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Tying your own leaders - one problem

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Galah
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Tying your own leaders - one problem

#1

Post by Galah » Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:13 am

Hej guys,

I've always enjoyed tying my own leaders. I like to "do it yourself" as much as I can with fly-fishing as opposed to purchasing pre-fabricated parts (same goes for fly-tying, I avoid all the pre-made wiggle-tails, custom-fish-heads, etc.). Anyway...

In the leader recipe guides I've read online and in books, it recommends that the butt section approximate the stiffness of the fly-line and be around 60-70% the thickness. I test that the stiffness of the leader-butt approximates the stiffness of the fly-line by folding over both of them to make a small loop (both the same size loops) and then pressing down on the top of the loop with my finger to measure the stiffness by the pressure.

Problem is that any line that I find that approximate's the stiffness of the fly-line is so light that it's below (in my estimation) 50% of the thickness of the line. So I can't have a butt section that both approximates the stiffness and the diameter of the fly-line.

I'm supposing that it's the stiffness that counts far more than than the diameter of the line. Still, I usually compromise by using a butt section that is a little stiffer than the fly-line but closer to 60% the diameter.

For whatever it matters, I usually go for a long butt section, with progressively shorter tapered sections. Like 60% butt, 20% taper #1, 10% taper-2, 10% tippet for wet flies. For dry flies I'll use a longer tippet.

Thoughts, suggestions, advice?

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Paul Arden
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Tying your own leaders - one problem

#2

Post by Paul Arden » Wed Aug 02, 2017 1:39 pm

Hi Vic,

Yes I think stiffness is the key ingredient here. However both fly lines and mono come in different stiffnesses.

I also use a longer final tippet for dries and often use this to create slack. In fact I live a longer final tippet for all my fishing.

For trout fishing I really like a 9ft tapered leader for the butt section. Mostly I use leaders with a total length around 20ft.

Here in the jungle I have all sorts of different leaders going on :) It's been and continues to be quite fasinating. It will be interesting to start working on some competition leaders and I stand to learn a lot.

Have you tried furled leaders? I was shown a really interesting furled leader set up in Indonesia this year from a Singaporean. It's something I have rigged up on one of my rods. If there is interest I'll ask the guy who showed me the system to write an FP/article for us.

Cheers, Paul
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Galah
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Tying your own leaders - one problem

#3

Post by Galah » Tue Aug 08, 2017 7:57 am

You have nine feet of butt and taper and then 11 feet of tip section? :O

That brings up another question. When people say, "a nine foot leader", I have always assumed they mean the total length of the mono/fluro from the fly-line to the fly. Including the tippet. But you said you use a "9 foot leader as the butt section"...?

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Paul Arden
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Tying your own leaders - one problem

#4

Post by Paul Arden » Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:20 am

Yes something like RIO Trout, tapered to a 10lb point. Then a small ring and add the rest of the leader from there. If it's one fly - say a small nymph - then I will taper down, 6, 4, 2lb whatever, and the very final section is longer. With a single fly like this I'm usually around 18ft.

With three flies on stillwaters it will mostly be around 22ft, and the flies will work to turn the presentation. i.e. the flies make the taper.

I use shorter leaders here in Malaysia while Popper fishing etc.

Cheers, Paul
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Mangrove Cuckoo
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Tying your own leaders - one problem

#5

Post by Mangrove Cuckoo » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:41 am

Galah

I believe the 60% factor is based mostly on relative mass. Floating flylines are less dense than water so they float but mono is denser. The relative difference is about 65%. So you are looking to join sections of similar mass for a smooth transition of energy into the leader.

I have found that some common monofilament nylons work well. Avoid those advertised as super limp or hard. Here in the US we have Ande, Stren, and Berkley XT that have worked for me.

With those I just multiply the line weight by 5 and choose the mono closest to or slightly heavier than that number for the butt.

So for an 8 wt I use 40# mono... 8 X 5=40. It works for me!
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crunch
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Tying your own leaders - one problem

#6

Post by crunch » Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:24 pm

Soft leader which is bit lighter than the line tip and then gradually lightens behaves better than stiff and light leader. Think how line loop would behave if leader does not bend at all. Thick Nylon softens to nice casting leader when boiled in water which has some vinegar.

Esa

Subtropicalspey
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Tying your own leaders - one problem

#7

Post by Subtropicalspey » Fri Aug 11, 2017 9:01 am

I agree with crunch that boiling nylon leaders can be beneficial. If you are tying your own leaders and the nylon comes off the spool very coiled up, boiling for even a few seconds can tame the coils and make it easier to tie blood knots between sections of leader.

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Tying your own leaders - one problem

#8

Post by Paul Arden » Fri Aug 11, 2017 9:15 am

Does it affect the breaking strain?

Thanks, Paul
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t.z.
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Tying your own leaders - one problem

#9

Post by t.z. » Fri Aug 11, 2017 4:11 pm

http://www.sexyloops.com/index.php/ps/s ... der-design

... some moons ago I wrote this about the leaders for single fly trout fishing.

Generally speaking (in fishing-lingo that is) a leader is the piece of line between the hook and the main line. This piece of line is normally somewhat smaller in diameter than the main line. Various sorts come into play, level line monofilament for bait fishing, wire (for pike and the like), a shock leader for fishing in the sea - and the so-called tapered leader for angling with the fly.\"\"

That’s it. There\'s not much more to say, is there? Well if it were all so simple you’d not be on this web site, would you?

Presenting the fly to a fish (tossing a hook with fluff around onto or in the water - in simpler language) is a rather complex affair, which should not be underestimated. So let’s look at the problem from the start, the feeding fish in a stream, Mr. fish is looking upstream, feeding. He grabs a bite whenever the big conveyer belt-like flow brings food downstream- either on the water surface or in the water body. Therefore the fish is looking upstream virtually all day.

A rather boring life. Well fish don’t know that, so… However, being in such a position for extended periods of its life imprints some very well-defined patterns in that little fish brain. For instance, the fish has never seen a mayfly with a v-wave in front like a boat, so you (the clever angler) needs to avoid this happening. Sounds simple. Presenting a fly like that is called dead drift. OK, there are other forms, the famous running sedge or the little bait fish escaping for example, but in imitating all such behaviour one must have good control over the lure.

I guess you start to get my point. Let’s continue looking at dead drift. Drag (that tiny, tiny v-wave), is caused by a taut line. Therefore you need slack line between you and the fly. The trick is to have just enough slack in the line to avoid drift, but enough contact to hook up with fish. The flowing current does not make this any easier.

So that’s the problem in a nutshell. The more natural your presentation looks to the fish, the more you’ll catch, particularly the wild ones.

The system consisting of fly line and precisely matched rod tapers all the way to the end point. At the end of the line a leader is attached.

Casting this system is done with subtlety rather than power, as it is manoeuvred to develop a loop. This loop gains great speed, even when cast with the most minimal power. This power needs to be spent so the fly lands on the water with natural elegance. The more precisely such behaviour is mimicked, the more fish you catch.

Landing a dry fly softly also increases its tendency to float. This allows you to use sllimmer and more natural fly designs. Likewise for Nymphs, which you can drop into the water precisely where you want them. When you can control the amount of slack in the leader and tippet, a nymph can sink without being hindered by the line. The flies don\'t need much or even any weight adding to them.

There are tapered, furled or braided, and knotted leaders. All have pro and cons. In my opinion the knotted type is preferable for the type of fishing described above. So I looked deeply into this kind of leader. My very first book on Fly-fishing was “A fly fisher\'s life” by Charles C. Ritz - ASIN: B0007EI4CU which had some information about knotted leaders. As this was „an old“ book I smiled arrogantly and went ahead tossing hard-earned money out of the window by shopping for all these fantastic things one gets offered by the „industry“. You can guess the outcome. The fishing never really worked. Through contact with some other anglers and reading more in books and the „net“ I frequently ran into advocates of the hand-tied leader.

So I searched for my first book again to look for the detailed recipes for knotted leaders. Charles C. Ritz describes three main parts of a leader.

1. power transmission - 60% of the total leader length
2. taper - 20% of the total leader length
3. Tippet - 20% of the total leader length

The total length is in Ritz’ book is never really more than 2,9m. I suspect this is because of shorter and different action of the cane rods of the time.

From other sources I heard that a leader should be 1.5 times the rod length. I found others advocating a similar ratio so I applied this to the Ritz 60/20/20 system and experimented. With modern rods and lines I concluded that a leader of 1.35 times the rod length worked best for me. I tied a few for some friends as well and the reactions were all more than positive. As this system seems to work for my friends from Lapland to Nevada, that is why I am sharing it with you here.

On to the technical bit. The single pieces of monofilament line are tied together with blood knots, named after their inventor Mr. Blood. These knots are ideal as they provide a perfectly straight connection without any bends and turns. I mostly use Maxima camo for the leader and Stroft GTM for the tippet, but choice of monofilament is very much up to you. If you believe all the hype, you can even use fluorocarbon.

For the connection of taper and tippet I insert a little ring, known as leader ring.

The Leader itself is connected to the fly line with a nail knot or similar. Don\'t worry about having to change the whole leader often. You won\'t have to.

Have fun tying the leader. It's a little easier with using a Blood-Knot tool though.
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Subtropicalspey
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Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2013 12:05 pm

Tying your own leaders - one problem

#10

Post by Subtropicalspey » Sat Aug 12, 2017 9:28 am

Does boiling the leader affect breaking strain? When I had access to a tensiometer I tested 5 pieces of mono that I had boiled briefly. At most breaking strength was reduced by about 10%.

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