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Old 10-15-2012, 12:43 PM
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Default length for a leader?

Hey guys so I have some left over 10lb fluorocarbon I was going to make my leader out of, since I am just targeting bass and panfish. How long should I make it?
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Old 10-15-2012, 12:47 PM
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Default Re: length for a leader?

If just a straight run (no step down) length of rod. That said, do take a bit of heavier line/leader for a butt section to help with 'energy transmission' from the fly line to fly.
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Old 10-15-2012, 01:00 PM
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Default Re: length for a leader?

I like a three part leader most of the time for bass on a floating line . One with 60" of 40# for the butt, 20" of 25# for the mid, and 20" of 12# for the tippet is easy.

If I was going to go with a straight mono leader of 10# test, I would not make it much more than 6 feet long.
That's about as long as you can make it and still expect it to turn over
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Old 10-15-2012, 01:20 PM
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Default Re: length for a leader?

Ok cool thanks guys. Does using fluoro change anything?
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Old 10-15-2012, 02:17 PM
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Default Re: length for a leader?

I fish with both a lot and I notice that there is less memory in flouro. It's not enough to make a difference though. I try to always match the fishing conditions that I fish in. If I'm fishing a sink tip, I'm using a 4-6' leader of flourocarbon. If I'm fishing top water, I'm using mono with anywhere from 6-9' of leader depending on the fly size. It's more about your casting stroke and what is going to turn the fly over. I would start with a longer leader at first and you can always cut it down until you feel that it's casting like you want it to.
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Old 10-15-2012, 02:23 PM
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Default Re: length for a leader?

Ok cool thanks!
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Old 10-15-2012, 03:39 PM
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Default Re: length for a leader?

Okay, so I keep going back on forth on this question (leader design). Sometimes I just use a level leader (just one long piece of mono or fluoro in 8# test) and sometimes I go back to a 3-part leader very similar to what riptide uses.

I'd take rip's advice, he knows what he's talking about and probably has a few decades fishing experience over me .

That said, just to toss in more ideas for you, I find that a 20# to 12# to 8# leader of 9-10' works well for me. I prefer the longer leader for the waters I fish because they're pretty shallow and the bass tend to be more shy than is typical....otherwise I'd probably just use a 6-7' leader.

I usually use about 6' of 20# test, then probably 1' of 12# and the rest is the 8#. It's not exact. This leader seems to turn over big flies pretty well.

If you want you can try to use a level leader in your 10# test -- for smaller flies like #8-12 it will probably be just fine and you may not need the tapered, fat butt section. I find that for #6 and #4 flies I do have trouble with level leaders getting flies to turn over well and prefer the 3-part leader....so experiment!
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Old 10-15-2012, 04:29 PM
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Default Re: length for a leader?

It's not rocket science, you can use whatever formula works for you. I stick with the 60%/20%/20% leader because it works well and is easy to remember.
I know that Lefty uses a formula where each step-down is half the length of the section before. He starts at 50# test too.
(My trout leaders are much more complex and I tie them at 8', 10' and 12')

I don't find that bass are at all leader shy. They may be very wary of your approach and cast, but the leader itself is not a threat.
The main reason that I like my warm (and salt) water leaders shorter than the rod is that when landing a fish, the line/leader knot connection is always outside of the rod's tip-top.
It's just something that you don't have to ever worry about when things can otherwise be hectic.
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Old 10-15-2012, 05:43 PM
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Default Re: length for a leader?

As I have stated in previous post...I am a big fan of Furled leaders. Makes ME look like I can really fly fish! It does honestly!
With that in mind I use a 4-5 foot furled leader with anywhere from 4-6 feet of tippet. Early in the season when the Smalliesand panfish are hungry I use a shorter leader 3-4 ft and when they get spooky later in the season I up it to 4-6 ft.
I don't find any difference in catching fish with floro or mono. It might matter with trout, but I don't think it matters with Smallies or panfish. Mono is way cheaper than floro. I do tend to use floro when using sinking tip fly line. I believe it sinks, whereas mono is neutral buoyant.
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Old 10-18-2012, 01:25 AM
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Default Re: length for a leader?

Shorter is better. Lengthen only as necessary if fish are spooking from your fly line. Less knots are better and pick up less debris, move the weeds less, hang on the weeds less, etc--Use a commercially tapered leader looped to your fly line as your base leader as it will last a long time. Make that a 7.5 leader tapered down to about 4 lb test for Bluegills or 6-10 lb test for bass. Add tippet as needed using a small loops. Coat those knots with Knot Sense to smooth them out and lacking that use Sally Hansen's Hard as Nails and clip tag ends very short.

When making a tapered leader try to match the flex of your fly line with the butt, or go a bit limper rather than too stiff. Drop the diameter of that first section of mono to about 2/3 the butt diameter of your fly line. I leave a 6-8 inch section of soft mono (Amnesia) attached to my fly line with a nail knot ending in a small perfection loop. Then I can change from a Bluegill to a Bass leader quickly. Here's a link that says a lot: TOM JINDRA, Guy Tillotson's Grand Slam Group LLC: Building A Better Leader and does so simply in an easy to understand manner.
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