Giant trevally - the reef gangster

Quick Guide: Top 5 GT Fishing Leaders

Just getting into GT fishing? Wondering what leaders to buy? Get Japanese monofilament leaders. A trustworthy piece of the GT angling system worth investing in.

Pricey and hard to find yes, but it is the most abused part of your fishing system, attaching fish of a lifetime to angler. Save money somewhere else, not on your leaders.

There are leaders for every type of fishing fit for every type of fish we target.

We’ve also talked about Fluoro vs Mono, discussing their differences, strengths and weaknesses.

But when it comes to Giant Trevally, a fish that will wreak havoc and cause heartbreak when underestimated, you need to invest in the best type of leader for utmost confidence.

Confidence you want and need throughout your GT expedition.

Below we’ve listed our top 5 GT fishing leaders that you should consider getting for your next GT expedition. You won’t go wrong with any of these recommendations.

Sourcing them from where you are will be the only major concern, but most tackle shops carry one or all of these brands so it’s best to check with them for availability.

Let’s check out my top 5 GT fishing leaders:

  1. Fisherman Super Stealth Shock Leader

Fisherman Super Stealth Shock Leader 200lbs

Consistently ranked at the top of the “most-trusted” GT fishing leaders all over the world, the Fisherman Shock Leader is my top recommendation to anyone keen to hook up with big Geets anywhere in the world.  My favorite characteristic of the Fisherman is its suppleness. The suppleness allows me to tie my knots with 100% confidence that they wont slip. Knots on both braid end and lure end, I have no reservations.

It’s suppleness also carries over to performance when hooked up to an angry GT, as the leader is stretchy enough to act as a shock absorber, allowing it to minimize break offs upon hookup and throughout the fight.

The softness can also be felt during the cast, upon loading the rod. In my personal opinion, it offers a subtle stretch during the loading stage of the rod that adds to the forward propulsion of the lure upon casting. Adding a little bonus distance if I can say so myself.

They are so good that I make sure that I have the 70lb and 170lb spools with me as well for lighter fishing purposes. Definitely a must try if you haven’t tried this leader yet.

  1. Varivas Shock Leader

Varivas Shock Leader 200lb

This leader would probably be tied with the Fisherman in terms of popularity and fish catching reputation. You will almost never see a serious GT angler without a Varivas leader spool in his bag. The colorful “scrunchie” or hair tie spool band is a dead giveaway.

Although a bit stiffer when compared to the Fisherman leader, this guy still provides me with great confidence when tying knots.

The lack of “play” or stretch gives anglers an extra confidence boost during a long drawn out fight. I’ve also had plenty of “abrasion resistance” scenarios during my lifetime and the Varivas Shock Leader can surely survive abrasion abuse. You’ll see nicks, scratches and cuts on your leader yes, but that proves how tough these leaders are.

Another great thing about Varivas is that they offer different makes of leader material for variety. We’ll talk about the other variants later on as I also have them on this list.

  1. Varivas Avani Casting Shock Leader “Maguro”

Varivas Avani Casting Shock Leader Maguro 140lb

Another one of my personal favorites. The Varivas Maguro line of leaders is originally designed for big bluefin tuna in open water but it can easily handle angry GT. It comes loaded on a wider but flatter spool giving it less line memory when pulling off a few wraps for tying.

Varivas applied what they call a SP-T coating which involves super tough resin, giving it extra durability.

Coatings and color difference aside, my favorite characteristic of this leader is its knotability. Comparable to the Fisherman in suppleness, tying knots is a breeze and confidence inspiring. I would rather have the Maguro over the traditional Shock Leader from Varivas but this is just personal preference.

  1. Varivas Ocean Record Shock Leader

Varivas Ocean Record Shock Leader 220lb

The rookie of the bunch in terms of reputation, the Ocean Record shock leader by Varivas was released to the international fishing market just this past 2017 – 2018.

I’ve tested this just recently and can vouch for their claims of a smaller diameter for breaking strain compared to its older brothers. This allows you to drop down a leader size for the same line strength for a stealthy approach or go heavier for more confidence and power. I’d drop down a size for better knotability but I trust others will go for more confidence and power by going heavier.

I’ve only used the 170lb version of the Ocean Record on one trip and I can’t guarantee the same durability and performance compared to its brethren, but its castability, strechyness and knotability are almost identical to the older Varivas Shock Leader. Only time will tell if its strength to diameter ratio upgrade is worth the upgrade.

  1. Black Magic Tough Trace

Black Magic Leader Tough Trace 200lb

Finally, something not from Japan. Black Magic Tackle New Zealand has been making one of the most trustworthy leaders used by regular joes to charter captains in the South Pacific and Oceania.

These leaders can go though serious abuse and neglect but will still be up to the task when called upon. The stiffest in this list, it needs more attention when knotting to ensure the wraps are cinched down around the leader perfectly, but when tightened, braid bites onto it really well. Knotting lures on the other end requires a bit more elbow grease to cinch well and set but once locked in, it will never slip.

A high value option perfect for those just getting into the GT game.

These leaders listed are just recommendations and may not be everyone’s cup of tea. And these leaders above are what I always recommend to my friends, customers and guests. I’ve used them personally and have tied them on for paying guests and can say with full confidence that they will do the job amazingly well, especially when all the factors of angling are in your favor in any given situation. Coral reef, sharp rocks and barracuda teeth may be their demise, but so do other brands’ leaders but if you fish well, fish hard and trust your gear, you’ll get the results that you deserve no matter what leader line you have tied on.

If you are looking for a true sport fishing company that offers you more than just a Vanuatu fishing adventure, look no further than Ocean Blue Fishing.

Call us now at (AU) 1300 564 616 or at (INTL) +61 436 020322 or you may also contact us through our website at

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Quick Guide: Top 5 GT Fishing Leaders

John is originally from the Philippines. John has extensive guiding experience throughout Asia and...Learn more

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