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Old 07-24-2012, 12:00 PM
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Default Level leader question - fly sizes

Hi,

I believe I've narrowed my typical fly sizes down to #12-#6 for most species I'll likely be fishing. I'm taking the advice of a previous poster in not getting too uptight about my leader, and I'll likely be using either a simple tapered one from 20 pound test >> 8 pound test or just a level strip of 6/8 pound test monofilament. I'll probably use a fairly short leader, maybe 6-7 feet.

Will this type of leader "turn over" flies between #6-12? I was wondering whether the thickness and stiffness of the heavier mono would affect this....particularly using a leader/tippet of 8 pound mono on a size #12 fly. What will happen? Does the length matter more than the line size?

I'm just curious about how this tends to work in practice...without having to waste a lot line and flies

Thank you again!
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Old 07-24-2012, 12:58 PM
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Default Re: Level leader question - fly sizes

I fish warmwater and have gone to furled leaders with a mono tippet of about 2.5'. Before that I used a butt of 20# of 3.5' and a loop to loop tippet connection. I still use this same basic leader in the salt. The sweet water tippet is 6# mostly. I usually use 8 to 12# in the salt. If in when I go after carp I have some 8# floro for tippet to help get the fly down a little quicker. On the stream I carry 2 extra leaders but almost never use one but I carry several tippets and usually need at least 2 or 3 everytime I am on the stream. I do my own furled leaders and they are only about 4 to 4.5' long and they are done with 4# mono. I used to make multi step leaders but couldn't see a lot of difference for my fishing and I don't fish trout or use 15' leaders. 6 to 8' is the norm on total length. when I fish bass in open water I use 8# tippets and in cover I will go as high 20# level leaders. I don't fuss much with my leaders or tippets. I like EZ
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Old 07-24-2012, 01:06 PM
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Default Re: Level leader question - fly sizes

It really depends on what kind of fishing you are doing; streamers, dries, nymphs - in lakes, rivers, spring creeks?

Most fly fishers use the "X system" to gauge tippet size. A size 12 fly would generally need 4X tippet, which is probably around 6lbs. To properly present dry flies, the length and size of the tippet work together. Actually, to turn over any fly it is a factor of both variables.

I fish rivers. When fishing dry flies to trout in moving water I use a leader constructed like this: 4' 25lb butt section + 1' of .013 (I think that's around 10lb), for there I either tie on 4 feet of 4X tippet and be done, or to taper it longer add 1' of .010 and then the tippet. The idea is to have a stiff butt section to transfer line power get the leader turning, then have a long supple tippet that does NOT straighten out completely. This is contrary to the notion that good casts straighten leaders like a pin. Rather your tippet lands with slack which allows the fly to drift more naturally.
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Old 07-24-2012, 01:11 PM
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Default Re: Level leader question - fly sizes

It's the length and the stoutness that matter with a level leader
If it's too long, then it's not going to turnover well like a tapered leader would,
and if it's not stout enough, it's just going to collapse.

By "stout enough" I'm referring to mono that might be heavier than what you're thinking at 8#test, I use 12#.
Also with the smaller sized flies you mentioned, you'd be better off with the tapered leader anyway.
A short level leader is best with the larger poppers.
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Old 07-24-2012, 03:23 PM
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Default Re: Level leader question - fly sizes

Okay - that sounds fair! I'll look at making my own mono leaders - probably a 20# butt section >> 12# mid section >> 8# tippet. If I can't turn things over well, I'll modify from there.

Thanks,
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Old 07-24-2012, 05:05 PM
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Default Re: Level leader question - fly sizes

While my trout leader formulas have multiple step-downs, I'll normally use a simple 3 part hand tied leader for both warm and salt water. (except for big poppers when I use the 6' straight mono)
Most of the time it will be similar to what you're thinking with 4 feet of butt section, 2 feet of mid, and a 2 foot tippet.
Another simple leader that Lefty advocates is to make a 4 part leader with each section half the length of the previous
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Old 07-24-2012, 07:15 PM
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Default Re: Level leader question - fly sizes

Yeah, I saw that Lefty recommends that (50% leader step-down). I love that guy -- I'll take whatever he says and just assume that he's correct .

Hand tied leaders are pretty easy actually - I tied a few this evening using the perfection loop, and 2 seaguar knots. They feel pretty strong, and I always put some "umphf" into them to make sure they are tied well. I didn't want to end up tying 5 or more pieces of mono together because I don't like complexity, so I'll try the 3 part leader and see how it casts. If it works well, I'll probably just stick with it.

I also took Lefty's advice and taught myself to tie the non-slip mono loop knot. It's actually pretty easy to tie and seems strong.

Thanks guys!
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Old 07-25-2012, 07:44 AM
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Default Re: Level leader question - fly sizes

Turbine,

You're relatively close to me, we should hook up and hit some water...perhaps I can be of some help...although there's alot more experience on here than I have.
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Old 07-25-2012, 09:44 AM
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Default Re: Level leader question - fly sizes

For full on 'dry' leaders I'm also a fan of Furlled leaders with a tippet ring on the end. I even use these on my 2-handers when appropriate. As for a single shot of leader, yes for short runs you can do same, but you may well have 'turn over' issues with this. The 'thick' but section on leaders is there to 'transfer energy from the fly line out to the fly. If you want to make your own, the old "tried and true" 60-20-20 works just find for most trout fishing applications.
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Old 07-25-2012, 11:34 AM
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Default Re: Level leader question - fly sizes

Quote:
Originally Posted by turbineblade View Post
Yeah, I saw that Lefty recommends that (50% leader step-down). I love that guy -- I'll take whatever he says and just assume that he's correct .

Hand tied leaders are pretty easy actually - I tied a few this evening using the perfection loop...

I also took Lefty's advice and taught myself to tie the non-slip mono loop knot. It's actually pretty easy to tie and seems strong.

Thanks guys!
Loop to loop connections within your leader are going to create multiple hinges and greatly hinder the function, particularly with heavy flies.

I've seen the seaguar knot but never used it, is it nice smooth transition? Another good and easy to tie knot is the double uni, it will work with two different sized lines and I believe is safe to connect mono to flouro due the fact it is essentially to jam knots against each other.

But you are right, hand tying leaders is not hard and pretty fun. And I've found they cast far superior to any tapered leader. If you really get into it, it's worth learning the blood knot...it is not as hard as it is made out to be.
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