Making your own shock leaders or bite indicators can be very cost-effective, especially if you are on a budget or use them often. You can buy a cheap shock cord that is lighter than a monoline in bulk and make all the gear you need for much cheaper than buying it pre-made. This will also allow for customization based on fishing conditions and the bait you are using.
This article will explain how to make a leader from a shock cord that can be used as a bite indicator or for fishing in some instances. This is intended only as an option for those who have fished with me and know what they are doing because there is some risk of injury if not done right.
Materials needed to make a shock leader
1. Shock cord – 3/16″ iDacron, found at most outdoor stores or camping stores
2. 1/2 to 3/4 oz egg sinker
3. crimps for 1/4 to 3/8″ mono
6. split ring pliers (optional)
Step by Step Instructions
1. Cut about 18″ of the shock cord for the main line – this part does not need to be custom fit, as it is kept loose. Make sure there is enough room to tie a loop where you want it. For this rig, I use a 3/16″ iDacron, which has a breaking strength of 150 lbs, but you can use a 3/8″ shock cord for more strenuous fishing.
2. Tie a larks head knot to the mainline. If you are using a 3/16″ line as I did, I recommend tying it at about 4 – 5 inches above the eye of your hook, to avoid line abrasion.
3. Tie a loop knot about an inch above the larks head, and clip it closed with your scissors. You can adjust this to fit around your sinker without too much slack.
4. At the bottom of the mainline tie on three-barrel swivels. I recommend adding them as you go so if you do not have enough cord you will know that before you finish making the leader and cut off any excess. Barrel swivels prevent twists and kinking in your shock leader, and allow for free movement of your bait while fishing
5. Feed one leg of the mono through each barrel swivel, leaving about 2 feet of mono on the spool, and tie a double surgeon knot close to each barrel swivel.
6. After all three knots are tied cut off the excess mono.
7. Add two or three split rings to your mainline using your pliers, then clip it closed with your scissors (see step 11). Make sure that you do not put the rings too close together because if they touch it will drag on either side of them (see example in picture 12). You can adjust this later if you need more space between the split ring and leaders for larger baits like soft plastics.
8. At this point you can slide on your egg sinker if desired – I recommend taking out about an inch of shock cord from the larks head knot to where you want your sinker to be, before attaching it with a chinch/lark’s head knot (see step 13). I use a 1/2 to 3/4 oz egg sinker because it gives a nice weight that is not too bulky. You can use a larger or smaller one depending on what depth you are fishing at and how heavy of tackle you have.
9. Finally slide the whole thing onto your fishing rod and put on some swivels for your rigs or lures! It should look something like this:
As always practice these steps until you get them right! Let me know if there is any other content that would be useful in my articles by leaving a comment!