Once the mainstay of shore angling, the running leger has become less popular over the years as people have tried out ever more sophisticated rigs. It was designed to allow fish to run with the bait, allowing the angler a little longer to pick up the rod and strike before the bait was rejected. It was, and still is, a deadly tactic for specimen fish.
The left hand diagram shows the leger in its simplest form but nowadays there are a number of refinements that can be added. If you are using leads of two ounces or less, try putting the lead on a snap link attached to a swivel and introducing a piece of carp tubing with an extra bead to prevent tangles. The result is a much more efficient tackle, which is ideal for fishing in estuaries or any mark where the strength of the current is fairly light. If you want to use the same idea with heavier weights then that is fine but you will need to replace the snap swivel with a crane swivel and a heavy duty link. You will also need to up the strength of your leader.
For all leger work, make sure that you use a leader, a length of heavier line to take the shock of casting. As a broad rule of thumb, you should use 10 lbs for each ounce of lead with another ten added for safety.
If you were casting with a four ounce lead, you would use fifty pounds breaking strain line etc.
A lot of people use running leger with big baits, such as a whole calamari squid, when they are fishing for conger and bull huss. It is ideal for this as long as distance casting isn't necessary. If you have got to get big distances, for example when fishing for cod, then you need to revamp the tackle.
A popular variation, which enables people to streamline the tackle and hit bigger distances, is known as the up and over leger. It is illustrated on the next page.