Im trying to get deeper into the sport and be more hands on with what I do. Im going to start taking a tying class here soon but one thing I also want to do is be able to make my own leaders, especially since they are so expensive and it seems like you need different leaders for different situations, which can rack up the price. Right now im just using a knotless tapered leader and add tippet to it for both nymphing and dry. When I switch techniques my leader is all curled up from using a thingamabobber, even though I try to straighten it, and i dont believe it helps with dry fly fishing.
So my question is, are there any good sites or books out there that have good formulas for this?
Are you guys/gals out there who make your own leaders willing to share your formulas that you use?
I usually fish trout in tailwater, 11 mile canyon, spinney mountain ranch and in that general area.
You should check out some of the books by Ed Engle. He is a great writer and very knowledgeable. "Fishing Small Flies" and "Trout Lessons" would be great investments and they talk about leader building and fine tuning rigs. He also does most of his fishing around where you fish so you might relate even further in that regard.
Location: White City (tad north of Medford) Oar-E-Gone
Re: Leader Formulas
You can really get carried away building leaders .... ergo why so many folks just buy a tapered one and get on with it. That said, save for really delicate work the old formula of 60%-20%-20% works just fine for most applications.
The first is the butt section, then down by 50% (pound test) for the the center section and the last bit is the tippet.
Many years ago long before Tapered Leaders my Father used to always Tie his own Leaders,I also had a plunge into it using The Ritz Formulas,then I did heaps of experimenting,I also used The Same 60%,20%,20% Formula as Fred mentioned.
The Main thing I found with The ones I tied,because of The Many knots I found it hard to avoid tangles.
I now mostly now only use a 5ft Furled Leader,a 6ft Leader with a Dropper 2ft from The Point .
I sometimes still use Tapered Leaders,usually 9 & 12ft in 4,6 & 8lbs as it saves heaps of time tying The others.
I will echo the above comments about furled leaders. They are great! I have thought about trying to make my own, but I am too happy with the ones I have to risk screwing up something good. I would definitely look into building/buying furled leaders if you get the chance.
Furled leaders are fine, but for me, they turn over too good. I like some slack out there!
My preferred leader that I've used for over 25 years now is a 3-peice affiar consisting of 4-feet of 20 lb. Maxima for the butt section. To that, I add the middle (tapered) 4 feet of a commercial 3x or 4x tapered leader. To that, 4 feet of tippet. 4-4-4, roughly. Dead Drift City! Good turnover for me. Not many wind (casting) knots. I can use the same butt section forever, or so it seems. The tapered leader lasts for a week or more. Tippet goes on and off of the tapered leader as needed. When the tapered leader starts to get short, I'll add 18 inches or so of some 2x to it, and then tie tippet to that for a few days.
This isn't my invention. I heard/read about it in the early 80's, and never looked back.
I even used your system,I also read about it in a 1986 Fly Fisherman Magazine,the only reason I remember is I still have The Clipping with a couple of Leader Slide Charts,(which also came with purchased Magazines),
with my Braided Lines,Loops,Tapered Leaders,Knotted Leaders etc,etc,as we all know Flyfishers never throw anything away,although sometimes I have a cull out & give heaps away.
As I mentioned I still use The Tapered Leaders mainly for Spooky Fish,Their advantage is you can tie on whatever sized Tipits you require as well as they are easily replaced.
The onle Disadvantage is I have to take my Glasses as well as a light to Tie Them on,also my Fingers aren't as nimble as they were years ago.
For some time now I've been Toying with The Idea of Finishing a couple of Jigs to make different Length Furled Leaders out of Mono,Kevlar,Fluoro & Braid however up to date all I've done is I've bought them as the prices are still quite reasonable from my suppliers.
There's plenty of Info around how to make them,also I searched everywhere for Latch Hooks to make The Shorb Loops & you wouldn't believe,I ended buying them of a guy about 40 Miles away,he sells Them for Hair Decorating as well as Flower Arranging.
One Lady wanted to sell me Ones used for Carpet Finishing,I replied I wasn't Fishing For Whales.