Leader Taper 7.5 vs 9 vs 12ft

Frank Whiton

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Hi Matt,

I have always felt that if you fly fish you should understand leaders and have a leader gauge in your vest. With a leader gauge you can measure the leader any where along its length. So you will know how long and what are the diameters of the butt, middle or tippet. You have to be careful not to get too long of a middle section or it won't turn over properly. I found it fun to experiment with leader tapers and find what works the best for me.

You can buy leader kits that will give you all the different diameters of leader material you might need. I liked to use knotless tapered leaders and modify them. That approach only required a few different diameters of material. Here is an example of a leader tying kit. Not saying it is the one to buy, just an example.

Here is the best Leader Gauge I know of. There are leader micrometers but I found them harder to use than the gauge.

Frank
 

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trev

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best Leader Gauge I know of
Isn't that the only header/tippet gauge still available?
I have a Mike Rite on my bench for pre-tying leaders, but, I much prefer my Orvis V gauge for streamside work but they haven't been cataloged in years/decades. Fishpond had one but I don't think it is still available.

Thoughts'
no body fishes with a knotless leader very long, after a few fly changes the tippet is too short and you will add on or change leaders.

No leader is right for every fly so if you switch from wet to dry you really need to modify that taper.

Even Ritz didn't use the mythical 60-20-20 formula in his ''normal'' leaders, his recipe for a 9'2'' to 3X= 3'7'' of .018" (butt=39%), plus 2'5''-.016", 6''-.014", 6''-.012", 6''-.010 (taper/mid =42%), plus 1'8''- .008 (tippet =18%); his recipes for "Super Precision" use about 60% butt and 21% taper.
It is notable too that he never allows longer than 20'' (18%) as tippet and his butts are always .018'' as compared to .021" on the extruded leaders I measured. I think comparing commercial extruded leaders to any hand tied leader is meaningless. Ritz liked to use "figures of speech" like his "Parabolic Taper" fly rod design which he eventually says is just a figure of speech and the taper has nothing to do with a parable.

Every extruded leader that I have used was too still in the butt section unless cut back. Most were also too soft in the mid sections, or the transition from hard to soft was unpredictable from leader to leader.

There once was a school of thought that the knots themselves created tiny stiff places that assisted in leader turnover, I don't recall now who wrote that pamphlet.

The only logical reason in my mind for using extruded leaders is inability to tie knots. I tried them and threw a few away and years later, after reading how much they were unproved did it again. Given a choice today between any extruded tapered leader and a level piece of Stren I would chose the Stren every time.
 

osseous

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There are many reasons to choose an extruded leader- for specific conditions. They tangle less, are easier to untangle when they do. Don't pick up weeds when bass fishing. They allow easier and seamless (knotless!) adjustment of an indicator while nymphing. On stillwater, a "slip" indicator will actually break loose and slide up the leader- allowing you to land the fish.

I probably carry 20 different leaders in my wallet- maybe more. I build some, buy some and fish them all.

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
 

VaFisherman

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I still have a "TipTech" V-type leader/tippet gauge. I had a set of two, the 4X and larger that I still have and one that was 0X to 8X, if I remember correctly. I lost the 0X to 8X one but still have the larger 4X and above. They were made of what appears to be stainless steel a little smaller than a matchbook with a V cut into it and a "sticker", for lack of a better term, had the increments on it. Unfortunately the 0X to 8X one I had was very inaccurate due the fact the "sticker' was not placed correctly.

I think TipTech has been out of business many years.
 

sweetandsalt

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There are many reasons to choose an extruded leader- for specific conditions. They tangle less, are easier to untangle when they do. Don't pick up weeds when bass fishing. They allow easier and seamless (knotless!) adjustment of an indicator while nymphing. On stillwater, a "slip" indicator will actually break loose and slide up the leader- allowing you to land the fish.

I probably carry 20 different leaders in my wallet- maybe more. I build some, buy some and fish them all.
This actually does make sense for a multi-technique angler/guide. I should always qualify my remarks on tackle, from rod to line to leader selection, that I am not seeking versatility but single, visible fly only. If I am unable to feed a trout a floating fly, he is safe from being disturbed by me. A couple of times a year in high water I'll throw streamers and then a short, stout knotless leader would be fine. And all knotless leaders for #'s 4 - 6 lines should have a butt diameter of .021".
 
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