Hooklength when ledgering in rivers

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Hooklength when ledgering in rivers

Post by Grubenreiner » Wed Sep 04, 2013 10:37 am


one think that keeps intriguing me is wich length the trace should have when ledgering in flowing water.
I generally use a straight or link ledger arrangement when stationary ledgering baits like worm or meat for barbel, chub and carp.
In stillwaters i mostly got the grips of it and like shorter hooklentgh around 30cm.
But in rivers i couldnt hit quite a lot of bites with short hooklength. On the other hand, with long hooklength about 40cm i can psoitively strike most of the bites but got quite a few incidents where the hookbait was gone without indication.

If you think about it, with a long hooklength that gets straightened by the current, the fish can move only inches downstream or sideways before an indication but can move a yard upstream without any biteindication.
Im struggling to understand the principles behind this, as theoretically with a short hooklength the distance before you get any indication is the same downstreams and sideways, just the upstream movement gets quicker noticed.
It just doesnt make sense.

I know i tend to overcomplicate things and theorize a bit much sometimes, that doesnt mean i wouldnt know that the better alternative in practice is the one where i get more fish in the net. I just like to try to understand why things are how they are :Wink:

So, how are youre experiences with hooklength in rivers? Any thoughts?


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Arctic Char
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Re: Hooklength when ledgering in rivers

Post by Firebird » Wed Sep 04, 2013 10:48 am

Yes, it's not an easy question to answer - though there are always as many theories as anglers. The only way to be sure is to observe fish taking the bait, usually not possible. Probably the bites you don't see are when the fish move upstream with the bait. Another thing that can make a difference is how you position the rod. Pointing downstream with a bow of line out I found to work well. But in the end one can only experiment and expect to miss some bites.

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Dave Burr
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Re: Hooklength when ledgering in rivers

Post by Dave Burr » Wed Sep 04, 2013 11:06 am

In essence it is best to use the shortest hooklink you can get away with. The shorter the distance from the pivot point (the lead) to the hook then the less distance a fish has to move before causing an indication on the rod tip/bobbin/finger or whatever method of bite indication you are using. When fishing a still water it is possible to get your mainline to lie flat or maybe weighted in the form of leadcore or tubing so that fish are unaware of it therefore you can use a hooklink of just a few inches.

In running water the fact tat you are sat on a bank and the action of the current will lift your line and this is the major factor to consider. Fish quickly learn that line rising of the river/lake bed means danger and they know that there is an area around the danger where not to feed. By lengthening your hooklink you can fool the fish into thinking it is safe or intercept an approaching fish so that it takes your bait before coming across the line. Of course, should you use a long hooklink and a light lead there is a chance that a fish can move it for some distance without it signalling on your indicator and it is why many use heavier leads so that the fish will feel its weight and spook, hopefully with your bait still in its mouth, and thus hook up.

This brings about the whole bolt rig, self hooking debate and the purist will state that a fish that hooks itself has not been truly angled for however, my opinion is that we can only fish for what's in front of us and if you are at a venue full of pressured fish that know far more than any fish the Walton through to Walker ever fished for then you have to meet that challenge with an appropriate method.

Hope this is helpful.

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Re: Hooklength when ledgering in rivers

Post by Olly » Fri Oct 11, 2013 6:44 pm

Upstream ledgering with the rod is high and the tip is bent and straightens when a fish takes the bait & dislodges the lead is an excellent way -- dropbacks! Quiver tipping with the rod pointed downstream and a large bow in the line almost always shows a bite - either by a dropback or pull on the tip.

Hooklengths of newer materials - coated braids - seem the way to go. They do not waver so much in the current being stiffer than mono.

Pumping Nylon

Re: Hooklength when ledgering in rivers

Post by Pumping Nylon » Fri Oct 11, 2013 9:04 pm

Between 2 and 3 feet has always worked for me,i have seen some anglers who use a feeder and only have a hooklength a few inches long but i never did any good with this.A wise old angler said to me years ago make sure you give them enough rope to hang themselves with! :Hat:

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Re: Hooklength when ledgering in rivers

Post by Olly » Fri Oct 11, 2013 10:14 pm

Or a lead heavy enough to hook themselves!

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Re: Hooklength when ledgering in rivers

Post by Moley » Fri Oct 11, 2013 10:31 pm

Generally if using a running type lead and not 'codfishing' with leger weights beyond belief for coarse fishing....yes I am that old!!!!

Really twelve to eighteen inches should do the trick. Especially with a big bow in the line; just keep feeding line out from the reel, after casting until the lead stops moving or cast upstream and fish to drop backs!

However, if Breaming or Barbelling using normal river weights up to 2oz MAX and to my mind that is pushing it, sorry all you 'Carballers' or whatever, vary the length up to 3-4 feet. You will know when you have got the right length....the fish will tell you!

Good fortune and keep trying you will suceed eventually and let us know what you catch?

As ever,......

Mole Power!!! :Sun:
Say aye tae'a pie!

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Re: Hooklength when ledgering in rivers

Post by Kingfisher » Fri Oct 11, 2013 10:43 pm

touch ledgering!! You'll feel every little vibration and be expectant of bites.

God never did make a more calm, quiet, innocent recreation than angling.

Izaak Walton


Re: Hooklength when ledgering in rivers

Post by Frenchman » Fri Oct 11, 2013 10:56 pm


Some excellent information on the balanced feeder/ledger rig.

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Re: Hooklength when ledgering in rivers

Post by John Aston » Fri Nov 07, 2014 10:34 am

Depends-but as most of my fishing is for chub in winter I tend to use very short hook lengths . Rarely more than 12" , often half that as I am using semi bouyant baits and like them to hover just off the river bed . If using braided line (which I do for barbel) then a much longer 3' plus as I found from bitter experience that as braid doesn't stretch all the power of strike goes into hook length which can part without any warning (ie you strike , don't feel any big resistance but hook length gone ). Hence I will always use a long hook length with braid to cushion the shock by stretch

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