The Final 15ft (Demystifying the saltwater leader)

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Hi All,

I wrote a blog a few weeks back on saltwater leaders for flats fishing. Hopefully this may prove interesting and helpful for a few of you. Check it out here;


All the best,

Will
 
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yellowdog

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Good article and worth a read. Question about the build formula and Lefty's 50% formula. I have seen that other well known guides, Bruce Chard for one, use an equal length formula. ie. for a 10' leader you would tie 5 x 2' sections of gradually less diameter leader. The Yellowstone Angler is another. They sell hand tied flats leaders and a 12' leader is 6 sections that are not exactly equal but closer than the 50% formula. Have you tried both ways and decided that the 50% formula works better than equal+- sections?
 

okaloosa

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The best guide i ever fished with uses 3 feet of straight 20 lb for bones and 6 ft of straight 80 to 100 lb for big tarpon. I caught more tarpon with him than any other guide. When it comes to presenting a #24 dry fly leader formulation is so critical. When it comes to big flies and big saltwater fish perhaps we over think things. Nonetheless i enjoyed the well written and practical article and also have been revisiting the nail knot.
 

yellowdog

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The best guide i ever fished with uses 3 feet of straight 20 lb for bones and 6 ft of straight 80 to 100 lb for big tarpon. I caught more tarpon with him than any other guide. When it comes to presenting a #24 dry fly leader formulation is so critical. When it comes to big flies and big saltwater fish perhaps we over think things. Nonetheless i enjoyed the well written and practical article and also have been revisiting the nail knot.
"3 feet of straight 20" - not sure I understand. He uses a 3' leader for Bones?
 

okaloosa

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"3 feet of straight 20" - not sure I understand. He uses a 3' leader for Bones?
Yes. 3 feet of 20 lb. He said he almost always puts clients on big mudding bones. He said most clients dont turn over long leaders good enough to put the fly on the nose of a mudding bone which arent that spooky to begin with.
 

dynaflow

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You'll agree that's a really specialist application,as a leader that's simply a yard of 20lb.will frighten every Bonefish off a flat in normal circumstances,and while IMHO the OP's five section leader is overkill for Bonefish,it's probably necessary for the enigmatic Permit.I've never had an issue with either 9 or 10' factory Knotless Tapered Leaders in fifteen years of Bonefishing,and while I could make my own leaders I've found they can not only pick up detritus but the knots can cause fish to shy from the knots.
 

denver1911

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I’ve found that a yard of hard mono, similar in size to the leaders butt, makes the 9’ tapered leaders better for permit.
 

okaloosa

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You'll agree that's a really specialist application,as a leader that's simply a yard of 20lb.will frighten every Bonefish off a flat in normal circumstances,and while IMHO the OP's five section leader is overkill for Bonefish,it's probably necessary for the enigmatic Permit.I've never had an issue with either 9 or 10' factory Knotless Tapered Leaders in fifteen years of Bonefishing,and while I could make my own leaders I've found they can not only pick up detritus but the knots can cause fish to shy from the knots.
I do agree....the point my guide was making is that most clients simply cannot handle a 15 ft leader and put the fly on the nose of a mudding
bonefish. There are so many trout fisherman from the north who fish the flats one or two days per year and can't double haul properly, do not practice with 8-12 wt rods, and do not have the muscle memory to strip set when necessary or clear the line quickly enough. It drives guides nuts.
 

yellowdog

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The best guide i ever fished with uses 3 feet of straight 20 lb for bones and 6 ft of straight 80 to 100 lb for big tarpon. I caught more tarpon with him than any other guide. When it comes to presenting a #24 dry fly leader formulation is so critical. When it comes to big flies and big saltwater fish perhaps we over think things. Nonetheless i enjoyed the well written and practical article and also have been revisiting the nail knot.
Who is the best guide if you don't mind sharing?
 

okaloosa

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Who is the best guide if you don't mind sharing?
The best guide I have ever used was Capt Doug Lillard out of Miami.
The absolute worst guide was out of Tampa but I forgot his name. He was chubby
and quit his job as a mechanical engineer to become a guide...probably about 50 years old now.
 

desmobob

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Good stuff. The video on the linked page provides one answer to a question I had regarding nail knots pulling the coating off the fly line and the connection failing. They say just one half-hitch in the fly line prevents it. If it works on tarpon, I would imagine it's solid information. Interesting! Thanks...
 

karstopo

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I like and build the longer 12-15’ leaders much like the article describes, as long as I can control. I do sometimes fish shorter leaders, maybe 8 feet would be the shortest for anything up shallow in the saltwater and only because I’ve gotten lazy or forgot to bring along any leader or tippet material. I too dislike the extruded knotless leaders like the author of the article talks about. I can’t imagine fishing 3’ fly fishing leaders on floating line for anything up shallow, not saying it cannot work though.

But, the article was interesting and my experience mirrors the points about the reality of the casts at fish and distances he describes. I too like to have distance between the fly line and the fly and longer leaders are a nice convenient way to accomplish that end. Never felt there was any wrong with welded loop to perfection loop connections so I haven’t changed that.

Interesting to read the various response too and all the ways people do things.
 

fatbillybob

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The best guide i ever fished with uses 3 feet of straight 20 lb for bones and 6 ft of straight 80 to 100 lb for big tarpon. I caught more tarpon with him than any other guide. When it comes to presenting a #24 dry fly leader formulation is so critical. When it comes to big flies and big saltwater fish perhaps we over think things. Nonetheless i enjoyed the well written and practical article and also have been revisiting the nail knot.
I have a guide uses straight mono with loops at ends and droppers in middle and catches fish. Very unsofisticated but simple and works.
 

okaloosa

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That's a guide I'd avoid.
The best guided fishing trip of my life was with him. I have talked about it before. We started 6 pm for a 6 hr night tarpon trip. We got back at the dock noon the next day. Do the math. 18 hrs he guided me for the cost of an 6 hr trip. 2 tarpon over 120 lbs, about 8 between 20 and 60lbs, and a 5 lb bonefish as icing on the cake when he asked if i ever caught a bonefish and i said no. I fished with him 3 more times but no more marathon trips. We just hit it off the first trip and time just flew. I had not spoken to him in 6 years and 6 months ago after writing about this on our forum here i thought maybe i should have tipped him more and asked him for his PayPal address so i could send him some money. He refused. In fact he said he fishes in Idaho and we should meet up.and fish one day. Sometimes the unconventional guides who think outside the box are the best.
 

fatbillybob

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Yes. 3 feet of 20 lb. He said he almost always puts clients on big mudding bones. He said most clients dont turn over long leaders good enough
I fish a lot of guides all over the Country for whatever swims in their local water. The best guides I have had were the ones who not only put me on fish but also quickly identified my short comings and worked around them. The truly stellar ones showed me what I was doing wrong yet gained me some confidence with work around then spent the time to teach me as much as they could their way in the time alotted. The key to all was presentation. One rod might be faster or slower and casting a single handed line is about all the same. But the leader is critical to the customer's ability to deliver fly to fish especially when fishing multipe flys and varying weight of those flys. Those stellar guides I always remember and look forward to fishing them again.
 

dynaflow

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Thanks okaloosa,that was certainly a guided trip to remember (y) Interestingly,on his site Capt.Doug Lillard said "Biscayne Bay holds the biggest Bonefish found anywhere.The average Bonefish can get up to 6 to 9 lbs.The older and wiser ones reach 10 to 12 lbs." With respect,that's a big statement as there's plenty of very big Bonefish elsewhere on this earth,like Aitutaki,the islands of the western Pacific,the Seychelles and the north west coast of Australia.
 

okaloosa

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Thanks okaloosa,that was certainly a guided trip to remember (y) Interestingly,on his site Capt.Doug Lillard said "Biscayne Bay holds the biggest Bonefish found anywhere.The average Bonefish can get up to 6 to 9 lbs.The older and wiser ones reach 10 to 12 lbs." With respect,that's a big statement as there's plenty of very big Bonefish elsewhere on this earth,like Aitutaki,the islands of the western Pacific,the Seychelles and the north west coast of Australia.
I dont really fish for bones since they inhabit the same waters at the same time as tarpon and nothing in the salt beats a tarpon for me.
Fishing Biscayne Bay was fun but I am sure the pristine Seychelles must be like heaven with those big bones....but alas, too much money, too much time in the air, and too far from home for me. I can only dream;) Your part of the world is probably what ours was like 80 years ago before too many people and too many boats....
 

dynaflow

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It's true.In the tropical north of Australia the salt water fly fishing is mind blowing and most places are simply unfished,but there's little wading due to the company of the biggest Crocodiles anywhere.....then there's the Sharks o_O
 
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