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Thread: Tapered leader

  1. Default Tapered leader

    I have heard of the use of a double taper leader for dry fly fishing in smaller streams.That is obviously a leader that has a basic ratio of 60:40:60 with the first and last sections of the same breaking strain.Has anyone got any feedback on this and if so,can this setup work on heavier outfits like 9wt and higher.It could be an advantage say in saltwater for skittish fish as it will give you a "softer" presentation.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Re: Tapered leader

    Haven't heard of them used in SW.

    I'd think that the initial presentation in SW in most cases will be determined by the way the fly hits the water - more of a function of fly design (size, weight, and materials) and where -- in terms of how far you lead the fish, as well as the depth and clarity of the water. Since SW flies are actively retrieved, or swung in current I don't think there would be the same concerns as fishing small dries, and personally i want to be sure they laid out on the cast. Not sure how that double taper would work on the larger wing resistant flies typically used in SW...

    I've gone to 15 foot leaders, and fluoro in some cases on flats, or fluoro on 9' leaders for picky fish with great eyesight like false albies, but they've all been pretty standard tapered construction, with butt midsection and tippet. Occasionally i'll add a short heavy section of mono at the end, but that would be for a bite tippet as opposed to presentation.

    Just my 2 cents... but I'd be very interested to hear your experience with them if you try it.


  3. #3

    Default Re: Tapered leader

    I've never heard of them either. I would think casting would not be very good, the leader would collapse wouldn't it?

  4. Default Re: Tapered leader

    Theory would suggest that the middle section of thicker nylon aids in turning over the fly.Yes I do believe it is more beneficial for dries then,but if you have a large resistant fly that struggles to turn over his might just be the answer.Will keep you posted if i try it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Central Florida

    Default Re: Tapered leader

    Hi corefly,

    I remember these leaders from years past. The purpose was to help turn over wind resistant flies. A. J. McClane was a fan of compound or Progressive tapers as he called them. I also remember that they were tapered like a fly line and not just the 60-40-60 configuration. I think it was more like 50-60-40. That is the butt was smaller diameter than the mid-section and the tip was smaller than the butt.

    To use these leaders you have to have the right dry fly line or you have to adjust the butt and taper according. Here are two formula that A.J. McClain recommended in his book, The Practical Fly Fisherman. That is the book that I learned how to fly fish from.

    Dry Fly Compound Taper

    6"- .016
    6"- .017

    Bass or Salt Water Compound Taper


    Keep in mind that these formulas are from 1953 and the leader material of that day was not as good or as uniform as it is today. I have not used them and present them just for information. Since I was writing this I dug out A.J.'s book and these formulas are quoted from his work.


  6. Default Re: Tapered leader

    I think that the bass/saltwater taper is the one that could work for me.Will give it a try.I usually fish a standard taper or sometimes a straight piece of 15lb mono for the catfish I target.The catfish in my area respond well to a fly that 'slaps' the water and a non tapered leader does that for me.There are times however that some visibly cruising fish are very skittish and a gentle presentation of a large to medium fly is required.I do get my desired result by adjusting my casting style,but any extra help in terms of leader design is always welcome.

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