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Thread: Bass leaders

  1. #1

    Default Bass leaders

    I live on a lake and just getting back into the fly, what lengths leader for throwing big poppers, they are harder to cast than my smaller carp flies. Could it be my 9 leader? Any suggestions, I been fishing the pre made tapered SA and rio types in like a 10-12 pound, thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Bass leaders

    I use ~7’ leaders for wind resistant deer hair creations. I tie my own leaders. Try one with a ~4’ stiff butt and a ~1.5’ short mid section and ~1.5’ tippet.

    A shorter leader with a stiff butt is the main thing.
    Wherever you go, there you are.

  3. Default Re: Bass leaders

    Short and stout. I've even used 20lb mono then just stepped it down a couple times (down to maybe 10lb at the end, I throw my bass streamers/flies with an 8wt most of the time). You don't need anything super fancy, as long as you can get it out there. Most of the time while bass fishing my leader stays to maybe 6ft long. Now I use cutthroat furled leaders, I think I use the big bug style ones. Expensive but they have lasted me a long time and do cast well.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Bass leaders

    I use about an 8' leader from cheap mono. 20# to 15# with a tippet ring to 12 or 10# tippet. Nuthin' fancy.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Bass leaders

    Like thes folks, i dont get too scientific when it comes to leaders for bass, bluegill or saltwater for that mattter.

    The fanciest i have gotten is hand tied 6-8 ft. Start with around 30lb and step down in a couple of increments to 10 or 12lb. I may tie a short foot or so section of tippet if i want something lighter.

    Once when on the river in my kayak, my leader broke and i didnt have anything to tie another - poor planning. I threaded what was left through a small popper and used an overhand knot in the end to keep th fly from sliding off.

    It wasnt the most elegant rig, but i still got to fish and managed a few hook ups.

    I usually use a 5wt since i get as many or more bluegill as bass. Just pick smaller bugs. I have used an 8wt as well.

    Last time out I tried a diy furled leader. Jury is still out on that one.

    Sent from an unnamed device running an undisclosed OS via a third party application.

  6. Default Re: Bass leaders

    I just use the 7.5 foot, knotless tapered "Bass" leaders 8, 10, and 12lb test.

    For the big bugs and in water with heavy cover (weeds/brush/wood) I use an Orvis 16lb. leader, 7.5 and shorter as I tie on new flies.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Bass leaders

    There's no magic number when it comes to leader length or tippet sizing. It all depends on various factors what may work the best, and for most fishing, one leader & tippet combination will probably handle a range of fly sizes, for the same rod & line, unless the flies are extreme on the large size. Your question can really only be answered by you, and by you making adjustments to fit the flies you're using. Sometimes it can be as simple as shortening your tippet, or increasing the tippet size. Some times you'll need a completely different leader & tippet combination.

    Generally, as you go larger or heavier with flies, you'll want to go shorter & heavier with the leader & tippet. That means for example, if you go from a size 10 wet fly to a size 2 popper, the leader & tippet may have to be heavier and shorter to enable casting the bigger fly. How short or how heavy will depend on the fly, and the adjustment doesn't always have to be a completely new set up.

    There can always be good reasons to use longer leaders, but there can also be good reason to use shorter too. Lefty Kreh once said to a group I was in, talking about leaders, that fish are spooked by line slap on the water, and sometimes shadows from the line above the water. To limit both, a longer leader may be necessary, which places the fly further away from the line. But, that doesn't often happen with bass fishing, his remarks were directed more towards stream fishing for trout. There was a lot more to it, but not necessary to go into it here. He also said, get a 7 1/2 ' tapered leader and cut off about 15" to 18" of the tippet end, tie a loop, and add back whatever you need as tippet to adjust for the fly. I did that for a long time and that length leader worked fine for a lot of fishing I did then. That can work for most any rod weight, but the leader also have to fit the rod/line you're using, so for example, the same leader you may use on a 5 wt, is not going to work well on an 8 weight. The 8 weight leader will likely need to be heavier, unless the flies used are no different than those used with the 5 weight. Go bigger, or heavier, then the 8 weight needs a leader to match.

    Eventually, I progressed towards bigger flies and heavier weight rods, so had to make adjustments to what I was doing. I found thru a lot of reading and much trial and error, what I just mentioned. Plus, the general rule that bigger or heavier flies require heavier and shorter leaders & tippets.

    You didn't mention what weight rod/line you're using. If they're sufficient, the next step would be to adjust the leader & tippet. If the rod/line is too light, then you're going to have problems casting some larger flies, especially poppers that may be heavy and air resistant.


    From what you've said, you're going from smaller carp flies to bigger poppers, with the same leader & tippet. You should try shortening up the tippet first and see how that casts. If that doesn't work well, then consider a heavier leader.

    The leader butt should match the end on the fly line close in diameter and the heavier the line, the more important that can be for casting big or heavy flies.

    I use line material to make leaders starting with 50 lb test butt sections, which is .028" diameter and that's what I use on my 8 to 10 wt rods. On my 6 wt, and sometimes on 8 wt's, I use 40 lb test butt sections, which is .026" diameter.

    As long as the butt section has appropriate diameter and the material sufficient stiffness, it should work well for most flies.

    I generally make my leaders, with tippet about the length of my rod, so in the 8' to 9' length range, but then I adjust for the actual flies being used. I will use leaders from about 4' long & up, depending on the line ( sinking or floating) and the flies I want to cast.

    This has worked well for me for casting big flies. It's not something I may do if fishing lighter gear for trout or panfish, but the same "theory" applies anytime the fly size is increased.

    Again, there's no magic number, and leaders and tippet may need to be adjusted and only you can figure out what you need based on the flies you're using, but what's been posted here in this thread should give you a good idea where to start and what to try.
    Remember, no one likes to be behind the big truck, but that's better than being under it!

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