Tarpon leader set up [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Tarpon leader set up

05-24-2006, 05:41 PM
Explain the knots you use, leader/tippet/shock material etc.

Starting at the fly line then all the way down to the fly.

05-24-2006, 06:40 PM
Shock tippet (80lb) to fly; Three turn non-slip loop(requires pliers:lildevl: ).

Class tippet to Shock: Bimini twist to shock with Albright-with-lock or Huffnagel (according to my 'mood')

Class tippet to leader bimini doubled loop surgeons to non-slip loop in tapered leader.

I use commercial tapered leader and cut the tippet of back to about 30lb test and create a no-slip loop (tests closer to 100% vs perfection knot at around 80%).

Leader to line - loop to loop perfection knot (80% doesn't matter at the "thick" end).

Loop in the end of the flyline created using the spinning bobbin technique finished off with aquaseal.

Pretty much standard .....

05-24-2006, 08:02 PM
6 ft .027 fluro, 1.5 ft .025 fluro, 2 ft 20 lb Mason (which is .023), 2-3 ft .025 fluro (52#lb), Homer Rhode loop to fly. I know it goes against everything you've read and heard, but all knots are blood knots (except Rhode) secured with super glue. With fluro, there's no need for out-of-date stretchers. If you really feel you need a more substantial shock, use .027 (60#).

I know I'll receive ALL sorts of flak about this (especially the blood knots), but don't knock it unless you've tried it. Super slim stealthy knots are required these days with tarpon . . . they see lots more flies a day than they used to.

You don't need loop to loop connections (bulky). When you change flies, just tie on a new one. When you shorten your shock tippet, just tie on a new one. Super glue sets up really quickly attaching the new shock. No need to use glue on the Rhode. Yes, pliers are necessary.

Think outside the box.


PS: you must shorten your shock tippet to the 12" regulation if you're seeking an IGFA record. Then you'll probably want to use the old formulas. Use the above if you're not looking for a record.

05-25-2006, 08:05 AM

I have to ask if you've found this useful on even larger fish. I ask because I had a hundred pounder snap off as the guide was running the leader through his hands at the boat. It didn't break at the class, but through the shock. It was 80lb Umpqua FC. The fish had only been on 27 minutes and his abrasive mouth had sawed through the fluoro in that time. Since the guide was already holding the leader and was simply trying to position the fish so that a quick picture could be taken in the water, I still consider it a "caught" fish, but we never did get a photo.

I use the same knots and material as I posted for the same question regarding sailfish leaders on the Big Game forum on this board. However, I usually use only 80lb FC for the shock, and I use the three turn non-slip loop most of the time to tie on the fly. I still do tie some tarpon flies on with a 3 1/2 turn clinch like I do with sails. So far, I've never had one fail using fluorocarbon.

05-25-2006, 10:35 AM
Anyone tye or use a Slim Beauty knot?

05-25-2006, 04:52 PM
Your fish absolutely was a "caught" fish.
I normally now just play fish for a while and then break them off. Biggest fish last week was about 110 and was on for a half hour before breaking it off. It's just lots of work. Abrasion resistance is, of course, what shock tippet is for, but sometimes it really surprises you. I've had fish abrade through 80# within a minute, and a couple of years ago someone I was with in the Bahamas had a 70# fish take his bonefish fly and he still played it for 40 minutes before it broke off!
A friend of mine landed a 140 lb fish last year on this leader with the 60# shock. 50 and 60 lb shock will give me all the time I need.
My main point was that I don't feel biminis, huffnagles, etc. are necessary. Secure blood knots are much more compact and "stealthy" than loops and the traditional knots. If you need a heavier shock, maybe you want to lead your 80# shock with a little 50# (better diameter transition from .023).

Oh, I also use lined leather gloves to tighten my blood knots.

05-27-2006, 10:34 AM
Dear SteelBoneguy,

I've been working on the slim beauty for the better part of a year now. Every place I've looked that shows how to tie it shows a different knot. I finally decided on the one that Tom Rowland, one of the developers of the knot, supposedly uses. However, I found it awkward to tie, especially in cinching it down, and didn't get very good results with the ones I did attempt to use. After having one fail way too easily on a recent trip, I've given up on it. I also found an article that indicates that Tom Rowland has also gone back to a version of the blood knot. It's what he calls the two turn blood knot. I find this easier to tie, much easier to tighten, and at least in my hands a stronger knot.

05-27-2006, 11:13 PM
Bill I'm intrigued by your stand on blood knots as a way to make your leader more stealthy as well as your faith in its strength.
I have yet to cast to my first tarpon [one week from today!!!]. However a few years ago I came to the same conclusion about bulky loops for joining flouro tippit to flouro leaders when fishing for false albacore in clear New England water. I was under the impression I was the last guy still using blood knots in the salt. I've been told many times blood knots will not work with flouro nor can they handle the strain of larger gamesters. An employee of my favorite local flyshop [no longer working there but probably lurking here] was down right insulting when I expressed my faith in the blood knot. Yet I have landed numerous stripers over 20 lbs, big bluefish and a fair number of false albacore without once ever having a blood knot fail [all with flouro, brands various]. Now I realize we're talking a whole different realm in terms of size and power of fish here, but I'm encouraged to read your views on the blood knot.
It's a good thing too. After I read Adrian's discription of the "standard" rig, I almost decided to bring a spinning rod instead. I'm only gonna be there 4 days, It'd take me longer than that to tie one of those leaders up!:frown:

05-27-2006, 11:21 PM
Disclaimer on my last post in which I knocked the standard tarpon leader:
I will be fishing casually, without a guide and with no deep emotional need to land a 100 pound fish.
If I was paying big bucks for the trip of a lifetime or had my heart set on landing a true trophy, I'd use whatever standard rig experienced anglers suggested.

05-28-2006, 06:27 AM
Keep in mind that these blood knots are secured with super glue. I believe one reason blood knots are not liked is becasue they can, in fact, become loose. Loose knots lead to failure.

06-06-2006, 10:30 PM
I found this version of the slim beauty.
It looks simple and solid.
The fellow who linked to it claimed he was getting 100% strenth from it. Evidently he was into testing them.

07-03-2006, 05:35 PM
I find this thread very usefull... since the one of the 2 things that connects us to fish is our knots.

However, I have a question regarding the use of the term "Blood Knot" here. Is everyone above refering to the Improved Blood Knot - you know. 3-7 wraps each way (depending on diameter) and back through the middle? Both tag ends are at the center of the knot facing opposite directions?

I ask because I've done some testing of my own and find that knot to be about 80%, especially on slicker mono. Of course, super-glue would greatly improve that number. However, this is not the real Blood Knot, which is much harder to tie and tests very close to 100%. For a decription of that knot see Lefty and Sosin's knot book under "Simple Blood Knot". I showed this knot to a guide in the Keys and he was impressed by it's strength. I've personally never had one fail, and use it exclusively when targeting "important" fish like tropy bones or permit. On a day-to-day basis I still use the more common (and easier to tie) Improved Blood, and it works fine for most fish, but when targeting the big boys I take the time for the better knot (which takes both hands and teeth to tie and is still a pain in the ass).

I've tested both with my boga-grip and the Simple Blood is way stronger. Try it yourself and you'll see what I mean. Put it in some 14-16 lb mono and it's takes an inordinate amount of pull to break... which is not always at the knot.

07-03-2006, 07:10 PM
Whoa! We're getting a lot of confusing messages here. First of all the Blood knot is as you described (3-7 turns, etc.) The Improved Blood knot was developed by Stu Apte and involves doubling the thinner line of the class tippet in order to make a class to bite tippet knot. The knot you referred to as the Simple Blood Knot as quoted by Kreh and Sosin is most often referred to as the Ligature knot. It is, indeed, stronger than a traditional blood knot, but only if the full seven turns in each direction is used. Using only five reduces the strength of the knot so that is is only marginally stronger than a five turn traditional blood knot. The Ligature knot is more difficult to tie, but like most knots only requires a certain amount of practice time to get it down correctly. When I make my own non-class/bite leaders I usually use the traditional blood knot for all the connections except the final one. There I use a Ligature as it tests closer to 100% when tightened correctly and that knot is easier to tighten when using lighter material which one would normally do at the tippet end.

07-04-2006, 02:39 PM
I stand corrected. Thanks for providing the full range of "Blood Knot" terms. I also build my leaders as you discribe, for exactly the same reason... in the heavier line the standard Blood is plenty strong enough... especially if you leave a little tag end.

Thanks for setting us straight.