Spey Rods And Leaders [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Spey Rods And Leaders

Leo M
06-19-2006, 09:30 AM
What leader set-up are those using spey rods, using for summer fish? Length, type, floating, sinking, etc.

06-19-2006, 09:48 AM
You can't go wrong with Gary Selig's Spey leaders. However in general good 'traction' on the d-loop allows for just a straight shot of 15# 60% length to tippet 40% of length, 10# maxima for me.

You can add taper, 60% 15# to 20% length 12# to 8# or 10# 20% length if you want but it's not necessary.

On the end of a sinktip - 4 feet straight shot of 12# or 10# for me (western steelheading).


(winter different)

06-19-2006, 10:37 AM
I'm a big fan of Gary's leaders as well. I did just get back from Salmon fishing and had some trouble with his floro butt leader on my Carron 75'. In slack and "greasy" water I just couldn't get the butt out of the water cleanly either on the lift or the stroke. Fast water it was perfect, but not all holding water is like that. The cure was 12' of straight 15 pound brown maxima. Fly clicked over regardless of water type and the only real problem I had to deal with was choppy water at the end of the fast runs as it dumped into slower water.

Think about what line type you're putting that leader on. RIO mid-Spey's and short heads I'll still use the GS floro-butt leader, the longer finer tapers on the Carron's may need something less sophisticated.


06-19-2006, 10:49 AM
Think about what line type you're putting that leader on. RIO mid-Spey's and short heads I'll still use the GS floro-butt leader, the longer finer tapers on the Carron's may need something less sophisticated.


Excellent advice, the match to the line is definitely a consideration not only in terms of turnover but the softening of the energy at the end and surface / underwater presentation.

Salar 33
06-20-2006, 09:51 AM
Dear Leo,

For standard floating line fishing with a long rod I make my leader the same length as the rod. Of course in certain situations I will shorten or lengthen as desired.

I rig the leaders in different ways for different times of the season. In late May fishing for big Restigouche brights a short leader of 25-30 pound test is all that is required. Early June I will put 24 inches of 30 pound test followed by 20 pound test. Middle June to July 1 I will Make the leader in three sections of 30-20-15. In July to the end of the season 25-18-12 or less if needed. I fish down to 8 pound floro. Below that I am risking the loss of a good fish.

What you need to remember is that all conditions and all equipment do not fish the same. You must be flexible and willing to experiment. Big flies, small flies, dry flies will all require changes. I do most of my fishing on the Gaspe and Restigouche system. Other rivers would need a greater degree of variance.

Good luck,


beau purvis
06-21-2006, 12:31 PM
In the PNW and BC I use a airflow floating poly type 10ft leader and attach 3-4ft of 10 or 12 lb leader between that and the fly. Cast better ,rolls the fly over better.Beau

06-24-2006, 11:55 PM

I generally start with a RIO 15' salmon/steelhead tapered leader in 10# test whether I'm using a short 13' T&T or Loomis rod or my 16' Meiser 7/8/9 Highlander. More often than not, I cut off about 18" of the 10# tippet and add on 2' of 8# RIO medium stiff mono for a tippet. Steelhead and salmon are usually not leader shy so I rarely go below the 8# tippet, and never below 6# because it is too easy to have a hot fish break lighter tippets on their initial surge.

And to muddy things up just a little more, I at time will use an 18'-20' weight forward leader produced by cutting the RIO 15' 10# leader back 24", adding in
18" of 20# Maxima followed by 12" of 15# Maxima, 12" of RIO 13#, 12" of RIO 10#, and ending with 18" of RIO 8#.

06-25-2006, 08:38 AM
For sink tip, use very short leader, 2 feet at most, typically 20-30 pound test, otherwise why use a sink tip. For floating line or intermediate fishing, again the butt section needs to be very stiff and heavy, typically the largest I have with me ( at least 30 pound maxima). this way when you are casting the damn thing will turn over. I am not the greatest caster so even with single hand rods I use very stiff heavy butt section. Then you can just lengthen out the leader and keep decreasing your diameter as you go. I actually like pre-made tapered leaders then putt a tippet on the end. For normal water with floating line fishing, I'm going to probably be at least 12-15 feet, probably down to 12 pound test, occasionally i'll go lower, but rarely since if I need 8 pound test I'm with the single handed rod by that point. Plus, when you are a poor caster like me, I break off fine leader like that just by miscasting my 15 footers ( I like the 15 foot sage TCR with Skagitt line for the depth charge type 8 sink tip tube fly work). I like the long leader with the floating line spey work since the line is pretty thick and I want this away from the fly with floating line ( very different with sink tip).

Last word from someone who gets fish to the net- use maxima. I don't give a damn about how fine the leader is and no need for flouro. Sink tip and flouro is useless since you are 2 feet of length anyway. Maxima is stiff which is what i want to turn over big flies anyway, plus maxima does not break off many fish for whatever reason. Bottom line, use Maxima for atlantic salmon, period.

Tight Lines,

Jim Y