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Old 05-26-2010, 10:31 PM
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Default Leader Length

This have probably been asked a million times but I am fairly new to fly fishing and I am confused on how long the leader should be. What is the leader comprised of? When you talk about a leader is the tippet included when talking about it?I am going to be fishing for trout and bought 4x scientific anglers tippet and 7.5ft of SA tapered leader. How long should be my tippet and leader? Thanks I really appreciate your help.
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Old 05-26-2010, 10:45 PM
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Default Re: Leader Length

Here are some general guidelines: Most experts will recommend for nymph fishing the distance from the indicator to the first fly should be in the range of 1 1/2 to 2 times the depth of the water for stream fishing. For dry fly fishing I like to start with a 9 ft leader, if your dealing with real spooky fish in gin clear water you will need to use a longer leader. In faster water you can get away with a shorter leader. For streamer fishing I like to follow Davo's setup which is 3 ft of 20 lb mono followed by 3 ft of 10 lb mono. For stillwater fishing I like to anchor up, measure the distance to the bottom, so if I'm in 15 ft of water I will start with the indicator at 14ft from the first fly and then adjust from there until I find what depth the fish are (so you see I'm using a much longer leader/tippet combo).

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Old 05-26-2010, 10:46 PM
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Default Re: Leader Length

Hmmmm.....I use 9-12 foot leaders for trout. 9 feet is about as short as I go for any species BTW. I usually tie my own, and in that case the tippet is the
final section tied on. With the tapered/knotless leaders you bought, the tippet is the last couple of feet (tops) of the entire leader. As you tie on flies and snip them off, your leader will become shorter. You should buy a spool or two of tippet material that matches the leader you're using. I'd snip off the last two feet off a 9' leader, and attach 26 inches of tippet material before you even begin. Use a double surgeon's knot (very easy to tie) to attach the tippet, and you'll be able to clearly see how much tippet you've used while fishing. I might allow a 9' leader to get down to 8'6" before tying on another section of tippet; shorter if fishing for bluegills, crappie, and other panfish, but never beyond the surgeon's knot.

I used tapered leaders 30 years ago, and switched to hand tied. The hand tied leaders worked much better for me, but I bought a few packs of Umpqua
leaders, and they worked very well. I bought many more (see the Classified forum ). SA leaders never worked well for me, but I do love their fly lines. Honestly, I bought some SA leaders about 8 years ago, and threw them in the trash....seriously. Getting good turnover on line and leader is very important, and a good leader will help immensely. Proper casting technique is just as important.
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Old 05-26-2010, 11:03 PM
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Default Re: Leader Length

Thanks for the replies, the only thing I don't understand is how does your leader get smaller when the tippet is the one being trimmed down due to be tied to the flies, may be a very obvious answer haha but I'm not seeing it, thanks again.
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Old 05-26-2010, 11:19 PM
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Default Re: Leader Length

Quote:
Originally Posted by dsssox13 View Post
Thanks for the replies, the only thing I don't understand is how does your leader get smaller when the tippet is the one being trimmed down due to be tied to the flies, may be a very obvious answer haha but I'm not seeing it, thanks again.
Actually a good question. Your leader won't get smaller if you tie a length of tippet to the end of it. As the tippet gets shorter due to its being clipped shorter because of changing flies, at some point you'll need to tie a new length of tippet on to replace the now-shortened original tippet you tied on. You have the leader-tippet knot as a reference point for where the tippet was tied on, so theoretically you'll be able to extend the life of your leader for a long time by just tying on new tippet lengths when necessary. While each time you tie on a new tippet, your leader will shorten a bit due to tying, it won't amount to much.
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