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Thread: a bit confused about leader selection

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    Saskatchewan, Canada
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    Default a bit confused about leader selection

    So i'm a bit confused about leader strength selection. Does it depend on the weight of your line/rod or the fly you're casting out, or both? I was hoping to use my 6wt rod for all my fishing needs, including larger fish like northern pike. would having a 9 lb test leader on my line be bad? i guess i'm worried about the strength of rods and flylines, and don't want the leader to be stronger than the fly line and rod can withstand. does the rod/line wt have anything to do with its actual strength?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    quiet corner, ct
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    Default Re: a bit confused about leader selection

    You can use any strength leader you like
    I know a guy that likes to fish for stripers with his 3wt.
    He uses a 12# tippet so that he can put as much pressure as possible on the fish.
    The simpler the outfit, the more skill it takes to manage it, and the more pleasure one gets in his achievements. --- Horace Kephart

  3. #3

    Default Re: a bit confused about leader selection

    Quote Originally Posted by ssjchar View Post
    So i'm a bit confused about leader strength selection. Does it depend on the weight of your line/rod or the fly you're casting out, or both? I was hoping to use my 6wt rod for all my fishing needs, including larger fish like northern pike. would having a 9 lb test leader on my line be bad? i guess i'm worried about the strength of rods and flylines, and don't want the leader to be stronger than the fly line and rod can withstand. does the rod/line wt have anything to do with its actual strength?
    If you fish streams or rivers for trout, a 9 lb leader would be a bit much. For pike I would guess it would be ok-but being a toothy creature, I would suspect you would want a bite wire or hard mason mono for a tippet.
    Life is not like a bowl of cherries. It's more like a jar of ghost peppers. What you eat today might burn your ass tomorrow...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    Missouri City (near Houston), Texas
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    Default Re: a bit confused about leader selection

    Like mentioned above, you can use just about any strength leader you want. I suppose there's some theoretical breaking strength of a fly line that a leader's breaking strength might surpass, but I've never heard of that happening.

    More to the point would be how you're leader is constructed so that it turns over properly. Again, if you're buying ready-made fly-fishing leaders with the terminal tippit breaking strength you want, there shouldn't be a problem. Or you can construct your own. Most leader butts (the thicker end of the leader that you attach to your fly line) are going to be around 25-30 lb. test, depending upon the stiffness of the leader material (I use Maxima for leader butts because it seems stiffer to me, better matching the end of the fly lines I use which aids leader turnover). Obviously, then, you could end up with terminal tippit up to even the same test (25-30 lb.), although leader turnover might be a challenge.

    Bottom line, to answer your original question: I don't think you have to worry about your leader "over-powering" either your fly line or rod.
    On the whole, I'd rather be in Wyoming . . .
    Fly2:

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Saskatchewan, Canada
    Posts
    58

    Default Re: a bit confused about leader selection

    Thanks for the replies guys and perfectly answered my question. I was thinking i had a bad rod selection (6wt) since many of the waters i fished before flyfishing have a smaller population of trout and have decently high numbers of pike and good sized walleye.

  6. #6

    Default Re: a bit confused about leader selection

    In addition to the strength aspect of your leader, there are a couple of other aspects that you may want to consider.

    It's very important that the energy generated by your fly line is efficiently transferred into, and thru your leader. If not, you are going to have big time casting problems. Depending on the construction of your leader, energy is transferred in one of two ways. Single strand mono leaders tend to rely on the inherent stiffness of the material to load and release energy, along the lines of a bow and arrow. Furled leaders on the other hand rely on having more mass, they work the same way your fly line does. Problems are most likely to occur at the connection between your leader and your fly line.

    The other thing to consider is presentation. You want your fly to "behave" naturally. If you are fishing in moving water, and your leader is overly stiff, chances are you are going to have problems with drag. Of course, that's something you want to avoid.

    By using some sort of tapered leader, you can have the best of both worlds. Enough stiffness/mass at one end, enough suppleness at the other. The other good news is that there is a fair amount of tolerance when it comes to leader design, so chances are good that you will get acceptable performance with most leaders. However if you are consistantly having casting problems, or you just can't by a bite, you might want to give some consideration to how your leader is set up.

    Hope that helps,


    The more you know, the less you need.

    Tenkara Fly Fishing

    Tenkara Fly Fishing Blog


    "People tend to get the politicians and the fishing tackle they deserve" - John Gierach, Fishing Bamboo

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Missouri City (near Houston), Texas
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    Thumbs up Re: a bit confused about leader selection

    PSZY22's explanation is good enough that it could be in an encyclopedia on fly-fishing.
    On the whole, I'd rather be in Wyoming . . .
    Fly2:

  8. #8

    Default Re: a bit confused about leader selection

    Okay i have a question, being a newbie. I have a 7'6" 4wt that was outfitted with a 9' 4x leader. From talking to the Orvis fellows down here they said I shouldn't go down in tippet more than 2 diameters...so that leaves me going no lighter than a 6x tippet. Does it work in the other direction? Can I use 2x, 3x tippets thereby increasing my fly sizes?

    I currently have a knotted tapered leader that steps down to 4x tied on my line.

  9. #9

    Default Re: a bit confused about leader selection

    Quote Originally Posted by shenvalley View Post
    Okay i have a question, being a newbie. I have a 7'6" 4wt that was outfitted with a 9' 4x leader. From talking to the Orvis fellows down here they said I shouldn't go down in tippet more than 2 diameters...so that leaves me going no lighter than a 6x tippet. Does it work in the other direction? Can I use 2x, 3x tippets thereby increasing my fly sizes?

    I currently have a knotted tapered leader that steps down to 4x tied on my line.
    I rarely move smaller than 6x. Mid summer slow water maybe 7x but man you really need to fight the fish so long with 7x or 8 you will probably kill the fish after the fight if you catch and release.

    IF the 9' 4x is tappered and you want smaller then get 9' 6x tappered and after you cut about 3 or 4 feet of.. tie on your own 6x material on the tapered leader.

    I usually start the season with 9' 6x tappered and end with that same leader about 5' long and have attached many of 5x or 6x leader on it.

    There are others here that are far better at answering this than me. Also look at the thread on Flouro.. Brewmaster had some really great suggestions on using SEGUAR fishing line and tapering with it.

    I agree using 4x mono tied with 6x tippet you will need to really watch your knots.. I would use 5x first then taper down to 6 or 7 if needed.

    Good luck

    CritterGetter

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