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Thread: Making my own leader

  1. #1

    Default Making my own leader

    I tried doing a search and didn't see anything up to date that really addressed my question.

    My question is can I take 3 different straight mono "tests" and make my own leader for trout fishing.

    For example can I just make a 8lb. butt section, a 5lb. mid-section and then my normal 5x or 6x tippet just using nail knots or double surgeons knots?

    Thanks for your help.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Manning, S. C. (formerly MD)

    Default Re: Making my own leader

    Mike, you certainly could, but would probably be better off thinking in terms of line diameter & stiffness rather than test strength.

    There are many formulas for leaders & their intended purpose. Probably if you ask 10 fly fishers who make their own leaders for their formulas, you'll get 10 slightly different answers based on exactly the same usage.

    I make most of my own, and have used 3 sections for some purposes. I don't make many for trout fishing specifically because I don't do it often. Mine are primarily for bass or saltwater so are much heavier. I use Yozuri Hybrid to make them including for tippet, not anything special. It's worked fine for my purposes. Other folks will have preferences for the material they choose to make theirs & for tippet.

    Here's an article I read recently written by George Harvey who likely forgot more about this sport & fishing for trout than most folks learn in a life time.

    You could do far worse than this formula.

    Remember, no one likes to be behind the big truck, but that's better than being under it!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Prince Edward Island, Canada

    Default Re: Making my own leader

    Sure you can. I just use one piece of 4lb test for my entire leader.
    Just caught a couple beauties the other night.
    "Whale oil beef hooked !"- Traditional east coast fishermen saying

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    MD Suburbs of DC

    Default Re: Making my own leader

    +1 to what BigJim said! The "new" version of the Harvey leader is a good one that I'm beginning to use myself.

    Leaders change depending on what type of fishing you are doing (dries, nymphs, strait line nymphing, streamers, etc.) and what weight rod you are using. For example: You could just use a one piece leader with a 3wt or lighter line and step down to your tippet from there.

    If you want us to give more detailed responses, you should try to provide the information above. You could also do a forum search and likely get a LOT of information from threads that have already discussed leader design. Lefty Kreh has written some good and broad based information about leader design covering everything from trout fishing to salt water applications. Kelly Galloup is kind of the streamer guru and has some good info on that kind of leader.

    Hope this helps!


    PS: You can DO whatever you want. It's HOW you do it, depending on the type and size of bug you're throwing that will determine the quality of the presentation.
    Last edited by ts47; 08-03-2014 at 05:07 PM.

    Good things come to those who wade...

    And YES... the answer is always, "It depends".

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    buena vista,colorado

    Thumbs down Re: Making my own leader

    Pick up the latest issue of fly fishing and tying magazine.Dave whitlock explains it all,the why and why not you should make your own leader.The knots catch in the guides and when it drifts it will collect every piece of flotsam,thats weeds and other junk floating in a river.Read the article everybody and enlighten yourselves why the modern tapered leaders are far superior.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Making my own leader

    Thanks for that link, I will jump right on it.

    Todd, thanks for your response. I was vague and I will feel in the details here. My newness isn't an excuse however my enthusiasm gets the better of me. I did do a search using the key words but apparently I wasn't thorough enough. The best thread I saw was from 2007.

    I am fishing for small rainbows <12" using a flexible rod and 5WF line. I am primarily throwing nymphs and emergers size 18 and smaller.



    ---------- Post added at 05:22 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:12 PM ----------

    Just picked up that issue and started reading the article. It's not my intention to debate on what is better as I'm too ignorant to even have a position. I do know that I'm spending a lot of time practicing in the yard and fishing and if I had a dollar for every leader knot I've made I could buy us all set ups. So really I was looking for practice first, and perhaps fish-ability. Tapered leaders aren't that expensive but when you're buying them by the half-dozen at a time they add least for me.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Making my own leader

    The Gary Borger Uni-body leader is a 3 part leader. It is composed of a stiff nylon mono butt section, a stiff nylon transition section, and a soft nylon tippet section.

    Leaders made of normal fishing mono will not perform correctly so you need to use they type of nylon mono that has the properties that fit the leader design for best performance.

    See the instructions for a simple Uni-body leader below:

    Leader tying


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

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Littleton Colorado

    Default Re: Making my own leader


    Google Leader Calculator, put your inputs and go from there
    I think I fish, in part, because itís an anti-social, bohemian business that, when gone about properly, puts you forever outside the mainstream culture without actually landing you in an institution. ĖJohn Gierach

  9. #9

    Default Re: Making my own leader

    Quote Originally Posted by tail of the pool View Post

    Google Leader Calculator, put your inputs and go from there
    Screw Google, I'm a Yahoo guy.

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  11. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Sacramento, Ca

    Default Re: Making my own leader

    Perhaps consider another path . . .
    I used a furled leader from Zen Outfitters for all my river/stream fishing. Just tie on a tippet, casts GREAT and lasts all season barring some catastrophic event. Net cost over the year makes it very reasonable.
    I take much greater pleasure in admiring the works of nature than those of man.

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