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Thread: Greased leaders

  1. #1

    Default Greased leaders

    On some other threads folks recommend greasing leaders. I use Gink on flies that are supposed to float, but I have never put anything on my leaders or tippets. What is this grease? Is it supposed to make the leader float or sink?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Paris of the South

    Default Re: Greased leaders

    I mostly use Cut Throat furled thread leaders. I always use Mucilin (white) on my leader to help it float.

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  4. #3

    Default Re: Greased leaders

    Quote Originally Posted by gpwhitejr View Post
    On some other threads folks recommend greasing leaders. I use Gink on flies that are supposed to float, but I have never put anything on my leaders or tippets. What is this grease? Is it supposed to make the leader float or sink?
    The greased leader refers to putting fly floatant (grease) on leaders to get them to float. I think "grease" was the floatant used on horse hair leaders in the early days of fly fishing. Horse hair was woven to form tapered leaders. Here is some representative horse hair.

    Now back to the subject of greasing leaders. What you read probably was referencing getting leaders to float. But there is an old fly fishing technique called the "greased leader tactic."

    The greased leader tactic is explained below.

    Sexyloops - Greased Leader Tactic

    To catch a fish, you need to present the fly at the level that the fish is feeding. This is rule #1. If the fly is not at the level of the fish, everything else you do from a drag free drift and natural imitation does not matter.

    The greased leader allows you to accurately place the fly at the exact level you want when the fish are feeding just under the film. Greasing the leader allows you to choose how much of the leader sinks, and that allows it to choose the level of the fly.

    The second rule is that if you cannot detect the strike, you will miss fish. The more sensitive the the detection is to a subtle strike, the more strikes and the faster you will detect them. The greased leader allows you to do that.

    A greased leader is more detectable by the fish than a sunken leader BUT rule 1 and 2 trump the fact that a less detectable leader cannot help you if you cannot put the fly to the fish at the level you need to catch the fish. So when the fish are feeding in the film or just under the film, and you need to place that fly at a perfect level, consider the greased leader. NOTE that I do NOT grease the leader all the way to the fly so the leader near the fly is SUNKEN.

    This was a favored technique initially to fish small nymphs and pupa in and under the film. Now that emergers have been developed it is used to fish early stage emergers as well. If you saw a head and shoulders rise of a fish feeding just under the film, this was the technique that was used.

    This was in the era before strike indicators and the dry dropper technique was developed. It is still one of the the best techniques, I believe, to detect strikes just under or in the film. The end of a floating leader is extremely sensitive to even the most subtle of takes.

    It is also a great technique to fish to fish in shallow water near the bank using a sunken ant or a sunken spinner. There is no splash of a heavy fly or of an indicator. The cast is not affected by a bulky dry fly or an indicator. Accuracy with slack line casts and the drift is optimized, because there is just the fly and the leader. Even subtle strikes are detected because the leader is the indicator.

    Sometime it helps to be an old fart that has seen and fished the old ways before indicators and the dry dropper.

    Here are a few more ideas on when and how to use this technique:

    Midge Fishing in Paradise | MidCurrent

    "In the greased leader technique, the angler dresses the leader with a paste fly floatant (thick silicone pastes work best), down to within a few inches of the fly. This controls the depth of the fly’s drift, and the angler watches the point where the tippet passes through the surface film for indications of a strike. While this removes the bulk of an indicator from the leader—allowing better accuracy and a more subtle presentation of the fly—it also offers much less buoyancy and is much harder to see. This approach works best on very slow currents, and on lakes and ponds when there is minimal wind, as the greased leader will sink in faster or choppy water. It also works well when the light is low, as the greased leader shows up in flat light as a dark line on the surface film of the water. The greased leader technique is perhaps the best method for suspending a pupa pattern just under the surface. In stillwater situations, where the numbers of suspended pupae may be astronomical, a very slow draw of the fly may make it more visible to the fish, and make it easier for the angler to detect a subtle strike….

    The greased leader approach and sight fishing are the best methods to imitate a midge pupa as it rises to the surface. The cast is made several feet above the fish, allowed to sink to the fish’s level, and then as the fly nears the fish, the angler stops the drift and uses a lift of the rod to move the fly toward the surface. If the fish are taking these ascending pupae, the upward movement will usually trigger a strike."
    Last edited by silver creek; 10-12-2018 at 09:29 PM.


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

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  6. #4

    Default Re: Greased leaders

    Great info, thanks.

  7. #5

    Default Re: Greased leaders

    For those of you interested in fly fishing history, in The CompleteAngler, Izaak Walton and Charles Cotton published direction for a line (leader)made of horse hair in Chapter 21. You can find a free copy of The Complete Angler below:



    But first for your line. First, note that you are to take care, that you hair be round and clear, and free from galls, or scabs, or frets; for a well-chosen, even, clear, round hair, of a kind of glass-colour, will prove as strong as three uneven, scabby hairs, that are ill-chosen, and full of galls or unevenness. You shall seldom find a black hair but it is round, but many white are flat and uneven; therefore, if you get a lock of right round, clear, glass-colour hair, make much of it.

    And for making your line, observe this rule: first, let your hair be clean washed ere you go about to twist it; and then choose not only the clearest hair for it, but hairs that be of an equal bigness, for such do usually stretch all together, and break all together, which hairs of an unequal bigness never do, but break singly, and so deceive the angler that trusts to them.

    When you have twisted your links, lay them in water for a quarter of an hour at least, and then twist them over again before you tie them into a line: for those that do not so, shall usually find their line to have a hair or two shrink, and be shorter than the rest at the first fishing with it; which is so much of the strength of the line lost for want of first watering it and then retwisting it; and this is most visible in a seven hair line, one of those which hath always a black hair in the middle.

    And for dyeing of your hairs, do it thus. Take a pint of strong ale, half a pound of soot, and a little quantity of the juice of walnut-tree leaves, and an equal quantity of alum: put these together into a pot, pan, or pipkin, and boil them half an hour; and having so done, let it cool; and being cold, put your hair into it, and there let it lie: it will turn your hair to be a kind of water or glass-colour or greenish; and the longer you let it lie, the deeper coloured it will be. You might be taught to make many other colours, but it is to little purpose: for doubtless the water-colour or glass-coloured hair, is the most choice and most useful for an anlger; but let it not be too green.

    But if you desire to colour hair greener, then do it thus. Take a quart of small ale, half a pound of alum; then put these into a pan or pipkin, and your hair into it with them; then put it upon a fire, and let it boil softly for half an hour; and then take out your hair, and let it dry: and, having so done, then take a pottle of water, and put into it two handfuls of marygolds, and cover it with a tile, or what you think fit, and set it again on the fire, where it is to boil again softly for half an hour, about which time the scum will turn yellow; then put into it half a pound of copperas, beaten small, and with it the hair that you intend to colour; then let the hair be boiled softly till half the liquor be wasted; and then let it cool three or four hours, with your hair in it: and you are to observe, that the more copperas you put into it, the greener it will be; but doubtless the pale green is best. But if you desire yellow hair, which is only good when the weeds rot, then put in the more marygolds; and abate most of the copperas, or leave it quite out, and take a little verdigrise instead of it. This for colouring your hair.”


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

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