As part of my beginner’s guide to carp fishing, I will stick to the simple answers regarding leads.
Casting leads or distances leads –
These are the pointed ones, which look like bullets and used to be known as Zipp leads. They are perfected for casting great distances due to the shape and also make less noise when entering the water. Regarding lead size and the heavier the lead, the further you can cast – this is true to a point but you need to match up the correct lead to your rod and your ability to cast. You may well find that you can cast further out with a light lead than with a heavier one. You have to remember, if you’re fishing silt the lead will go in very well, however, because of the shape can easily be pulled out.
Flat leads –
These are perfect for slopes, where you don’t want your bait to roll down e.g margin shelf, sides of island and gravel bars. They are very effective as bolt rigs, they sit flat on the lake bed. They will make more noise going into the water. Anglers like to use these in PVA bags but I prefer the Zipp style, as it makes the job much easier due to the shape. You can easily push them into the bag. These are best fished on gravel or perfect for clear water as their profile is very slimline.
Pear leads –
Very good for casting but not up to the standard of the distance leads, as it’s all about aerodynamics. The shape of the lead has most of the weight at one end, this helps the carp prick itself a lot quicker than distance leads and these leads do plug themselves in the silty bottomed lakes. These leads can be used in most carp fishing situations and is a very universal lead if you had to pick one.
There are plenty more choices however, I don’t wish to over complicate things.
Hope this helps