My hand-tied leader formula works like this:
Take a 9-12' section of 4 pound test (Maxima in green is our favorite)
Put a kreh loop knot in one end.
Connect this to the loop connection on your fly line.
Uni knot (leave as loop for streamer/wets) to fly.
That's it. Extremely easy and works great. Too long? Cut it. Easy. Keep hanging up on bottom? Cut it. No worries about cutting back sections of the leader and ruining your taper. No knots for bluegill to pick at
I think Ian Colin James got this one right. I've been using level leaders for bass/sunfish for a while now (with 8 pound test) and tried it with brook trout last weekend and loved it -- caught fish just fine. Even when using dry flies. Got one on a royal wulff and another on a yellow sally. Then more on nymphs. I honestly couldn't see any advantage to using a tapered leader whatsoever. The only thing I can *sort of detect is that the tapered leader is a little
more soft when the fly flips over on the cast. I don't fish anywhere where this would matter. Honestly, even with moving water I can't see how it would matter. Maybe glass-smooth, very clear water? Maybe I'm so used to casting a level leader now I automatically compensate for it and no longer like a tapered? Who knows.
I wouldn't discourage
a tapered leader -- and I have tied many with the 20 >> 12 >> 8 >> 4 formula and they work fine. I just don't think I have any need to use the damn things and it sure is nice to only have to carry a couple of spools of 4-8 pound test around.