How to construct a Helicopter setup - With Lead free leader

How to construct a Helicopter setup - With Lead free leader

A Helicopter lead setup is a great arrangement for reducing the likelihood of tangles on the cast. It is also, when used with a fixed lead, a safe arrangement should a breakage occur. Our Gravit8™ Leader is the perfect material for this setup being incredibly supple, dense, easy to splice and because of its diameter, carp friendly.

Gravit8 is a great leader material for helicopter rigs

What you'll need to construct a helicopter leader:

A spool of Gravit8™ Lead free leader, a speed link or Q ring which your lead will attach to, Helicopter buffer bead, a size 11 QC or standard flexi ring swivel, Silicone leader tubing and a standard or Tungsten 6mm Tapered bore bead


Tools for the job:

Scissors, Knot puller and fine splicing needle.


STEP ONE: Cut a length of Gravit8™ Lead free leader material, Three foot is a good starting point. At one end fold over around 2 - 2.5 Inches. This will be the length of our splice.

How to construct a helicopter rig leader – Gravit8 unleaded leader.

Spool of Gravit8 unleaded leader material

Cut a length of lead free leader, threet foot is a good starting point

STEP TWO: Compress the main length of leader at the point at which the folded section ends, this will open up the weave and increase the ease with which it can be spliced. keeping it perpendicular to the leader insert the splicing needle and gently work it through the inside until it reaches the fold line, now poke the needle back through to the outside.

Compress the leader, it will make it easier to splice

push the splicing needle into the weave

feed the splicing needle throught the core of the lead free leader upto the crease

pop the end of the splicing needle back through to the outside

STEP THREE: Slip a Speed link or Q ring onto the leader then trap the cut end in the gate latch of the splicing needle. With the latch closed retract the needle through the leader, using your index finger and thumb to manipulate the splice at the point the loop is formed will help to get it moving.

Thread a speed link or Q ring onto the trailing end

trap the end of the leader in the gate latch and draw the needle back though

Draw the needle back through the core of the lead free leader

A close up of the splice being made

STEP FOUR: Once the the needle is back out, pull on the cut end until the loop is closed up tightly against the speed link. If needs be trim a little off the end then work the outer section of the splice over the inner section. once the tag end dissapears inside the leader give the splice a good pull with a knot puller tool to compress the splice.

Trim the tag end and bed the splice down against the speed link

give the spliced loop a good pull with a knot puller tool

STEP FIVE: At the other end of the leader slip a Heli buffer bead on and slide it all the way down to the speed link. Do the same with a size 11 Quick change Heli ring swivel or Flexi ring swivel (whichever you'd prefer to attach your rig to later).

Helicopter buffer beads, available in trans khaki and trans green

feed the buffer bead onto your leader and down to cover the speed link

Add a size 11 quick change heli ring sivel

slide the swivel down to the buffer bead

STEP SIX: Now cut a small length of our ultra grippy Silicone Leader tubing, around 10 to 12mm will be ideal. Work it onto the splicing needle and then transfer it onto the leader and down towards to speed link.

Essentials silicone leader tubing

Cut a small length of silicone leader tubing, around 10mm

work the length of tubing onto your splicing needle

transfer the tubing onto the lead free leader

and down to within a few inches of the buffer bead

STEP SEVEN: Take one of our 6mm Tapered bore beads, if you really want to pin down yor rig use the Tungsten variant. Now thread it onto the leader, note for fish safety it's important that the smaller hole is first with the larger hole following. Slide it down and locate it upon the section of Silicone tubing. Twisting the bead will help.

6mm tapered bore beads, trans khaki, trans green and Tungsten

Thread the bead down onto the silicone tubing

A completed helicopter arrangement, just add your rig to the QC heli ring sivel

STEP EIGHT: Now at the opposite end of the leader create another splice following the same steps detailed at the beginning of the how to, but without a speed link. When bedding down the splice insert something into the loop to prevent it closing up. A knot puller is perfect for this.

Splice another loop at the other end of the unleaded helicopter leader

Use a knot puller to prevent the loop closing up as it is bedded down

NOTES: Position your silicone tubing and bead at a distance from the lead that is sufficient for your rig to settle on top of Silt or low lying weed, this could be anything from a couple of inches to a foot or more for deeper silt. Ensure that your bore bead can pass over the knot connecting your leader to mainline, this will be correct if you've threaded the bead on as detailed above.

RIG CHOICE: Because of the nature of the helicopter set up most rigs can be used with it. Rigs that utilise Semi stiff or Stiff hook link like our Revolve™ bristle filament are well suited to the helicopter with Hinged stiff rigs, Chod rigs, Ronnie and German rigs all being suitable choices.

Hinged stiff rigs, ronnie rigs, chod rigs are great rig choices for use on a helicopter setup

Spliced revolve chod filament boom for hinged stiff rig used on a helicopter leader

A neatly crimped loop aids rotation for hinged stiff rigs

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  • Dominic Doherty