Understanding Leadcore

Leadcore line is something every serious walleye troller needs to have in their arsenal. Not only is it an effective way to get lures to a specific depth, it also adds an action to crankbaits and spoons that is different than any other depth control device. Leadcore “snakes” through the water and this unique angle of presentation and action it provides can often mean it will out fish any other presentation. You need leadcore in your boat! Let’s help you get started fishing leadcore.

Understanding Leadcore

By: Captain Lance Valentine

Leadcore line is something every serious walleye troller needs to have in their arsenal. Not only is it an effective way to get lures to a specific depth, it also adds an action to crankbaits and spoons that is different than any other depth control device. Leadcore “snakes” through the water and this unique angle of presentation and action it provides can often mean it will out fish any other presentation. You need leadcore in your boat! Let’s help you get started fishing leadcore.

Leadcore line is simply a lead line (“core”) surrounded by a Dacron sheath. Leadcore is commonly sold in 18, 27 and 36lb break strengths that indicates the break strength of the Dacron sheath. The weight of the lead in 18 and 27lb leadcore is the same so they sink at the same rate and are the two most often used by walleye anglers, with 27lb being the most popular. Leadcore line changes “color” every 30’ and anglers use these colors to determine how deep leadcore will drop to. Each “color” of lead that is fully in the water will sink down about 5’ at typical walleye trolling speeds.

For most walleye fishing, leadcore is fished in what is called “segmented leadcore”, meaning that there is only a specific amount of leadcore spooled on a reel. Reels are filled with either mono or braid backing, then a specific amount of leadcore is added (1 color, 2 color etc.) then a leader (my favorite is 25’ of 20lb fluorocarbon) is added to complete the rigging. When you fish leadcore you will be fishing a specific number of colors, designed to reach a specific depth. So, if you grab a reel rigged with “2 colors” that setup will sink to about 10’ deep, a “3 color” will go down to 15’ and so on. Using segmented leadcore allows the angler to let out the leadcore and attach an inline planer board to the backing so multiple rods can be fished at different depths without tangles. Remember, always set the shallowest running lures on the outside, and deepest running lures closer to the boat!

While not necessary, most anglers prefer to run segmented leadcore on line counter reels. They aren’t necessary for knowing how much line is out, since all the leadcore on a reel will be in the water before an inline board is attached to the backing, but line counters do help in keeping multiple lines spread out properly. Traditional walleye sized reels like the Daiwa SG27 and the new SG30 work well with up to 4 colors of leadcore. For 5 or more colors, a larger reel works better. Rods should be the same as the rods used for regular planer board trolling. Telescoping rods in the 7’6” to 8’6” range with a medium action and soft tip are the most common and work well.

Any lure can be fished behind leadcore. Spoons, spinners and shallow or deep crankbaits all work. With spoons, spinners and shallow running crankbaits, you can figure the lure depth is pretty close to where the leadcore is running – 5’ depth per color of leadcore- with shallow crankbaits running 1-3’ deeper than the leadcore. Deep diving crankbaits are a little harder to figure out, and each crankbait will dive differently behind leadcore. The “Precision Trolling App” has setting for fishing most popular crankbaits behind different lengths of leadcore and is an invaluable tool for precise depth control.

Leadcore line add a distinct “snaking” motion to lures as it runs through the water that some days can be tough to beat with other depth control options. Serious walleye trollers know that leadcore is an effective presentation and will always have a few leadcore setups on the boat. It works in shallow, mid-depth or deep water and works with any lure type. Add some to your trolling arsenal and you will quickly become a fan!


    CHAPTERS

  • 1. What is Leadcore
  • 2. Types of Leadcore
  • 3. Rigging Leadcore
  • 4. Rods and Reels for leadcore
  • 5. Lure Choice
  • 6. Depth Control with leadcore
  • 7. Final Thoughts