Thoughts

We don’t want you losing your favorite tackle, and there are very few things more frustrating than losing a large northern pike because they cut thru your line – so make sure you have wire leaders in your tackle box!

Of course, a wire leader isn’t going to work well if you don’t have the right fishing equipment to go with it. So, check out these other articles on the best northern pike fishing lures & best northern pike fishing rods!

The Best Northern Pike Fishing Lures

The Best Northern Pike Fishing Rods

The Best Northern Pike Fishing Gear