Leader weight and lenth depends on the type of fly you are casting....A banger will not turn over well with a long thin leader, but on a 4' lenth of 20....no problemo!
My general rule of thumb: As short as can be to make the fish eat, and as thick as needed to turn the fly over...
But there really is no right or wrong answer.
Pre made tapered leaders are nice as well. I use the Rio 7'and 9' 30 to 12lb, 40 to 16lb and 40 to 20lb pre made tapered knotless leaders, as well as 20lb mono...but beware of one thing! Use SeaGar Fouro! I had the worst run of breaking leaders when using Rio flourocarbon from a spool.
[ 01-26-2004, 06:10 PM: Message edited by: Frank Mihalic ]
Interesting about the turn over. I have always used light leaders. Heaviest I have used all year was 12lb test. Found it strong enought for the fish, but I mainly boat fish and don't have to worry about rocks etc. I always thought the lighter the line the better the action of the fly.
Do you think I am missing the boat on the turn over?
The transfer of energy from your rod, through the line AND LEADER must actually PUNCH the fly in order to turn it over. If the leader puddles at the end of a cast , you loose that lenth from an effective retreive....
Think of a leader as a shock absorbing rubber band. The longer and thinner it is, the less a transfer of energy will take place = NO PUNCH!
We all like a fly to turn over at the end of a cast. A straight line, and a fly that is ready to catch is the idea, a hook in the fishes lip is the result .
Experiement with leader lenth and strenth to find what will work best for you, your tackle, and your flys!
As usual, Frank is right on. I used to use about 8' of 10# flouro as a leader. I had trouble getting the fly to roll over and present itself nicely in the water. I shortened it down to 5' of 17# and the problem was solved. I don't normally like to fish with line that heavy, so now I use 2' to 3' of 30# mono to about 2' of 17-20# mono to about 1' to 18" of 8#-12# flouro. The leader is a pain to tie up, but seems to roll most 4" flies over easily and it's thin enough that I have confidence that the fish can't see it. Does anyone else get this complicated with their leaders?
No, not realy! Normally some 20lb SeaGuar Flouro does just fine! Even mono works just as well. Lenth and test make the system work.
I do preferr tapered leaders when fishing small topwater crease flys and surface sliders...I don't tie them anymore....They just are no fun!
I'll give you a tip though...
When your casting gets pretty good so that you don't get many tailing loops, give this a try.
Get a 9' tapered leader, say 40 to 16lb. Nail knot it to your fly line, and tie a small bimini twit in the end of your new tapered leader. Your leader will be about a foot shorter than before. Surgeons loop a piece of tippet and attatch to your leader...
You now have a replaceable tippett, and a more permanenet leader.