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Thread: Please help me with proper leader selection

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    South Florida & the White Mountains of New Hampshire
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    162

    Default Please help me with proper leader selection

    I am a novice fly fisherman so don't assume that I know anything and there is no need to be gentle with me. I generally understand the concept of SMOOTHLY transferring energy from the rod to the fly line, through the leader, the tippet, and eventually to the fly, by stepping down through line sizes.

    After gathering information here and else where, I have settled on determining tippet size by dividing the fly size by three. Then making an adjustment if I am spooking fish or breaking off tippets.

    However leader size is still a mystery to me. I am using tapered leaders. I'm thinking there should be a relationship between the leader size and fly line size, in order to assure that smooth transmission of energy.

    Since leader sizes are measured at the tippet end, I don't know what the butt size is. And I suspect that it's important to have a reasonable match up between the butt of the leader and the tip of the fly line.

    Even though I may be tossing a size 12 fly with either my number 3 rod or my number 7 rod, I can't see using the same leader for both situations.

    So, I'm asking you veterans to lead me (pun intended) to the correct way to select my leader.



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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    White City (tad north of Medford) Oar-E-Gone
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    10,670

    Default re: Please help me with proper leader selection

    Easy Piesie. The butt end of the leader should be the same diameter (pound test has little to do with it) as the end of the fly line. Idea is the continuance of the cast energy from one into to the other.
    When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost. - Billy Graham"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    quiet corner, ct
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    8,503

    Default re: Please help me with proper leader selection

    Not the same diameter necessarily but have the same amount of flex.
    They should bend the same to eliminate any hinging
    You really don't have to worry about it though. Store bought extruded leaders that match the kind of fishing you intend on doing will all be close enough.
    The simpler the outfit, the more skill it takes to manage it, and the more pleasure one gets in his achievements.” --- Horace Kephart

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    South Florida & the White Mountains of New Hampshire
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    162

    Default re: Please help me with proper leader selection

    OK, so I will get out my lines and leaders and start matching them up by flexibility. Sounds like a good task for a rainy weekend.

    Thank you for all the good advice!


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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Boise, Idaho
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    Default re: Please help me with proper leader selection

    Your question actually does make a lot of sense. When using Tapered leaders, it is more of a one size fits all scenario. If you decide to try furled leaders, we actually offer leaders based on fly line diameter. Meaning one leader is good for a 0-3 wt, then we move up to a leader for 4-5-6 wt rods and so on. As mentioned previously, you want the fly line dia and the leader dia similar for a smooth transfer of energy. With a thread furled leader, you can throw 4x tippet as well as 7x tippet with same leader. This means when the hatch changes, you simply change the length of tippet that is appropriate for the fly you are throwing. Smaller fly equals smaller dia tippet…. Hope this helped. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me though the email below.


  6. #6

    Default re: Please help me with proper leader selection

    Quote Originally Posted by MAD777 View Post
    I am a novice fly fisherman .... I generally understand the concept of SMOOTHLY transferring energy from the rod to the fly line, through the leader, the tippet, and eventually to the fly, by stepping down through line sizes.

    However leader size is still a mystery to me. I am using tapered leaders. I'm thinking there should be a relationship between the leader size and fly line size, in order to assure that smooth transmission of energy.

    Since leader sizes are measured at the tippet end, I don't know what the butt size is. And I suspect that it's important to have a reasonable match up between the butt of the leader and the tip of the fly line.

    So, I'm asking you veterans to lead me (pun intended) to the correct way to select my leader.
    OK, let's make this as easy as possible.

    Method #1:

    Go buy a commercial leader. Unwrap it and take the leader butt and put it next to the end of the fly line and compare diameters. If the leader butt is about the diameter of the diameter of the fly line or just a bit thinner, cut off the leader loop and nail knot the leader butt to the end of the fly line.

    If the leader is much thicker, find an area of the butt that is about the diameter of the fly line, cut and nail knot at this point.

    When the leader wears out, cut the leader leaving about 8" of the butt nail knotted to the fly line. Tie a perfection loop into the end of the this section and then use it to connect new leaders with a loop to loop connection



    If the butt is less than 3/4 of the diameter of the end of the fly line, go to method 2.

    Method #2:

    Get a section of stiff mono that is about the diameter of the fly line and tie it to the end of the fly line with a nail knot. Cut it leaving about an 8" section and tie perfection loop. Now connect the leader with a loop to loop connection.

    I use Maxima Chameleon for stiff mono.

    Regards,

    Silver



    "Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought"..........Szent-Gyorgy

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Bloomington, IL
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    141

    Default re: Please help me with proper leader selection

    As you've seen, there are many different opinions about leaders. Over 40 years of fly fishing, I've tried them all. But, I always come back to tying my own based on the size of fly line I'm using and the size of fly I'll be throwing. My target is to start with stiff mono (Maxima Chameleon is what I use) that is about 2/3 the diameter of the end of the fly line. I use four feet of that size. Drop down .004 and knot in a foot of transition mono. Then I drop down another .004 and add four more feet of that size. Whatever tippet size I need for the fly size, water and wind conditions is then added to the end of nine foot leader. I usually add 24 to 30" of tippet.

    Lines 3 and under usually start with .015. 4 and 5, around .020. 6 and 7, .022.

    Spey lines, usually start with .024.

    But for easy--buy 9' prepackaged leaders and use the loop they come with to connect them to your fly line. If the line doesn't have a loop, have your local fly shop nail knot the 8" of .020 or .022 to the fly line and then loop the leaders on. Buy enough tippet to replenish the leaders after several fly changes.

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