Angler: Tom Holloway
I have been using the new Tronixpro Xenon 50/50 tapered shockleader for about 3 months now. I have used them over a wide variety of venues teamed up with 15lb monofilament mainline. To be honest, monofilament does not play a large role in a lot of the winter fishing I do. Much of my winter is spent on rough ground marks in big seas hunting cod, with large baits and strong hooks, in the kelp filled gullies of North Northumberland. For this application, finesse has no place in mainline and casting distance is not always a major consideration. Consequently, I usually find myself in the colder months using a stiffish rod with 65lb braid and a 100lb braid shock leader – anyway I digress!
There are some applications where I still turn to monofilament and for that, I need a shockleader I can rely upon to not only get my terminal tackle out to where the fish are but to bring them back in too! One venue I favour monofilament is when fishing the River Tyne. On all but the smallest tides here the tide pull can be anything from a mere consideration to a major emotional meltdown. Monofilament, I find, holds better in this rip. Yes, the surface area is great for the tide to push against but what it lacks in low diameter it makes up for in stretch. This stretch is much less harsh than the straight-through contact braid gives you with your terminal tackle. Consequently, when fishing in strong tide your monofilament is much less likely to be broken out from the bottom and your rig spends more time in the feeding zone.
The other application I favour it for is clean beaches. I could get away with braid here but I find, again, the stretch value monofilament gives is a benefit worth taking advantage of when the fish are shy biting. Many of us have had frustrating sessions fishing braid when there have been good bites but no follow up. Arguments abound around why this might be the case – fish feeling the resistance of the harsh braid and dropping the bait, vibrations transmitting down the braid putting fish off, I could go on! I have confidence in the fact that when fishing monofilament lines the fish has more time and less resistance when it finds the bait and is more inclined to pick it off and move off with it. This is often why when fishing for cod with monofilament after a few light touches my first sign of a fish on is my line making its way parallel along the beach. Many years ago I would fish monofilament on the rough ground too – up to 30lb straight through. But, the disbenefit of high tackle losses outweigh the sharper bite detection and retrieval power of braid and so I rarely use it now. Maybe if I did my catch rate would be slightly higher, I don’t know for sure but I do know my wallet would be a lot lighter!
The Tronixpro Xenon 50/50 tapered shockleader has really impressed me when using it in these examples mentioned above. It is a very supple line which knots easily and well as can be seen in the pictures showing the mainline to shockleader knot and the shockleader to rig clip knot. I have found the attaching knot to be compact enough to reduce the level of weed build-up you get with straight through leaders as the knot is half the size. Equally the major benefit of a tapered leader is smoother, longer casts unencumbered by the sickening sound of a hefty knot flying through the rings slowing the rig speed down with every bump. You can tailor the length to suit your needs and make it shorter in the base or the head. Some people like to shorten the head to give a slightly higher breaking strain at the knot. Others like less shock leader on their reel at the cast and shorten the base. Just remember though when shortening the base to ensure you do not go too far and cast it on a weaker breaking strain than your sinker (around 10lb per oz of lead).
It is colour graduated from hi-vis orange at the tip of the leader (15lb end to mainline) to clear at the head (60lb end to trace). This makes it perfect to pick up in a torch beam at night when you are landing a fish and is a clear visual indicator of how much line is left to bring in. Equally the clear section at the head is a nice touch for daylight fishing in clear water if there are shy fish around.
I have only lost a few leaders to date and one was from a snag and the other was from a submerged tree trunk piling into my line. Even after frequent use with one leader, there were no signs of abrasion or the coiling you see on some leaders after multiple casts caused by elastic stress. I have not had a Xenon 50/50 tapered shockleader fail on the cast and have had great confidence when bringing in fish on them.