Making my own leader questions

Frank Magillicutty

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Good morning all.

newbie to fly fishing, and I am addicted. I would like to make my own leaders, as I love the knot tying and the do it yourself mentality

Question is what type of line do I use to make my own leaders? Is it standard mono fishing line of varying weights and diameters? Or do I use some special line only for fly fishing? I’ve seen various formulas and charts, but they never explain what type of material. If it’s simply fishing line, that’s great, it does it have to be some special line specifically for fly fishing?

Best

F
 

gillage

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I'm fishing panfish and make my own leaders.
I use mono of different lb test to build a leader.
I also use fluoro the same way to build leaders.
Mono floats, and fluoro doesn't.
So if I am fishing a popper or foam bug the mono can be helpful.
If I am fishing subsurface, the fluoro can be helpful.
I would have no problem using mono for both types of fishing.
Welcome to the Forums,
Tight Lines
 

trev

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Yes.

You can use any line. However some types of material work better than others. Maxima Chameleon is my choice of nylon for all the butt and taper sections, with Rio Powerflex for tippet. Chameleon is made as spinning line and available in bulk rolls but also available in leader spools and leader kits- all the same material. There are other spinning lines that will work fine in the larger sizes and I have used Ande, Trilene and Stren, but most spinning line is not available in all diameters and mixing brands leads to sections being stiffer or limper that the section above or below and poor leader function.
Umpqua also makes a leader kit that should work well.
As does Mason, a harder, stiffer material and once the standard.
Maxima puts out a kit in their "Clear" and their "Ultragreen" -I don't like nor recommend the Ultragreen for butts nor taper, it is useful as tippet but inferior to Rio or Umpqua imo.

So if i go to the regular fishing line section in any big box store, that’s the type of line I use? Or do I need some specific type fly line?
NO.
you would be fine for a level leader or a simple two step leader but you won't find enough diameters of one brand to build a good tapered leader.

Remember that fluorocarbon is also "mono", use nylon, stiffer, harder finished nylon for butt and taper and limper nylon at the tippet. (even the stiffer nylons will be limp enough in tippet sizes, but they won't have the test strength that tippet specific nylons have.)
 
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trev

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@Frank Magillicutty just a quick site search, hope there's some good stuff there for you, Whole books have been writen on leaders and there are hundreds of "best leader formulas". I started fly fishing before store bought leaders were a thing and have been tying my own for almost fifty years, so have some opinions.
 

silver creek

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Since I contributed to the threads that Trev posted, here's my take on making you own leaders.

A leader has 3 parts - the butt, the transition (tapering section) and the tippet

It used to be that extruded leaders were made of a uniform Nylon compound for the butt, transition, and tippet. However, the each part has markedly different requirements. For example, the butt should match the end of the fly line in diameter and stiffness while the tippet must be floppy and limber.

So hand made or "home made" leaders made with nylon mono that match the requirements of the 3 leader sections out performed manufactured extruded leaders.

However, modern extrusion processes allow for varying the nylon formula and modern extruded leaders function very well. I used to make my own leaders and I still have the materials to do so, but I use manufactured leaders unless I need a very special leader for a unique situation.

I guess I'm the opposite side of the coin to Trev.
 

trev

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I found one brand of extruded leaders that I liked very much, had Whitlock's name on them, but then the manufacturer (who I don't recall) either changed the name or quit making them. I also found several extruded leaders that I didn't like much at all. I think the various brands vary so much that simply buying an unfamiliar brand of extrusion is a wild gamble, a recommendation of a specific brand and model? 7'-5X? I'll likely try extrusions again some day, it's probably been three years since the last time I hated them, but the supply of Chameleon I have on hand will probably out last me.
 

tcorfey

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So if i go to the regular fishing line section in any big box store, that’s the type of line I use? Or do I need some specific type fly line?
While you can use regular fishing line the spools of tippet material are more uniform in their diameter and that is what you want when building a tapered leader. A good way to start is to buy a leader kit. The most popular is the kit from Maxima but there are others from Frog hair, Orvis, Cabelas, Umpqua, etc... After getting experience in what works for you then you can branch out.

At least that is my reccomendation.
 

jayr

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I used to, many years ago, buy those pre made tapered leaders. I never was really happy with them when I fully understand what a leader is meant to do plus getting the coils out of them, etc.

I then started "rolling" my own with Maxima Chameleon. I also but a Dennison blood knot tool which really makes tying those blood knots a lot easier (at least for me and my fat fingers). There are many different formulas to use or at least try and then you can modify as necessary for your conditions.
 

new2flyfishing

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I didn't view trev's links....shame on me....but I recently watched a video from Mad River Outfitters with Brian Flechsig and featuring Flip Pallot about building leaders. Flip's method made a lot of sense.

 
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