For years, anglers have debated Fluorocarbon versus monofilament as leader material. But there’s also a newer and little-known line called Perlon, which fills a specific use in leader applications. Popularized in 2011 and based in Germany, it’s a nylon material like mono but considerably stiffer, therefore making it ideal for many specific leader and line uses.
Some of the world’s top fishing lines are manufactured from Perlon rather than mono. When high impact or excessive pressure stretches Perlon, it comes back to its original diameter within 3 percent and maintains that form even after 500 stretches. Many tournament pros re-spool their reels nightly during competition after they get hung up, catch a large fish, or set the hook hard because the impact stretches monofilament.
Once pulled hard, however, mono remains stretched, so it then has a thinner diameter and up to 25 percent reduced tensile strength. In other words, 100-pound-test mono, once shocked and stretched, may only rate at 75-pound test, and have lower abrasion resistance because it’s now thinner. In contrast, like a rubber band when stretched, Perlon comes back to its original diameter so it maintains its tensile strength and toughness longer and better than conventional mono.
According to the linemaker Perlon—The Filament Company, which is the world’s leading manufacturer of monofilament-type products, Perlon material is offered in a broad range of fishing lines for recreational and competition anglers. The company claims over 1,300 IGFA world records have been achieved using their PerlonXline brand, which sells lines from 0.08 mm to 2.00 mm diameter. According to a description of these lines, they feature high consistency, linear strength, loop strength, knot strength, abrasion resistance, excellent elasticity, and wear resistance.
Perlon main line is softer than its leader material, but it’s the leader features we’re interested in here. Perlon leaders are available in some local tackle shops like J&B in Niantic, CT and River’s End in Old Saybrook, CT. Differing from other leaders sold in those shops, Perlon is available in precut, 48-inch straight lengths, which makes it a bit less convenient to store than a spool, but the lack of pre-coil makes for great leader tying. You can also find Perlon on Amazon in 50-yard spools ranging from 20- to 125-pound test: https://www.amazon.com/Triple-Fish-Saltwater-Leader-Clear/dp/B07BZQHLVY
Perlon often runs thicker than traditional mono. A piece rated at 60-pound test at J&B Tackle appears comparable in diameter to 80-pound test mono, butit’s also nearly twice as rigid.
“Perlon is much more abrasion resistant,” says one of the shop pros at J&B. “I’ve taken a straight-edge razorblade and run it up and down both Perlon and mono, and you get a lot less fraying with Perlon. We use it for custom-tying all our shop-made bottomfish rigs. Besides being much stiffer and more wear-resistant, it also has no coil memory.”
The precise pound-test breaking point for Perlon leaders is uncertain. Tackle shops do buy it by the pound-test and sell it that way. In a sense, they’re taking the distributor’s word for its breaking strength.
“In my opinion,” says Capt. Ned Kittredge of Westport, MA, “Perlon leader is worth exploring for specific bottomfish and casting applications. The pound-test you choose should be more about diameter, knot tying, and performance than a true pound-test rating, which is more important for your main line. If it's labeled 60-pound but breaks at 90-pound, who cares? Tying perfect knots and fitting through the hook eye are the goals.”
One bottom-rig manufacturer, for example, features big-blackfish rigs specifically touting Perlon use. Palmer’s Tackle makes its heavy-duty “Jumbo Tog Rig” with 50-lb Perlon hard leader for superior abrasion resistance and less tangle, and they finish it with two Gamakatsu 4/0 octopus hooks: https://www.palmersbucktails.com/category-s/1918.htm
“Perlon,” says Capt. Q. Kresser, store manager at River’s End Tackle, “can fill a niche for bottomfish guys. The leader is milky color, rather than clear, but down on the bottom those fish don’t really care. It’s perfect for any type of teaser or spreader rig, and it also works well for umbrella rigs because it doesn’t tangle easily. And regarding its opaqueness, remember, the fish are coming from behind the lure or bait to strike it, so they’re seeing a very slim profile from behind the hook. I don’t think its cloudiness matters unless you’re in clear, shallow water with a bunch of educated fish.”
Most anglers use a 10- to 20-inch section of leader between their main line and their Game On! casting lure, and although they typically use mono or Fluorocarbon, Perlon may be the ideal leader material when targeting bluefish, mahi-mahi, big Spanish mackerel, or other toothy critters with EXO Jigs or MagCast lures.
The fastest and easiest way to tie Perlon to your EXO Jig lure is with a Game On! Clip-On stainless-steel clip. This paperclip-style fastener has an advantage over a regular snap-swivel because it won’t open as easily if a predator like a bluefish clamps down on it; therefore, you have less chance of losing your lure and your fish. Its entry tip is also more protected, so there’s less protrusion for it to snag on something or scratch you.
Like mono, tie a standard clinch knot to attach Perlon leader to the clip, moisten, and snug it down tightly. Now it’s simple to change out your EXO Jig or other Game On! lure by sliding it on and off the clip.
Another rigging option is to add a black barrel swivel to your Game On! casting lures. To do this, buy a packet of quality split rings of about 60- to 80-pound test. Use a pair of split-ring pliers to attach the split ring to the lure eyelet. Then attach a 50- to 80-pound black barrel swivel to the split ring. Tie your Perlon leader to the Clip-On stainless-steel clip, which then fastens instantly to the barrel swivel.
Or you can tie Perlon directly to the barrel swivel, but that of course necessitates cutting and retying the leader when changing out lure color or size. When tying directly to your Game On! jig or lure, use a loop knot rather than a clinch knot for greater swimming action. Then cast it to a busting school and hang on!