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Old 06-22-2016, 01:24 AM
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Default Leader advice for Smokies

First off, I apologize if this has already been covered elsewhere.
I've looked through threads but not come up with the answer I'm after.
I've started with a White River outfit about a year ago. 9' 5wt. It's caught me a few but the wife asked what I wanted for my b-day so.....

Just picked up an Orvis Superfine Carbon 8' 4wt + Battenkill II.
Came with Hydros line.

QUESTION: What would be my best option for leader? I may be overthinking it, but I am dealing with very cautious fish in the Smokies. What length would be best for my setup and not spook these guys once I manage to sneak up on em?

If I had more time, I might be able to find an answer....but Im leaving for a 4 day trip on Friday!
Thanks for any advice.

---------- Post added at 01:24 AM ---------- Previous post was at 12:47 AM ----------

Would Orvis Mirage Fluorocarbon 9' 6x be too long to allow me a productive cast?
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Old 06-22-2016, 03:42 AM
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Default Re: Leader advice for Smokies

Generally speaking, a 9' leader in the Smokies is a bit long. But, that also depends on the size of the water being fished. It is definitely too long for most of the smaller streams for sure. Right now the streams are low in the Park.

My advice is to not go over 7-7 1/2' for sure. Personally I like a furled leader in the 3-4' range with about 2-2 1/2' of 5x or 6x tippet. But I fish mostly the smaller streams where I do a lot of roll casting due to how tight it is. Using the furled leaders have improved my catch rate and saved me money.

Some advice. With the low waters and higher water temps, stay out of the lower elevation streams. You will have a harder time catching fish and the ones you do will be stressed badly. Fish the mid to high elevation streams.

Wear dark clothing. No bright colors. Browns, greens, camo would be good. Fish in the Park are all wild trout and with low water and the clear water, they are very spooky right now, more than usual.

BTW, the Smokies are where I primarily fish. If you are there and a thunderstorm pops up, be very careful. Water can rise rapidly, even to the point of walls of water coming down. Just because it might not be raining where you are, it could be further upstream.
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Old 06-22-2016, 06:49 AM
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Default Re: Leader advice for Smokies

I was at a presentation earlier his year with an "expert" on the smokey mountains. He said he fishes 40' leaders (no, that's not a typo) and hasn't gotten caught in a tree in 30 years. ::rollseyes::

If it were me, I'd use either a 7.5' leader down to about 4x or a furled leader and about 3-4' of tippet. Don't overthink it. :-)
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Old 06-22-2016, 07:07 AM
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Default Re: Leader advice for Smokies

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Originally Posted by horsehead View Post
I was at a presentation earlier his year with an "expert" on the smokey mountains. He said he fishes 40' leaders (no, that's not a typo) and hasn't gotten caught in a tree in 30 years. ::rollseyes::

If it were me, I'd use either a 7.5' leader down to about 4x or a furled leader and about 3-4' of tippet. Don't overthink it. :-)

40 *feet* of leader?
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Old 06-22-2016, 08:14 AM
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Default Leader advice for Smokies

Seriously... I can't think of many small stream situations where a 40' CAST is required (possible?) let alone a 40' leader... But then again, what do I know...
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Old 06-22-2016, 09:57 AM
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Default Re: Leader advice for Smokies

What type of fishing are you going to be doing?

My leader setup for dry fly fishing the small brook (or mountain/speckle/whatever locals call them) high elevation streams in the park is vastly different than when I am nymphing in some of the larger rivers in more "pocket water" for browns.
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Old 06-22-2016, 10:51 AM
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Default Re: Leader advice for Smokies

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Originally Posted by horsehead View Post
Seriously... I can't think of many small stream situations where a 40' CAST is required (possible?) let alone a 40' leader... But then again, what do I know...

I'm with you.

40' of leader, how the hell does that even turn over the fly? 40' casts are possible in the Park, but incredibly rare.

This so called expert you heard is ..............
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Old 06-22-2016, 12:35 PM
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Default Re: Leader advice for Smokies

I personally like a 6' 5X leader for tiny blue lines. If you're fishing somewhere like the Luftee, Cherokee trophy waters, Little river, bradley fork, etc I'd probably stick to 7.5' 4-5X For those tiny streams I like a 6' leader and if you have access to one I really prefer a 4' furled leader with 2-3 feet of 5x.

The furled leader is really nice because often you're casting with little to no line out the tip. The furled leader makes this much easier than a nylon leader.

I have a nice formula I'll attach shortly for a 6' nylon leader that has served me well.
Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 06-22-2016, 12:43 PM
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Default Re: Leader advice for Smokies

Hokie, you and I use about the same setup. I like the furled leaders too.

The only time I get down to a 6x tippet is later in the summer on small brookie waters. Generally, I stay with 5x flouro.
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Old 06-22-2016, 12:58 PM
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Default Re: Leader advice for Smokies

So reading through this post, I saw furled leaders came up often. I am biased of course, but for small stream fishing nothing beats furled leader. With very short casting, you can turn the leader and tippet over with almost no line out of the top guide. On longer casting, the leader lands quietly, picks up off the water quietly and offers premium drifts and mending.

I have attached two images. One showing the different ways of attaching a leader to line and tippet to leader. The other pic is of a dry fly indicator leader. Lands gently, does not spook fish and give s the fisher an idea to where his/her small dry fly is floating.

If you have questions, please feel free to email me.
Mike@cutthroatleader.com

If you decide to pick some leaders up, remember the coupon code at checkout. nafff.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.
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