What size leader?

short version: what size leader are you using for oyster ridden creeks at low tide?

long version: fortunate enough to live on a creek that holds big (upper 20s-low 30s) reds. It’s narrow and there are a lot of oysters. When these big fish are coming through, there’s barely enough water (10-15" at the deepest) to cover the oysters. Smaller reds are aren’t problem for lighter leaders as i can steer them away. But this morning, i had a big hookup and even with the drag cranked all the way down I was just along for the ride. Eventually he broke off where the leader was cut. It’s happened a few times, and I know it’s not entirely avoidable, but trying to minimize it. So what brand/size leader are you guys using for these scenarios?

While I’m by no means an expert on fishing for bigger (Bull) Redfish, I have caught a few, over the years.

In my opinion, you might want to change your tactics, as, I’m not sure even a 100# leader will hold a Bull Red, ripping across an Oyster bank, in 10-15 inches of water?

You might try catching them staging in the mouth of the creek, at varying tide cycles?

I’ll add that, Most of the bigger (Bull) Red’s I’ve caught, were by-catch, while fishing for Bonnethead’s. Using a quartered Blue Crab, on a Carolina Rig, with a wire leader. You might give the wire leader a try?

At any rate, welcome back to the site, and by all means, keep us posted on your progress, and fishing adventures!!


I would use 20-25# leader, and a long rod (7’+)…hold it up high when the fish is near the oysters…not full proof but you’ll have a decent chance to survive the runs in the oysters. Too heavy of a leader and you won’t get the bite to begin with, and the few that bite will cut you off just the same if the leader gets in the oysters. Good luck, you’ve got a great problem to have ; )


Good tips. Not far off what I’m using already. Even standing out on the dock stringer (it’s mid-rebuild). The setup yesterday was a 7’ st croix 20# braid and 15# leader, thinking maybe 25 leader might be just a bit more robust to handle a few brushes with oysters. For a visual aid, this is what I’m working with… and I recognize the absurdity of my situation. If you’d told me a year ago I’d be complaining about this I’d have laughed you out of the room

Wire leader isn’t a bad idea. Hadn’t considered that. Might give that a whirl actually… thanks!

Several buddies fish wire leaders on a C rig, especially around docks/pilings. Don’t think it affects their production much

15lb braid, 20lb leader. Plenty of bulls on that combo. If they drag you across an oyster bed, it doesn’t matter. You’ll lose it anyway. Unless you run steel leader. Shark proof.

I know that spot!

You could try steel leaders but your numbers will certainly go up with flouro/mono.

I was one told by a great captain that if you’re not getting stuck or occasionally broken off, then your aren’t fishing on the right spot. Keep at it; you’ll figure it out. The reds will continue this behavior in that spot for a while. Once the water warms up, they won’t be there as often. Later in the fall as the temps cool, they will be back acting just like they are now.

Two things I would try: maybe a standup paddleboard to place yourself in a better position or…and this is going to be controversial… get over there and remove the few oysters that are causing you the most problems. Oysters will certainly grow back.

I have a similar spot and the reds are aggressive right now. Even have some good trout mixed in.


I’ve heard similar sayings as well. Still catch a lot of them, just trying to boost my success rate a little. And stop loosing tackle…seems i pay more in taxes to the creek gods than the gov.

I’ll use my SUP every now and then, and that may be the answer to get above the oysters. Have even just waded out there at times too. I get some of those gator trout as well, although only ever seems to be one at a time. But thats a topic for another day.

edit: tried to dm you but says you’re not acceptiing messages