Share Your Leader Formula;

Ard

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Operative word here is "your" if you tie leaders for specific applications please share them with others on this thread.

Below is my heavy duty leader for casting very large and heavy flies while using a floating line.

I use a level leader for almost all subsurface fishing. If the flies will have any weight at all and you develop a good solid stop on the cast the level leader turns over just fine. The only exception I've made in the past 20 years are leaders for casting very heavy Sculpin patterns using a 850 grain Mid Spey floating line. The line has the weight to carry the critters (the fly) but getting them to flip at the end of long casts took some experimenting.

Here's what I use, section lengths need to be determined in accordance with rod length.

Butt: 60 pound mono
next: 50 pound
next: 40 pound
next 30 pound Maxima mono
next: 25 pound Maxima
next: 20 pound Maxima
Tippet 15 pound

I'm sure there are an innumerable number of dry fly leader formulas that are favored by members so why not describe how you make the perfect leader.
 

Rip Tide

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For trout, I follow the formulas from the booklet that came with my first Orvis SuperStrong tie-kit 30 plus years ago.
In the salt most of the time it's a three part leader of 40, 25,16 (or 12) test of 8ft
Mostly 60/20/20 but 70/10/20 in a gale
Longer on the flats




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Daz

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In the salt I do mainly two and three piece leaders. My go to when sight fishing big snook (30"+) with top water flies is 5' of 60# and 5' of 40# mono. For baitfish patterns I use flourocarbon and scale down to 4'6" of 25# and 4'6" of 15#. In winter I'll sometimes drop down to 10#. My tarpon leaders start with 60# and graduate down to a 15# section and then a 40# bite tippet (all flouro). Overall my leaders are all between nine and 10 feet long and never drop below 10# anywhere in them with mono for top water and flouro for everything else... So far so good.
 
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trev

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No real formula, but a general purpose Chameleon leader for 5wt-9wt rods that can be field modified starts like;
2-5'-20# 0.017" (or 25# 0.020")
6"-18"-12# 0.013 (or 15# 0.015")
6"-18"-10# 0.012"
6"-18"-5# 0.008"
2"-4'- 5X or 6X Rio Powerflex

Bass leader is ~3'-7' of ~20# + ~3'-4' of 8#

eta; I usually put a new leader on every two years or so; the things get cut and spliced a lot, but the butt and transition sections can last a while.
 
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tcorfey

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I would have to write a short essay to cover all my variations based on rod in use, line type, fly size and environmental issues like clear or dirty water, the presence of coral or lava rock etc. I change leaders during the day if the one I have is not working the way I want or perhaps as I perceive it is not what the fish want. Other times I may use a furled or braided leader so it really depends.

I guess I could say in general:
In salt water or with single hand rods 8wt and up or Spey rods 6wt and up usually 50, 40, 30, 25, 20 then it gets murky need go as low as 10 but might stop at 17.
In fresh water and single hand rods from 2wt to 7wt and trout spey usually start at 25 or 20 and then work my way down may be as small as 2 to 3lb test in increments and lengths dependent on equipment and conditions.

Streamers and wet fly or nymph leaders are far simpler than dry fly leaders.

Just for a starting point a simple formula for a 14' dry fly leader may be 20lb-17-15-12-10-8-6-4. Lengths may start at 18" and work their way out to 3' so 18"-18-18-24-24-30-36. leave off the 36" of 4lb to get a 11' 6lb wet fly leader. Kinda like that...
 

VaFisherman

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4wt and down Dry Flies (typically #16 and smaller)
12'-6" length:
48" Maxima Clear 20# (.017), 24" Maxima Clear 15# (.015), 12" Maxima Clear 12# (.013), 8" Rio 0x, 8" Rio 2x and at this point I tie a tippet ring, connected to the tippet ring is 8" Rio 4x, then 42" of your tippet.

9'-0" Length:
36" Maxima Clear 20# (.017), 18" Maxima Clear 15# (.015), 9" Maxima Clear 12# (.013), 7" Rio 0X, 7" Rio 2x and at this point I tie a tippet ring, connected to the tippet ring 7" Rio 4x, then 24" tippet

5wt Dry Flies
12'-6" length
40" Maxima Clear 25# (.020), 20" Maxima Clear 20# (.017), 12" Maxima Clear 15# (.015), 12" Maxima 12# (.013), 8" Rio 0X, 8" Rio 2X, and at this point I tie a tippet ring, connect to the tippet ring 8" 4x (or 48" of 4x if using as tippet), then add 42"of tippet

9'-0"Length
36" Maxima Clear 25# (.020), 18" Maxima Clear 20# (.017), 9" Maxima 15# (.015), 7" Rio 0X, 7" Rio 2x, and at this point I tie a tippet ring, connect 7" 4x to tippet ring (32" of 4x if using as tippet), then add 24" of tippet

Note: I tie the tippet ring at the 2x transition to 4x so that I assure my weakest link/knots are below the tippet ring assuring the integrity of the leader
 

VaFisherman

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To expand on my previous post.

6 & 7 weight Trout (9'-0")
42" Maxima Clear 30# (.022), 22" Maxima Clear 20# (.017), 12" Maxima Clear 15# (.015), 12" Rio 0X, then tie tippet ring to the 0x, add 20" + tippet of 1x,2x,3x,4x as needed

7 thru 9wt Bass (9'-0")
48" Maxima Clear 40# (.024), 24" Maxima Clear 30# (.022), 12" Maxima Clear 20# (.017), then tie tippet ring to 20#, add 24" of Ox, 1x or 2x tippet as needed.
 

ifitswims

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I change my leader presentation to match what fish I am seeking and what bug I am needing to turnover. When the casting stroke is functional you will have no problem turning over your tippet/fly whether level leader or tapered. Knotted vs knotless again depends on conditions, mossy water equals NO knots, etc.

Big bushy dries with less spooky fish I am typically using 3x and larger with a level leader, quick, easy, anyone can do it, works very well. Fishing for San Juan intellisippers...I am tapered with 12’ plus and a long tippet.

When I fish a level leader I use a butt section and a loop and tie my leader/tippet with a double loop improved clinch. Super fast, super easy, super productive.

I am always considering my location, conditions and quarry. The spookier the fish, the longer the casts, the calmer the water are all important factors when considering your leader setup. If youre always fishing relatively similar waters, stay the same.
 
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Nonno

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I've started playing with George Harvey's recipes, but I haven't fished with them yet;
20" 15# Chameleon, 20" 12# Chameleon, 20" 10# Chameleon, 12" 6# Chameleon, 12" 3x soft tippet (or 4# Ultragreen), 18" 4x soft tippet, 22-30" 5x soft tippet.
Knots: Perfection loop, blood, blood, blood, blood, double surgeon, double surgeon. Hmmm, is that enough knots?
 

desmobob

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For trout, I follow the formulas from the booklet that came with my first Orvis SuperStrong tie-kit 30 plus years ago.
In the salt most of the time it's a three part leader of 40, 25,16 (or 12) test of 8ft
Mostly 60/20/20 but 70/10/20 in a gale
Longer on the flats
Pretty much the same here... I'm careful with my aged copy of that wonderful Orvis pamphlet of leader recipes and keep it in my old Maxima leader kit box with a nipper, bottle of Gehrke's knot lube and nail knot tool. For my Northeast saltwater fishing, I use a three-part, usually three feet per part, 40-30-20 or 40-30-12. Longer if necessary...
 
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Ryhags

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For streamers on my 5/6wt
2ft 20lbs
1ft 15lbs
1ft 10lbs
Found this reading books by Kelly Gallup. Also on a sink tip line.
 

electricstart

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I know its older post .I played with all the formulas and they all work but decided to just use the leader 4 x or 5x one nail knot to fly line then use tippet ring and save my money on tippet and use 2 foot of 4 or 6 LB fluorocarbon , Really don't like all the knots going from 30 LB down to 5 x tippet .I use tippet ring and uni knot don't lose leader to often . Trout fishing rivers and streams .
 

Wet dreams

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Saltt water leaders I usually use Ande, Mason Hard, Hatch or Rio Medium hard, Transition can be hard or Yozuri Hybrid, Maxima, or Berlely Big Game then Fluoro usually P-Line or Vanish (The Cheapest) or the Yozuri Hybrid for surface flies.

Tarpon 4' .035", 2' .029", 2' .026". 18" .022-024" 2" of 40-80 lb fluoro.
Redfish 4' .032", 2'.029", 2'.026", 18" .024" then 2" 20-25lb fluoro or just extend the previous section with fluoro
Bonefish 3; .026", 2' .024", 2' .20" 2' .018" 2' 16lb fluoro

Most leaders roughly conform to 60%,30%, 10% or 60,20,20 For sinking lines I usually go 30,30,30 and may all be fluoro for added sinking ability. Or a long butt then class then bite tippet.

I like big butts I can not tell a lie: 12 wt .035" (60-80lb.) 11 same, 10 wt .032 +/-60lb. 9 wt .030- 50lb, 8 wt .027 45-50lb, 7wt .025 - 40lb and so on, all of these can vary +/- .002" or so and I like hard to medium hard butt material. Diameter varies tremendiously for example Frog Hair 80lb is only .027" while Mason Hard at 80lb. is 0.045". The 45 lb Frog Hair is .019" about the same as most others 25lb mono..
 

LOC

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I’m fishing salt and most of my rigs are set up with a twisted leader in various lengths depending on the rod.

Currently most of my rods have a 12 # base fluoro twisted leader. Which means the 12# is doubled so the front of the leader section is 24# and the butt section ends up 48#. I then tie in a applicable tippet section.

On my 5wt Short Spey I have a twisted leader 24#to 48# with a 12 # tippet attached to it that I’ll fish with tomorrow.


twisted leaders0009.jpg
 

cslyngstad

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4wt and down Dry Flies (typically #16 and smaller)
12'-6" length:
48" Maxima Clear 20# (.017), 24" Maxima Clear 15# (.015), 12" Maxima Clear 12# (.013), 8" Rio 0x, 8" Rio 2x and at this point I tie a tippet ring, connected to the tippet ring is 8" Rio 4x, then 42" of your tippet.

9'-0" Length:
36" Maxima Clear 20# (.017), 18" Maxima Clear 15# (.015), 9" Maxima Clear 12# (.013), 7" Rio 0X, 7" Rio 2x and at this point I tie a tippet ring, connected to the tippet ring 7" Rio 4x, then 24" tippet

5wt Dry Flies
12'-6" length
40" Maxima Clear 25# (.020), 20" Maxima Clear 20# (.017), 12" Maxima Clear 15# (.015), 12" Maxima 12# (.013), 8" Rio 0X, 8" Rio 2X, and at this point I tie a tippet ring, connect to the tippet ring 8" 4x (or 48" of 4x if using as tippet), then add 42"of tippet

9'-0"Length
36" Maxima Clear 25# (.020), 18" Maxima Clear 20# (.017), 9" Maxima 15# (.015), 7" Rio 0X, 7" Rio 2x, and at this point I tie a tippet ring, connect 7" 4x to tippet ring (32" of 4x if using as tippet), then add 24" of tippet

Note: I tie the tippet ring at the 2x transition to 4x so that I assure my weakest link/knots are below the tippet ring assuring the integrity of the leader
Any benefit of Clear over Chameleon? Or does it really matter?
 

trev

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Any benefit of Clear over Chameleon? Or does it really matter?
Relative to each other Maxima has said that Chameleon is the stiffest and most abrasion resistant, followed by Clear and that Ultragreen is limper and less abrasion resistant than Clear. However they did not specify how much stiffer, so for our purpose the difference between Chameleon and Clear may not matter. For myself the difference between Chameleon and Ultragreen is significant; I use Chameleon for all fly leaders and Ultragreen for spinning line.
 

karstopo

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Texas inshore saltwater floating/intermediate tip line 6-8 weights:
~5-6’ of 30-40# fluorocarbon leader material, pick your brand
~2-3’ of 20-30# fluorocarbon leader material, pick your brand
~3-4’ of 15# tippet, fluorocarbon leader material, pick your brand
Most newly tied leaders end up being 10-14 feet, give or take. They are never more than ~15’ , never allowed to fall to less than ~8’
More lengthy leaders, 12-15’, used for fishing slightly deeper water or water with a lot of current.
Less lengthy leaders, 9-12’, for more precise control during situations with tight tolerances, small target sight fishing. Measurements are eyeball estimates.

Perfection loop/welded loop
Blood knotted sections
Rapala loop, tippet to fly.
UV cure on blood knots to smooth over tag ends if grass an issue.

I carry a few spools of leader material with me for on the water adjustments/repairs as necessary.

Flies mostly range from size 6 to 1/0 hooks. Most on size 2 and four hooks. Small dumbbells to unweighted. Mostly negatively to almost neutrally buoyant flies.

Definitely not rocket science levels of precision on lengths necessary. Shorter, more butt heavy leaders work better for bulkier patterns or in difficult wind conditions. Longer, less butt, heavy leaders offer better potential drifts and presentations in slightly deeper water or water with current, generally water 1.5-5’ deep. Most of the fly fishing is being done in water a few inches to about 4 or 5 feet of water or to surface/shallow suspended feeding fish in deeper water.

If the leader after a few casts proves to be too long and limp to work well or be controllable enough with the particular fly or conditions, I shorten it. Almost never happens like that though when out on the water. Generally, after a few casts, I get a feel for the particular leader.
 

VaFisherman

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Any benefit of Clear over Chameleon? Or does it really matter?
I have never used Chameleon but my understanding is that it and the clear are very similar in their stiffness and the stiffness of the butt material is what is important. Clear is what I got my hands on years ago and have just stayed with it. I do know that the steelheaders in Michigan swear by the Chameleon but the water there has a brown tint to it.
 

guido

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For pike:
With a type 6 or 8 sinking line, I use 24" or 40lb fluorocarbon and a 12" 30lb Rio powerflex wire bite tippet. With an intermediate or floater, I use a Feather craft fluorocarbon or mono furled "Bullwhip" 72" butt and a 20" 30lb Rio powerflex wire bite tippet. I use a Mustad Fastach clip in all but the clearest conditions.
For bass I substitute 1x to 20lb fluorocarbon bite tippet.

For trout
Sinkers get 3' furled butts with 12" 3x to 1x fluorocarbon tippet.
Floater or Intermediate 9' furled butts with 36" 5x to 3x fluorocarbon tippet
Midge fishing
Floater 4' furled butt with up to 72" 10lbPowerPro section (with a strike indicator), 12-24" 7x to 5x fluorocarbon tippet
 
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