Reviewed by Scott Cushman
The leader can play a very crucial role in the success of a fishing trip. I often find myself asking a series of questions, “Is my leader too thick and obvious for the conditions?” “Does leader material need to have some suppleness to it in order to tie strong, unyielding knots with integrity?” “Will this leader provide sufficient resistance to abrasion from rugged terrain or teeth?” “How much can the fish see, and is the leader putting them off?” “Is it necessary to fish fluorocarbon in every situation and is it worth the extra expense?” These are all good questions.
I was handed some new Black Magic Pink Shock Leader to review across a number of fishing applications. Pink may seem like a counter-intuitive colour ̶ shouldn’t a leader be more neutral and less obvious? However, as red is the very first colour to disappear from the colour spectrum when it sinks through the water column, there is good reason to use a red shade.
This new leader sits between the Black Magic Supple Trace and Black Magic Tough Trace for both suppleness and abrasion resistance ̶ a kind of happy medium, you could say. I found the knot-tying qualities to be very good; they pull down nicely and it’s easy to manoeuvre the line into position when wrapping around hook or line. I didn’t have any notable breakages and would rate it as a quality line for tying knots. There were no issues with teeth wearing through the line, as I used it mostly for lure fishing, jigs, softbaits and stickbaits. The suppleness factor was good for stickbaiting as it wound on and off the spool with ease and there were no problems with casting. Stiff mono is not particularly user- friendly for stickbaiting and can hinder distance or contribute to wind knots forming; however, I had no problems with the 80 lb pink leader I used for targeting kingfish in the Gulf. I had one wind knot after numerous casts, the result of a sloppy cast and poor timing.
Does the colour pink aid with camouflaging the line? The best proof I had of this was when fishing beside my friend who had different leader but the same lure, over several hours. After I had boated my fourth fish to his zero, my friend muttered something about the day turning into a one-man show. While there may have been other factors which contributed to this result, it was an unusual situation ̶ I would say the line was doing a good job of not standing out in the 40 metre plus water where light levels were lower than what we see on the surface. This seemed to support the claim made by Black Magic ̶ that pink leader, when compared to clear leader, excels in murky or low-light situations. From my experience with the line, I would have to say that this appears to be the case.
Are there situations where I wouldn’t fish it? Maybe super-shallow depths of one to three metres and crystal-clear water would be the exception; however, I haven’t fished it in those situations to really make a call. For most fishing situations, I think this leader would be a good choice and fishers would benefit from its features, whether they need good knot-tying attributes, a degree of toughness, a strong element of camouflage or something that provides value for money as an all-rounder. Black Magic Pink Shock Leader is sold in test strengths from 20 to 100 lb; 150 lb is on its way. It will suit a wide variety of fishing applications for shore and boat anglers. It retails at the same price as the tough and supple leader ̶ $19.99 for 100 metre spools for 20-40-60lb, 80 metre spools of 80lb and 60 metre spools of 100lb leader.