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Saltwater Fly Fishing Bonefish, Tarpon, Redfish, Permit, False Albacore, Striped Bass, etc...

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Old 07-17-2014, 05:03 PM
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Default Leader question...

I usually use the tapered leaders, but sometimes I get cheap and tie my own. I'm still a novice and I ruin a lot of leaders with "wind" knots (you know, those knots we blame on the wind because we don't want to admit they are from bad casting). I end up with so many kinked leaders, that I have taken to tying my own a good part of the time. For freshwater, I use about equal lengths of 20 lb mono, 12 or 10 lb mono, and then 6 lb or 4x tippet, usually fluoro. It seems to work okay, and bass and bluegill are not very spooky.

But for saltwater, I am a little confused. I have some tapered saltwater leaders, but I have read that many people put a "shock tippet" of 20, 30 or even 40 lb test on the end. If my leader is tapering down to something like 10 lb, and then I put a heavier tippet on it, isn't it still likely to break at the lightest point, where the leader meets the shock tippet? If I am using a big fly on a 2/0 hook, and I am going to put a 20 lb tippet on anyway, why use the tapered leader? Why not just use a straight leader of 20 lb fluoro all the way? Does the leader/tippet deliver the fly differently when tapered as opposed to straight? Wouldn't a straight leader with no knots be easier and have less chance of breaking or losing the fish to a slipping knot?
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Old 07-17-2014, 05:19 PM
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Default Re: Leader question...

I use a 3 part tapered leader because it turns the flies over better, but I know plenty of people who just use straight 20# mono.
One guy that I fish with uses straight 30# mono and purposely ties an overhand knot in it just so that it will have a weak spot

Personally I'll use 6' of straight mono for poppers, but I've proven to myself that a basic tapered leader works better to turn over large flies
I like 4' of 40#, 2' of 25#, and 2' of 16# . Trilene or Climax
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Old 07-17-2014, 05:24 PM
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Default Re: Leader question...

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Last edited by nvpescador; 07-19-2014 at 06:55 AM.
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Old 07-18-2014, 07:29 AM
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Default Re: Leader question...

Here's my forumula for my 8wt. leaders:
Perfection loop - 48" 40lb mono - bloodnot
36" 30lb mono -bloodknot
18" 20lb mono - bloodknot
18" 15lb (12lb for lighter fish) mono - double uni knot
10" floro shock tippet (this is for fish like snook and tarpon, etc with REALLY abrasive mouths, they would rub instantly through light mono. I use floro bc it's much clearer when using heavier lines. for redfish I'll use 20lb-25lb floro depending on how spooky they are, snook can range 25lb-40lb floro, and tarpon I will almost always use 40lb or larger for shock.
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Old 07-18-2014, 03:52 PM
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Default Re: Leader question...

So the shock tippet is less to prevent breakage from force and more to prevent the fish from biting through the line? That makes sense. Thank you.

I went out last night, and just because I was lazy and didn't want to bother tying a leader, I used 10' of 20 lb fluoro. It didn't cast very well, but the rod is just a $20 glass/graphite 7/8 that I was planning to use only for trolling, so I don't know if the lousy casting was the rod or the leader. While trolling right at sunset, something hit the line and it was big enough to pull the kayak, but it turned, came back under and threw the hook, so I don't what it was. Bottom line is that the straight 20 lb leader worked for trolling and held up okay, but may not have been good for casting. I will stick with the tapers and then try some of the formulas you guys have when I am tying my own.

From the responses, it sounds as if a leader of diminishing size, whether knotted or tapered, turns the fly over better than a straight leader will.

Thanks for the input.
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Old 07-18-2014, 04:13 PM
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Default Re: Leader question...

Yes...think of the shock tippet as more of an abrasion guard. Normally if you don't taper the leader your casts will really suffer. The large to small mono actually is a continuation of the forward taper on your fly line. ESPECIALLY WHEN YOURE IN SALTWATER AND 60' casts are considered short!
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Old 07-18-2014, 07:49 PM
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Default Re: Leader question...

Calling it a shock tippet is misleading because it does nothing to prevent shock. It's a bite tippet, to prevent bite-offs.

10' of straight 20lb is probably too long to cast effectively. Try 6' and you'll get better results.

Cheers,
Graeme
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Old 07-18-2014, 08:44 PM
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Default Re: Leader question...

depending on line wt ........Use a 3.5' to 4' butt and then 3 to 4' section. For a 7wt a 30 or 40# butt , 8 to 9wt use a 40# butt. Then what ever # line you want to use. I personally seldom go over 15# and usually less. A bite or shock tippet should only be about 12" long. Many fish do not need them. ......A 5' straight leader will work many times. ,,,,I use loop to loop connections everywhere except at the fly. It is all simple and easy to change. I like simple.

I should have added that I use the same setup for bass with my heavier rods.
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Old 07-19-2014, 08:18 AM
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Default Re: Leader question...

I wouldn't go with a 10' leader at all.
While I might use a 12' leader for flats fishing, 90% of the time I use an 8' one. And as short as 3'-4' for kayak trolling with a sinking line.
Saltwater fish are not known to be leader shy and with a leader shorter than your rod, you don't have to worry about your line/leader knot getting stuck in your tip-top when trying to land a fish.
Quote:
So the shock tippet is less to prevent breakage from force and more to prevent the fish from biting through the line? That makes sense.
If you're expecting "toothy" fish you can try a heavy mono "trace", but most people now use multi-strand "knotable" wire.
4" is always good enough where I fish

.... which reminds me...where abouts are you fishing ?
Where you fish and your expected prey can make a big difference in the type of leader that you'll need.
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Old 07-19-2014, 11:41 AM
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Default Re: Leader question...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rip Tide View Post
I use a 3 part tapered leader because it turns the flies over better, but I know plenty of people who just use straight 20# mono.
One guy that I fish with uses straight 30# mono and purposely ties an overhand knot in it just so that it will have a weak spot

Personally I'll use 6' of straight mono for poppers, but I've proven to myself that a basic tapered leader works better to turn over large flies
I like 4' of 40#, 2' of 25#, and 2' of 16# . Trilene or Climax
A bit longer when I bothered to tie my own. Over the years the dry line leaders I use have gotten shorter and shorter. Nine foot is quite enough as taught me by Mark B of flyfishusa. Was using one close to 15 foot and 'Fred, what the hell do you need something that long?'

Have to admit, 9 is far easier to cast than 15 .... and the fish didn't seem to care. Clue there?
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