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Old 08-11-2007, 03:14 PM
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Default Leader Length

I was out today in fairly wide river and saw some nice trout rising on the other side of the fairly fast middle current. I try to get close to cast over the current and reduce the drag, but it was really hard. The water is really, reallly clear! I sent over an Adam #18 but one came up, looked and went back down. Sent over a Griffith's Gnat, same thing. I was using a 7 1/2 ft leader, 5X tippet. Should I try a 9' leader? Any suggestions?
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Old 08-11-2007, 04:12 PM
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Default Re: Leader Length

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I was using a 7 1/2 ft leader, 5X tippet. Should I try a 9' leader? Any suggestions?
In my limited trout experience, clear water required dropping down to 7X. I'd try the nine footer and maybe even a longer one.
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Old 08-11-2007, 04:16 PM
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Default Re: Leader Length

I would think a 9ft 6X leader would be sufficient. It may have not been the tippet at all, it might have the fly! Fish oftentimes get focused on one bug or one stage of a bug! Was there a hatch coming off? If so, could you tell what stage they were in? Sometimes you need to go really small, say a 24 Griffiths gnat if they are hitting single adult midges, they may have been hitting spinners, hard to say!
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Old 08-11-2007, 04:32 PM
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Default Re: Leader Length

There were swarms of little dark midges swirling just above the water. That's when I switched to the Gnat in around a size 20 or 22. I think I just wanted to get back a little because the water was so clear. Maybe that's not even the problem. Him refusing is just part of fishing and had I had more time I would have tried some different flies to see if I could find the right combo. I didn't feel comfortable being so close but the current dictated otherwise. Will the additional leader length give me any extra time on the float before the drag kicks in?
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Old 08-11-2007, 06:59 PM
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Default Re: Leader Length

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Originally Posted by troutslayer View Post
I didn't feel comfortable being so close but the current dictated otherwise. Will the additional leader length give me any extra time on the float before the drag kicks in?
Troutslayer... If the trout are leader shy then a longer leader may be helpful. I suspect the trout simply did not like the fly. If your fly line lands in the faster current, I would throw in an upriver mend as soon as the fly touches the water. The TRICK IMHO is to pull some fly line from the reel in your non rod hand and then release the line as you mend upriver. If I don't release some line when I mend the fly line, I can see the fly twitch. That is why I think is important to learn to mend with a fly that is easy to see.
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Old 08-11-2007, 09:16 PM
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Default Re: Leader Length

Got some most excellent advise. I agree on the 9' leader. I fished the snake last year with the same dilema. Only difference is I switched to a nymph.
But now you understand why I am looking at the 13 1/3' 5wt Spey rod and why I tie size 30 and 32 midges....... I think I would try that 12 ft leader on that rod. LOL
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Old 08-11-2007, 09:41 PM
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Default Re: Leader Length

I've also thought about fishing a Pheasant Tail or a Gold-Ribbed Hare's Ear. Appreciate all the advice. I think I will try a 9' leader and I'll let you know what happens. I plan to go back Monday or Tuesday.
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Old 08-13-2007, 04:56 PM
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Default Re: Leader Length

I would probably lengthen the leader out past 9 ft. When you cast from a swift current to a slow current a reach or curve cast is necessary. You can solve almost any leader shy problem by making sure the fish see the fly first, instead to the leader. Good luck to ya.
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Old 08-15-2007, 11:35 AM
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Default Re: Leader Length

I would try a longer leader. On a low water clear stream I've extended my leader out to as much as 12'. I get a 9' 4X leader & put a length of 5X & 6X tippet on. If you have a turnover problem with that setup, a little short strip on the line as it starts to turnover will solve the problem. Of course the correct fly & size helps. My Motto is "When in doubt use an ant"
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Old 08-15-2007, 01:10 PM
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Default Re: Leader Length

Trying to get below the risers for an upstream or across and upstream cast could reduce the drag on the fly, along with some tricky casting.

It sounds like the fish may have been taking emergers, or maybe even spinners of some sort. Getting your fly slightly below the surface could be key in that situation.

Another thing to keep in mind- Even though the water was super clear, fish near the surface actually have a tougher time seeing you out of the water than if they are deeper. Picture a 'cone' of vision with a vertical axis above their head- the cone is larger when the fish is deeper underwater, and thus you can get closer to a fish near the surface than one down deep. any turbulence on the water's surface also would interfere with their ability to see you. Whether the fish sees/hears/feels your movement underwater is another issue altogether though.
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