Flats leaders [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Flats leaders

Sean Juan
04-28-2008, 03:47 PM
I fish mostly at night and in rips and surf.

Since I am now semi-retired I will be fishing more during the day, and since I have laser vision I may try my hand at sight fishing.

So I figured my goto leader of a straight piece of 20# fluro may not be appropriate.

Then I got to thinking if I tie a knotted tapered leader, will these knots spook the fish more than the thickness of the fluro?

I figure a deep eel will plop down regardless.

Am I just being paranoid, or are they really out to get me?

04-28-2008, 04:38 PM
I like to avoid knots where possible and make my flats leader as long as I can physically handle.

I'm not sure knots spook fish once the leader is submerged but they do tend to collect that green hairy/clingy weed and other stuff that always seems to be drifting around on the flats. If the water is very flat and the leader is sticking in the film, knots will throw shadows and I'm convinced that even quite small shadows moving in the wrong direction across the bottom can spook stripers. A couple of seasons back, I was on South Beach and the water was glass calm. Even the lightest presentation would create a small expanding ripple and you could see the shadow "ring" expanding on the bottom. Approaching stripers would vere off as soon as they got close to the moving ring. The answer was give them a lot more lead but it was interesting to watch and made me realise just how much disturbance I was creating - even with my "super stealth" approach :lildevl:

My standard leader setup is a 12ft knotless taper to 20lb. I put a perfection loop in the end and add 6ft or more of fluro. I like at least 18ft total. Tippet diameter depends on the fly size. 15lb is probably my most used. I like RIO's fluroflex and Sightfree if I can find it.

I'm sure there are lots of other formulas but this works for me.

04-28-2008, 04:52 PM
Sean -

Honestly the flouro diam is not the key to flats success but it's part of the package.

You can do well with straight 30# if you are set up right - e.g. head on approaching shots but no sense in limiting the options.

I've settled on next generation 15# flouro tippet / sometimes taper and go to 12# but no less if I think they are line shy which is like never. This is really thin stuff and those are really good sized stripahs out there.

Mostly it's what you get in your brain that gives you success on the flats and there it's black and white because you see exactly what is going on, what works what doesn't.

If the deep eel plops hard it wasn't tied right. If so the ratio of materials to metal is too low. I use a light wire S/S 811s TMC and 7/32 real eyes (non-toxic durable) which gives a good balance to a 6" fly.

Placement is key. If you go lighter, then you need to lead them longer to allow proper presentation. Rarely will you get them to chase, they must be spoon-fed most of the time and at the level of their chin or lower - although sometimes you could use a popper (rare). If you go heavier, you can drop it close but probably spook the pod.

Anyway enjoy the learning curve as steep as it may be!

04-29-2008, 05:03 AM
Am I just being paranoid, or are they really out to get me?

No Sean you are not being paranoid, the blacked out helicopters are flying overhead & they are out to get you :smokin: Stealth my boy ..stealth.

I usually tie my leaders because I am too cheep to buy knotless ones and I have had a modicum of success on the flats, I use a shorter leader though, maybe time to lengthen it up some. Adrian brings up a good point and is spot on about the mung hanging up on knots, a good reason to buy some tapered ones I guess.

South Shore
05-06-2008, 09:39 AM
So heres a follow up question to this topic, what type of fly's to people prefer for flats fishing?

Throwing a clouser at the end of a 12' leader is tough! I'd probably spook everythying within 100' if I did it. Do people use lighter & less dense flys to counter the long leaders, or do I simply need to get better at presenting/casting all types of flies?