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  1. #1

    Default Leader Lenght Question

    Leader length will it matter if it is shorter or longer then normal. I know it comes in different sizes ( ie: 7 1/2 ft.,9ft. & 12 ft.) is there a reason for this as effecting casting or is it just not to spook fish in clear water? I read the leader should be 1 1/2 the length of your rod in order to dissipate all the energy from the line to turn over the fly properly. With that being said I use a 9ft. rod 1 1/2 times that would make it be 13 1/2 ft. man I thought that's long so I made one 12 ft. as I know you can buy them that long. I adding more tippet it would not cast well at all . That made me want to see what would happen if I made it shorter so I made it to 5 1/2 ft. and it cast better than with the normal 7 1/2 ft. leader I normal use I am using a yarn fly on the end of the leader. Can anyone of you out there explain why the leader would have this effect on the cast. I'm new at this and I know my form needs work but that being aside we are talking a big difference , I was just wondering why.
    Thanks
    Mike

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    quiet corner, ct
    Posts
    8,614

    Default Re: Leader Lenght Question

    When I bass fish, I use a leader between 6' and 9' ....max
    I don't know where you got the idea that you needed a leader 1 1/2 times the rod length....... that's just plain wrong

    For large poppers I use a straight piece of mono (12-20# test) SIX feet only. That's the length that easily turns over a big air resistant bug.
    For streamers and such.... 8 feet is fine..... bass are not leader shy.
    For smaller trout type flies, you might want to go as long as 9', but I wouldn't.
    I like to keep my leader length shorter than the rod length.
    That way the line/leader knot never makes it's way into the rod tiptop when landing a 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. Default Re: Leader Lenght Question

    The leader is all about 2 things. It must 1. give a buffer zone between the visible line and the fly that a fish can't see and 2. transfer energy from the line to the fly. This sounds simple but it's really quite tricky to get right because the two qualities are at odds with each other.

    Like you have already noted, shorter leaders turn over easier. We would all use short leaders if we still had that buffer zone to get the fly out from the visible line.

    This brings us to the energy transfer of a longer leader. That quality is determined by the size, taper, and type of monofilament used. I tie my own leaders because I rarely find manufactured leaders satisfactory. Also, many leaders start out too small at the butt end for my taste. This creates a hinge at the line/leader joint rather than a good transfer of energy.

    All in all, I find that for dry flies, I like a leader about the same length as my rod, perhaps 6" longer. 1.5x would be too much for most fishing with the exception of very still difficult streams like the letort. For those I have used 12' leaders before and find it pretty much necessary. It does mean tougher casting but it also means you scare off fewer fish; just give and take.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Southeast Pennsylvania
    Posts
    2,760

    Default Re: Leader Lenght Question

    The fish where I live are very smart, and I use a 9 foot leader as often as possible. In fact, I haven't used anything shorter than 9 feet in the past few
    years. Using a shorter leader for bass as RipTide mentioned is good advice, and I use to do that. I just have a fear that going shorter than 9 feet will cause me to miss the big one.....

    Hand-tied leaders work very well, and I tried to switch to extruded leaders not long ago. They were much better than I remember, but I found myself tying section to the knotless leaders as they grew shorter, and they became knotted leaders. I certainly wasn't going to throw out at 6 foot section of tapered leader, and adding a short section of 2X (etc) followed by a 3X tippet makes much more financial sense. Tying the whole thing is too much different, so....

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Missouri City (near Houston), Texas
    Posts
    1,262

    Default Re: Leader Lenght Question

    Like Cketh and Frank said. I also tie my own leaders, but I seldom start from scratch; I cut back tapered leaders that I like to the butt section, then add various lengths and thicknesses to build the leader I'm looking for on a particular water, varying the leader characteristics for different circumstances. For example, a leader that I'm going to be casting heavy flies and/or in windy conditions will have a different "build" for good leader turnover than lighter flies cast in delicate conditions. As the end section of tippet gets too short, I cut off the end tippet at the knot and just tie on another segment of tippet.
    On the whole, I'd rather be in Wyoming . . .
    Fly2:

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Boise, Idaho
    Posts
    1,989

    Default Re: Leader Lenght Question

    Here's my easy and unscientific method: Use the heavyest tippet you can fit thru the hook eye twice (I tie on with palomar knots). If you get refusals, go smaller. If you get break offs, go larger. If your (dryfly cast) straightens out and stops in the air or springs back, your leader is too short. If it stops before it turns over and lands in a heap, it's too long. If it lands gently in a series of even s curves, it's just right.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Missouri City (near Houston), Texas
    Posts
    1,262

    Default Re: Leader Lenght Question

    Quote Originally Posted by JoJer View Post
    Here's my easy and unscientific method: Use the heavyest tippet you can fit thru the hook eye twice (I tie on with palomar knots). If you get refusals, go smaller. If you get break offs, go larger. If your (dryfly cast) straightens out and stops in the air or springs back, your leader is too short. If it stops before it turns over and lands in a heap, it's too long. If it lands gently in a series of even s curves, it's just right.
    JoJer, this could not have been said better. I've never seen this great self-correcting tip expressed in any fly-fishing book or article; perhaps it's time for you to write one.

    Neil
    On the whole, I'd rather be in Wyoming . . .
    Fly2:

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Central Florida
    Posts
    5,392

    Default Re: Leader Lenght Question

    Hi bass_man,

    For most Bass fishing a short leader is best. Bass are not usually leader shy and many are caught using a braided line fasten to a lure. My favorite Bass leader is is the Climax Salmon leaders they are 4' long with a heave base and a short taper to the tippet size with a short tippet. They use to come in 5' length and that was the one I used the most. I would buy them with a 0X and 1X tippet and then I could make a 0X into a 2X or 4X. I could make the 1X into a 3X or 4X. So with a few of these 0X and 1X leaders and a supply of tippet material I could make a range of tippet strengths for different fishing.


    Climax is now making a 4' Bass leader and you can buy them instead of the Salmon leaders. You can read about the Climax leaders here. Just buy the Tapered 4' Bass leaders and add two feet of tippet and make yourself a 6' leader. If you want a 10 pond tippet then buy the 12 pound 4' Bass leader and add two feet of 10 pound tippet material. You might find with some heavy flies that an eighteen inch tippet is enough.

    Frank

    Frank

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Boise, Idaho
    Posts
    1,989

    Default Re: Leader Lenght Question

    Aw, Shucks, Neil, You'll turn my head.
    I think I actually read that somewhere. Probably in that 400 pound stack of magazines I have downstairs. I wish I could give the author credit. But I've been using it and teaching it for years.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Jacksonville,Florida
    Posts
    247

    Default Re: Leader Length Question

    I have read about using a permanent leader butt. Is there a chart or rule of thumb as to the size/Dia. in relation to your line wt.
    Also would one be needed when using a Furled leader. And how to determine the correct size of the furled leader.

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