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A Guide to Basic Legering, Leger Fishing

 

 

 

 

What is Legering?
Legering is basically a method anglers use in fishing a static bait on the bottom of a lake or river bed.

Legering is probably the easiest and simplest way of fishing for bottom feeding fish like bream, barbel, tench and carp.
It doesn't use a float (unless you are float legering but more of that later) but consists of using a weight on the main line and other methods of bite detection such as a swing tip or quiver tip or bite alarm. The weight is used to aid casting and hold the bait in position on the lake or river bed.

Legering is so popular that nearly all specimen and carp anglers use this method in pursuit of big carp, barbel, catfish and other species.

Also, when fishing on running waters or in windy conditions where fishing with a float is difficult, legering with a feeder rod or quiver tip is a preferred method of fishing.

Ledgering tackle and setup.
Other anglers may disagree with me but I prefer to keep ledgering, in fact all of my fishing, as simple as possible. The way I see it, the more complicated the set up or terminal tackle, the more there is to go wrong.


Methods of legering:

Fixed lead
This is where the lead is fixed to the main line. This can be as simple as using a swan shot as the lead and pinching it on the line a few inches away from the hook. The weight of the lead you use will depend on the distance you are casting, the type of the water your fishing in and type of rod you are using. If your fishing running water the lead should be heavy enough to withstand the current and hold on the bottom. If your fishing at distance on a lake then the lead will need to be heavy enough for casting. Using a fixed lead the fish usually hook themselves. The problem with fixed leads is that if a fish is hooked and the line breaks the fish could be left trailing the lead around; for this reason I ALWAYS recommend using a hook length of a lesser breaking strain than that of the mainline. In fact I always use a weaker hook length than the mainline whatever style I am fishing.

 

The paternoster rig is a good setup if you will be fishing in water with a soft silt bed. The lead may sink into the silt but the hooklength is more likely to lay on top and if used with a pop-up boilie or floating bait will rise above the silt.

Running lead
This is the use of a lead that can freely move up and down the line such as an Arlsey bomb. The weight is stopped from sliding down to the hook by the use of a bead or pinching on a small lead shot a few inches above the hook. Fishing the leger is also a good method when using a running lead for finding chub and barbel on running waters, rivers and streams.

In both fixed lead and running lead methods, the hooklength, distance between the hook and weight, is trial and error and will depend on whether you are getting bites or not. I suggest starting with the weight 6 to 12 inches from the hook. If bites are hard to come by then try lengthening the distance. I have fished with 6 foot between weight and hook. If bites are fast and furious (we all wish) and you find your missing them then try shortening the hooklength.

In place of the weight a feeder can be used, although technically speaking this is called feeder fishing. Using a feeder allows the angler to attract fish into the swim by presenting groundbait or loose feed around the area of the hookbait.

how to set a up rod for leger fishing

Rods for Legering
A leger rod uses quiver tips pushed into the end of the rod or has a special tip ring with a screw fitting where you can screw in a swing tip. Lengths of leger rods vary from 9ft to12ft. Other types of rods are used for legering such as the Feeder and Carp rod.
The type of rod to use will depend on the type of water you will be fishing, the distance you will be casting, the species of fish you will be fishing for and weather conditions.
See description of fishing rods

There is some controversy over what is actually a leger rod?
In general if your buying or talking about a leger rod then this is the one that uses a swing tip or quiver tip, but if legering is fishing a bait on the bottom without the use of a float, then in theory this can either be a fishing rod that uses a swing tip or quiver tip, a Feeder rod or a Carp rod. I will leave it to you to agree or disagree. Please don't email me though.

Reels, Line and Hooks for Legering
The best reel in my opinion is the fixed spool. Line and hooks of course will depend on the species and size of fish you will be fishing for.

Set up's for Legering.
 

Swing Tip

For swing tip fishing two bank sticks are needed to rest the rod in. Position the banksticks so that your rod is pointing straight to where you will be fishing and in a comfortable position for when you need to strike. Height from the ground is a personal choice but I prefer to keep it as low as possible but in a comfortable position for striking. The swing tip should be a few inches above the water.


If its a bit of a windy day then when you cast out hold the rod tip under the water until the bait gets to the bottom. You will know this when line stops pulling off your reel. This stops the surface drag of the water putting a big bow in your line. If its a calm day you don't need to do this.

Once you feel sure the bait is on the bottom slowly wind your reel to tighten the line until the swing tip is at an angle of around 65 degrees. It doesn't want to be just hanging straight down and it doesn't want to be pointing straight out, it wants to be somewhere in between. Bite indication is by the swing tip straightening out when a fish swims away with your bait or by dropping back if it swims toward you.

 

swing tip set up for fishing
 


Feeder Rod, Quiver Tip - You will need one or two bank sticks.
On a stillwater, if your going to use a quiver tip rod, position the banksticks in a way so that your rod sits at an angle, around 90 degrees, to where you will be casting your bait.
As with casting the swing tip above, if its a bit of a windy day then when you cast out hold the rod tip under the water until the bait gets to the bottom. You will know this when line stops pulling off your reel. This stops the surface drag of the water putting a big bend in your line. If its a calm day you don't need to do this. Now slowly wind your reel to tighten your line and put a slight bend in the quiver tip. Bites are detected by the pulling round or dropping back of the quiver tip.

 

leger and quivertip setup for fishing

feeder rod set up for fast water

 

If you are fishing a river or running water you want to keep as much line out of the current as possible otherwise it will be pulling your rod round all the time. Using one bankstick is best. Your rod is placed in the rest with the butt sitting on the ground. This way your rod tip is held high up and keeps most of the line out of the water. When you cast, hold the rod tip high to keep line out of the current until the leger / feeder hits bottom of the river. As the leger / feeder falls through the water it will pull line off the reel and cause a tension on the line, you will know when its on the bottom by feeling or seeing the rod tip spring back when there is no tension. Place your rod in the rest and wind in your line until there is a sleight bend in your rod top. Bites are detected by the rod tip pulling over or dropping back.

 

Article and images by Jim Boswell

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