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Leader designs

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johnnybg
Posts: 34
Joined: Sun May 05, 2019 9:03 am
Location: Denmark

Leader designs

#1

Post by johnnybg » Fri Apr 03, 2020 7:14 am

I came across the "Leaders for students" topic, which made me wonder how you design and what influences your leader design?

Since I live near the coastline in Denmark I primarily fish in saltwater for sea run browns. For that I normally use a 6-weight 9' rod with a shooting head setup. At the end is a 12ft knot-less leader ending in 0x and attached is a 3ft tippet (also 0x).

I noticed the 60/20/20 and 40/30/30 rule being mentioned in the "Leaders for students" thread. Does this rule apply to any length of leader, 9 ft, 12 ft, 15 ft and would like to to give the home made leader a chance.

- How long is it practically possible to make the leader before it adversely affects the cast?

- Besides the "lenght-ratio" e.g. 60/20/20 - are there some practical guidelines for what leader diameters (butt, middle and tippet section) one should use?

- Material: The two common leaders materials are fluorocarbon and nylon. Nylon seems to be a lot softer and bends more easily compared to the stiffer fluorocarbon. I read an article on GlobalFlyFisher that the butt section of the leader needs to be both thinner and less stiff than the front taper of the fly line to decrease the transfer of energy. Does this mean you can use a smaller diameter butt section with the stiffer fluorocarbon than with nylon, or have I misunderstood something?


Cheers,
Johnny

nicholasfmoore
Posts: 368
Joined: Tue Jul 16, 2019 1:41 pm

Re: Leader designs

#2

Post by nicholasfmoore » Sat Apr 04, 2020 7:24 pm

Hi Johnny,

That's a great question. My leader topic came about because i was very bored, and it's always interesting to see what others teach with! :sorcerer:

For trout (which i mainly do in the UK) i always use a Rio 9' tapered leader, and i use a 5 turn needle knot to attach this to the fly line. I do believe Rio make the absolute best leaders, their tapers are phenomenal, and the stiffness is just right in my opinion. I then double uni knot my tippet to this. (Paul recently put me onto tippet rings, I've avoided using them for years)
I noticed the 60/20/20 and 40/30/30 rule being mentioned in the "Leaders for students" thread. Does this rule apply to any length of leader, 9 ft, 12 ft, 15 ft and would like to to give the home made leader a chance.


Quite simply, yes. :) I'd use the 60% butt, 20% taper and 20% tippet

The butt section is probably the most important (i know it's all important!) I always come across someone using too limp a material, and it's not thick enough. Quite simply it should be the same diameter as your fly line.
- How long is it practically possible to make the leader before it adversely affects the cast?
That depends on your fly, front taper etc :D Do you use tubes to fish for sea trout over there? Or do you use doubles/single wets? I certainly wouldn't go any longer than 25'.
the butt section of the leader needs to be both thinner and less stiff than the front taper of the fly line to decrease the transfer of energy.
I disagree with that, it should be around the same diameter and stiffness to that of the fly line. I've seen problems with peoples butt sections being too supple and thin, rarely it's too thick and stiff. IMO when you join the butt section to the fly line it should make a lovely rolling curve when you bend it between your fingers :D

I've gone off fluorocarbon completely, it's expensive and breaks in random places. I tested an entire roll with different knots and it wasn't consistent at all. So it's back to Rio powerflex for me.

Hope this helps a bit!

All the best
Nick M

"Memento Piscantur Saepe" :upside:

Boisker
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Re: Leader designs

#3

Post by Boisker » Sun Apr 05, 2020 1:38 pm

Hey Nick..
I’d disagree again.... :whistle:
Personally I don’t think you want the butt to be the same size as the end of the fly line or perhaps more accurately the diameter of the butt section isn’t what matters, it’s the stiffness...
I would always rather start the step down at that point with the leader... ideally stiff butt in smaller diameter, that way you can have a more gradual taper to the last tippet section..
The SA trout and DT are about 0.84-0.90 mm... Rio taper leaders in 4 or 5 X seem to be about 0.6mm... if anything I think they are slightly stiffer/thicker than they need to be...
I often fish with made up leaders with a butt section in 18-20lb.... which would be as low as 0.45 mm... but in maxima chameleon... which is stiff...
I particularly like that set up fishing dries where I want a really gentle presentation...
if it gets really windy and turnover isn’t great I’ll up the butt section diameter (to increase stiffness)... normally by using a Rio tapered leader...
To be honest... it’s all incredibly small margins and with trout probably makes little difference either way in catch rate... as long as your tippet is long enough and as small as diameter as practical :D :D

The above view is based purely on trout / Grayling... rivers... :D

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gordonjudd
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Re: Leader designs

#4

Post by gordonjudd » Sun Apr 05, 2020 4:12 pm

Personally I don’t think you want the butt to be the same size as the end of the fly line or perhaps more accurately the diameter of the butt section isn’t what matters, it’s the stiffness...
As described by Jack Moray, the energy transfer along a discontinuous string is determined by the linear mass density match of the materials at a given junction. Some details are given on the old board at http://www.sexyloops.co.uk/theboard/vie ... 017#p15017.

How he modified his taper design (based on getting equal steps in the linear mass density at each junction) to take the relative stiffness of the sections into account is still a mystery.

I do agree with Merlin however that the basis for different leader designs is open to debate and practically
The methodologies proposed by authors for leader taper design is not based on explicit dynamics, as far as I know.
Gordy

Boisker
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Re: Leader designs

#5

Post by Boisker » Sun Apr 05, 2020 8:39 pm

Thanks Gordy..
Unfortunately some of the technical aspects of that links are a bit above my pay scale... :D :D :D

My comments were really just what works for me on a typical SW England river....

There’s also a practicality aspect- when tying your own leaders some leader designs require loads of step downs, which I guess is to get a smooth energy transfer and for it to have suitably reduced by the tippet; I prefer to start with a smaller diameter but stiff butt section, I like the feel of he they cast, they seem more delicate but it also means I can miss 2 or 3 step downs when tying them up.

nicholasfmoore
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Re: Leader designs

#6

Post by nicholasfmoore » Sun Apr 05, 2020 11:34 pm

As Boisker mentions, you have to take practicality into consideration 🙂 i do mention the stiffness with the Rio leader. I think Bruce R mentions that the butt section Should be around 3/4 the diameter of the fly line, but as you say stiffness is the most important factor. What I should have mentioned is that you 'can' make it the same diameter of the fly line, so mistake on my part 😁

The Rio leaders seem to work the best for me personally 😊

How's everyone dealing with this Covid-19 situation?

All the best
Nick M

"Memento Piscantur Saepe" :upside:

Morsie
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Re: Leader designs

#7

Post by Morsie » Mon Apr 06, 2020 3:35 am

I build my own leaders and until recently stuck pretty closely to the 50-25-25 formula. I fish leaders to 25 feet in New Zealand and they turn over just fine on most days. As a demonstration I once built a 20 foot leader for a class of old guys who didn't believe the difference in terms of numbers of fish this leader made so I made one up in front of them and they all managed to turn it over, some better than others. We talked about what I would change if you had to lengthen it or shorten it as conditions changed. The butt of the leader I'd made was 25lb Maxima so I added another 10 feet of 30 to the butt and that worked just fine, then I added another 10 feet of 40 to that and it still unrolled just fine. I was tying the butt directly to the tip of the rod, no fly line. The change I have made for dry fly fishing was shown to me by a mate and he fishes around 6-8 feet of 4x tippet but connects that directly to the 10lb Maxima at the pointy end of the taper using a slim beauty knot. This is a fantastic knot for connecting lines of very different diameters, we use it for making up billfish leaders where you might be connecting 16 or 20 lb to 150 or 200lb. It gives an fantastic "looseness" to the presentation of a dry fly. Leaders are fascinating.

Boisker
Posts: 542
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Re: Leader designs

#8

Post by Boisker » Thu Apr 09, 2020 6:34 pm

I doubt I’ll ever reach the point where I’ll permanently settle on one leader type/design... it’s one of those aspects I always get drawn back into playing with...
3 or 4 seasons ago I used nearly all self-tied, 2 seasons ago I pretty much used Rio power flex all season, always with 3-6’ tippet added...
and then last season I used self-tied for most of the season... I’d kept noticing George Harvey based leaders mentioned by a number of people... and then read George Humphreys ‘Trout Tactics’ who had leaders influenced by George etc etc... so thought I should give them an extended try...
Stiff butt chameleon.. then very supple midsection leader and tippet... perhaps not great for very windy conditions, but great for presentation, putting lots of ‘S’ curves up through the leader..
I need to play with it more this season...
Along these lines-
20” — 15# Maxima Chameleon
20” — 12# Maxima Chameleon
10” — 10# Maxima Chameleon
10” — 8# Maxima Chameleon
12” — 2X soft nylon tippet material (or 8# Gold Stren)
12” — 3X soft nylon tippet material
14” — 4X soft nylon tippet material
20-48” — 4X, 5X or 6X soft nylon tippet material (to match fly and conditions)

(The above was taken from troutbitten- https://troutbitten.com/2019/07/21/dry- ... er-design/)

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Paul Arden
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Re: Leader designs

#9

Post by Paul Arden » Sat Apr 11, 2020 5:13 am

I’ve always used a much longer tippet section on my leaders. For example while I might use a 9ft tapered leader to a 10lb point, I’m going to have another 9-12’ of tippet for fishing three flies. Streamers are different but I will have at least another 5’ of tippet (floating lines).

Without the tapered leader I mess around with different tapers, but the final tippet is by far the longest section.

9’ casting leaders for targets is something I am working on with the limited mono I have with me at the moment. For fly hovering I definitely want the fly to turn over with more force to hang. So that will push the tippet shorter and the butt section longer.

Cheers, Paul
It's an exploration; bring a flyrod.

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Paul Arden
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Re: Leader designs

#10

Post by Paul Arden » Sat Apr 11, 2020 2:28 pm

I asked Bruce Richards for his input....
Hey Paul,
Leaders, big topic... General thoughts. For trout (dry fIy) use mostly 9-10' leaders, 50/30/20 to start adjust tippet to conditions. For streamers, short and stout.
Butt section should be about 70% the diameter of the line tip, that will pretty closely match the mass of the line tip to the leader butt, you want that to be the same. Energy transfers through the mass, radical changes to the mass profile, whether in line, leader, or where they connect, will cause some sort of radical performance. I use the limpest material I can find when I tie my own, just make sure the mass is right. Limp material is much easier to knot and straighten and casts the same as stiff (assuming same mass). Stiff material is harder to knot and has much more memory.
Leaders are simply an extension of the fly line. If stiffness was critical to performance fly lines would be a lot stiffer!
Bruce
It's an exploration; bring a flyrod.

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