How to Buy Back Leads for Carp Fishing

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How to Buy Back Leads for Carp Fishing

For all anglers the most frustrating element of the sport is losing a fish. The second most frustrating thing is coming away without having had any action.

Back leads are essential for the carp fisher. The idea of a back lead is to keep your line out of the way of any passing fish. They ensure that your line lies as close as possible on the bed of the water you are fishing.

To use a back lead correctly, you should first learn as much as you can about the floor of the water. 

You need to learn where the lake floor undulates, where it is deeper and shallower. Only then can you select the right back lead for your line.

If you are fishing without a back lead, your line will descend through the water at an angle from the tip of your rod to weighted end of your line on the bed of the water.

This can cause two main problems:

  • Passing fish might be spooked
  • Paddling birds could be tangled up in your line.

Now carp are shrewd and wary. Your job is to keep them interested.  If you leave a great length of line on an angle in their water, there is a good chance that a fish will brush against it or see it and take fright.

Ducks and swans can wreak havoc with anglers’ lines so it’s worth investing in a range of back leads; they’ll keep your line out of harm’s way.

Types of Back Lead

There are three main types:

Normal back leads

With normal back leads, you cast first in the ordinary way. You then gently gather in some slack line. You then clip the back lead onto your line near the rod tip.  Slide the back lead gently down the line. It will weight your line to the bed of the water you are fishing.

You can make the back lead sink just where you want it by adjusting the height of your rod as you slide the back link down it. The higher up your rod is as the back lead slides down your line, the farther away it will sink.

When a fish takes, the back lead will slide back down your line towards you as you play the carp.

Flying back leads

These clever back leads, sometimes called ‘Zip back leads’, are attached to the line just above your tube. As you make your cast, the flying back lead flies a little way back down your line. Typically they sink a few feet back from your main lead.  Some anglers like to use flying back leads if their lines are quite slack.

Captive back leads

More complicated but with a huge advantage is the captive back lead. As with normal back leads, you cast your line out first in the usual way. You then attach the captive back lead to your line. 

They are designed to unclip from your line when a fish takes.

Captive back leads come with a cord which allows you to attach them to the bank so that you can pick them back up once you have successfully returned your fish.

The captive back lead is designed to weight your line to the bed of the water just below the tip of your rod, making it an ideal way of sinking almost all of your line to deal with any passing traffic:

  •  Floating weeds
  •  Paddling birds
  •  Boats

Once the traffic has passed, you can retrieve the captive back lead and return your line to the way you set it.

Range of Back Leads

Each type of back lead works differently to make it easier for you to fish the sort of water that you are likely to find carp in. Depending on where you fish, you should be sure to have a minimum of a flying back lead and a normal back lead.

Bite indication

Some back leads can hamper bite indication. Some people will make that sacrifice in order to achieve a reduced line angle.

Generally, people that fish with more than one rod at a time tend to prefer to have more bite indication than a reduced line angle. 

The other difficulty, which back leads of all types cause, is tangling with your other line or lines when you are playing or landing a fish.

Nevertheless, you should definitely have a captive back lead so that you can dip your line to deal with passing traffic.  The more rods that you fish with, the more captive back leads you should have in your bag.

Back Leads and Weed

Fishing where the bed of the water is very weedy is a tricky enough business as it is.  Back leads can be used but some anglers prefer not to for fear of losing fish.

Good manufacturers

Some of the best names to look out for are Fox, Gardner and Korda.  These all produce good ranges at different weights and camouflages to suit varying conditions.

It’s a good idea to look for thoughtful manufacturing techniques. Hinge systems offer better bite indication. Line-friendly plastic bore liners are designed to reduce line friction. 

Look carefully at the way the ring attachment has been designed; the better the design the more easily the back lead will glide down the line.  This will give you more control over where it sinks and how it pins down your line.

How to Buy Back Leads for Carp Fishing on EBay

Now that you've worked out which Back Leads you want, find them quickly on eBay. While you shop, don't forget Tackle, Fly Tying Tools/ Materials, Bait, Bivvy/ Accessories, Line, Nets.  To start shopping, go to the Sports and Leisure category. Click the Sporting Goods portal and click Fishing.

The Categories list on the left side of each page will help you narrow down your listings by item type. You'll find links for Clothing & Footwear, Coarse Fishing, DVDs, Fly Fishing, Sea Fishing, Tackle Boxes, Universal Accessories, Videos, Trophies, Vintage and Other Fishing. As you refine your search you'll be able to narrow down your choice by subcategory. 

Product Finder

Use the Back Lead Finder to quickly narrow down item listings by type of hook, brand, model and condition (new or used).

Keyword search

Search eBay listing titles for specific words. For example, if you want to find new back leads, type the keywords "new back leads" (without quotation marks) into the Search box. Click "Search title and description" to expand your results. Visit eBay's Search Tips page for more tips on searching with keywords.

If you can't find exactly what you want, try browsing eBay Stores or tell the eBay Community what you’re looking for by creating a post on Want It Now, or save a search on My eBay and eBay will email you when a matching item becomes available.

Buy Back Leads for Carp Fishing with Confidence

Make sure that you know exactly what you’re buying and understand how eBay and PayPal protect you.

Know your item

Read the details in the item listing carefully.

Remember to add delivery costs to your final price. If you’re buying a high value item, check that the seller will insure it until it is delivered to you.

If you want more information, click the “Ask seller a question” button on the seller’s profile or the “Ask a question” link at the bottom of the item listing page.

Always complete your transaction on eBay (with a bid, Buy it Now or Best Offer) otherwise you will not be covered by eBay Buyer Protection.

Never pay for your eBay item using an instant cash wire transfer service like Western Union or Moneygram. These are not safe ways of paying someone you do not know.

Know your seller

Research your seller so that you feel safe and positive about every transaction.

What is the seller’s Feedback rating?  How many transactions have they completed? How many positive responses do they have?

What do buyers say in their Feedback?  Are they positive about the seller?

Most top eBay sellers operate like retail shops and have a returns policy. Do they offer a money-back guarantee?  What are their terms and conditions?

Buyer protection

In the very unlikely event that you do not receive your item or it is not as described, eBay Buyer Protection your purchase price plus original delivery cost.



Best for

Less good for



Bite indication


Fishing at a distance



Passing traffic

Bite indication / permanence

Fishing for carp is a highly skilled and challenging sport that can often involve days’ and nights’ fishing with a wide range of different baits, rigs and presentations at varying depths.

All equipment should be as good as is affordable.  Learning how to fish well with back leads can really help to improve your enjoyment of the sport.  Keeping your line hidden from the carp is critical to your success.

Tight lines!

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