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Thread: Fly line leaders

  1. Default Fly line leaders

    I have been using 4wt weight forward line for awhile now. I'm one of those guys that has learned enough about fly fishing to think I know what I'm talking about. I've recently discovered that its very important to have the right X factor of leader and tippet to present flies properly. I usually have tied 4X-9ft leaders with 2-3 ft tippets in 5X. If when using smaller flies in the say 16-20 range, and I go to 6X or 7X tippets, am I still safe to have that 4X leader on or should I change to 5X leader. I understand the transfer of energy to the fly. Don't tie 3X tippet to say 5X leaders. Whats the rule. Sometimes my fly will only go about 6 ft past the end of the fly line and die no matter hw hard or soft I cast.
    P.S. I have a headache! Will appreciate any advice!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Re: Fly line leaders

    Deerslayer, welcome to the forum. Good question- tippets and leaders can be really confusing.

    There are a couple things to consider- think of them as "guidelines" as opposed to hard and fast "rules".

    The larger, heavier or more wind resistant the fly, the heavier the tippet. Smaller sized flies should have thinner tippet. A good starting point as a guideline is to take the hook size of the fly, divided by 3 to find the X size tippet to use. So a size 12 fly would get a 4X tippet, a size 14 would get a 5X, a size 18 = 6X and a size 20 would get a 7X tippet.

    The other thing to think about is how the leader transfers energy to the tippet and the fly when it lays out on the cast. A good rule of them is to go the same size or lighter in tippet within 2 "X sizes" of the front end of the leader. So with a 9' leader tapered to 4X, you can add a 2-3' section of 4X, 5X or 6X. If you were using really small flies, say size 20 or so and wanted to use 7X, I'd put a short length, say 6-8", of 5X or 6X in between the 4X leader and the 7X tippet. This will help transfer energy from the heavier leader to the lighter tippet to layout the fly at the end of your cast. Without it, the fly might have a tendency to collapse with a bunch of tippet at the end of the leader instead of rolling out.

    Hope this helps a bit.


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