Compound or Weight forward Leaders [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Compound or Weight forward Leaders

12-08-2001, 12:01 AM
Who still ties the weight forward leader? I learned about this in the early 80's. (No... 1980's:rolleyes: not 1880's)
Your leader tapers down as normal, then tapers back up then down again to the tippet. This is suppose to aid in turning over bulky flies or to streighten long leaders out fully.

A typical example might be:
.021 .019 .017 .015 .013 .011 .009 .011 .013 .011 .009 .007 tippet section
These are diameters of leader material, the length's will be up to your own judgment.
Again, nothing is chiseled in stone... :rolleyes: It's just a different way to do things.

12-08-2001, 12:47 AM
Umpqua is selling leaders very similar to that design now...they claim, as you do, that they aide in turing over large flies.

12-08-2001, 10:18 AM
That's interesting but since the first reduction in diam/grains occurs after the line taper, I can't see why it would be better than a taper that graduates down from the line itself? Won't the additional back taper slow the energy wave down?

Two things I've done in SWFF situations (large flies):

a) cut the first foot of SW flyline off - it's level anyway. Not for trout lines but for SW and sinking tip construction using shooting heads

b) build the leader with more stout material and less reduction over the length of the leader.

Using clear intermediate allows shorter leaders, and sinking lines don't need a long leader most of the time anyway.

I have a hard time with long floating line leaders on Spey rods when the fly is too big or heavy. I don't throw any weighted flies for steelhead at all so I don't really have this problem, and with big flies for winter fishing the sinktip and shorter leader turns over big flies easily.

Sometimes I am not the most skilled at delicate trout presentations :rolleyes: maybe a little slowdown and speedup will help?

I am skeptical. The back taper on a FWF line is to reduce down to the running line so you can shoot the line, it doesn't help turn anything over. Just try casting 20 past the head on a Teeny, QD, Depthcharge or other radical back taper line and you'll see what I mean. For what it's worth, I would have to give it a high BS rating. I could be wrong, but it sure sounds wrong.


12-08-2001, 11:22 AM
I learned about this from a book I once owned. It was by master fly fisherman, Ernie Schweibert...
Back in the early days of sport fly fishing...
I believe the book was called "Matching the Hatch."
I might be wrong about the book's title, however it was the late Mr. Schweibert's idea that I am quoting from.
He was classified as highly as Lee Wulff for his fly fishing knowledge. :)

12-08-2001, 11:46 AM
I see... that would indicate that it's something tried and true by an expert trout angler, so that explains a lot. In the rough and tumble world of SWFF driving that energy wave as directly as possible is the key for big flies (sometimes over 10" long) whereas when "matching the hatch" the long leaders and fine tippets would benefit from a kicker in the leader. Well that explains it. I'll give it a try!

12-09-2001, 10:18 AM
When did Mr. Schwiebert pass away ? I missed that. Met him in the late sixties while fishing on the Catskills Beaverkill River for trout. Great guy, gave me some good tips. Have a couple of this books. He grew up in Chicago, learned fly fishing on the Michigan waters I now primarily fish. Wrote some great short stories on fly fishing for steelhead in Michigan and on the Pere Marquette (PM) River particularly. His book the "The Complete Schwiebert" Truman Talley Books, has some great steelhead and salmon, trout flyfishing stories. One short story in particular "Portrait of the Pere Marquette" is very emotional for me, having fished all of the areas he describes in this story. Many other great fly fishing stories in this book. Highly recommended, for fly fisherman world wide.

Sad two of my boyhood fly fishing idols now passed Lee Wulff and now Ernest Schwiebert.

Also met Lee and Joan Wulff at their fly shop iand fishing school n the Catskills in the seventies.

Actually I do not know who my fly fishing idols are now.

Any one have any idea who they are these days ? Must be highly knowledgeable, well travelled, all aspects of fly fishing world wide, and an excellent oral and written communicator who advocates the history and preservation of the fly fishing sport.

Both Lee and Joan Wulff and Ernest Schwiebert met that criteria I believe.

But who is it now and for the future ?


12-09-2001, 10:42 AM
Let's see...a wealth of knowledge, well rounded in most, if not all, and willing to share the art in all aspects and able to represent himself to beginner and expert alike...tends to CATCH while fishing as others look on in wonder (among other things) to appear/disappear in wet sandy waders without leaving any tracks, much less tears on rice paper laid over soft sand...
I am, of course, referring to "the beach ninja"...(my "current" idol)

12-09-2001, 11:11 AM
The remaining old timer I can think of that may qualify is Lefty
Kreh. Anyone else ?

Remember names Like Ted Trueblood, Joe Brooks, Lee Wulff, Ernest Schwiebert who were the overall flyfishing icons of from the sixties onward. Perhaps Vince Marinaro also is in that class but he was mainly trout fishing as I recall. All of the rest did all of the fly fishing venues. trout, salmon, salt water, etc.. It became their profession and passion.

"The Beach Ninjy" I am not familiar with.


12-09-2001, 11:58 AM
Ernie Schweibert passed away August 23rd. 1983 :(
It was a cold day that summer.

Sorry people, I gave the wrong date (if any)
As soon as I find the correct date, I'll post it.
Again, sorry for jumping the gun.

12-09-2001, 12:16 PM
Not sure if 1983 is right, maybe that is 1993 ?

I have his book Matching the Hatch in front of me which is dated
as first printing September 1990. I bought it in either 1990 or 1991 as I recall. He was alive as of 1990, per the book's cover and living in Princeton, NJ.

Will check it out further.


12-09-2001, 12:30 PM
...Once you've seen him in action, you'll not soon forget the experience...he's like a pro-athlete who makes everything look so "easy"...a tour d' force... Beach Ninja=Juro

12-09-2001, 12:35 PM
OK I have got you now. Will be prepared if that direct life experience should ever occur to me. I will need his wisdom for those Washington steelhead trips.


12-09-2001, 03:01 PM
Joe Brooks goes back further than the 60's. He wrote the first authority ,atleast as to Saltwater flyfishing, in 1950. He had been flyfishing well into the 1930's. The first real publisized "Light Tackle" saltwater fishing was promoted by the exploits of Zane Gray from 1910 to 1930... In his book "Tales of Fishes" he advocated fish conservation and the true sport of ligh tackle for biggame.

12-09-2001, 03:35 PM
Yes you are right, also I forgot about Ted Trueblood. Lots of past great fly fisherman, writers, historians, and conservationists.

There was also Al Mcglane

But who are the present ones today ?

I cannot think of anyone in the class of these past gentlemen.


12-09-2001, 06:31 PM
Originally posted by pmflyfisher

But who are the present ones today ?

I cannot think of anyone in the class of these past gentlemen.


How about Lefty Kreh?
Larry Dahlberg?
John Whitlock?

I would rank them in or near the same class. All have done above-and-beyond their part to promote our beloved sport.

12-09-2001, 09:10 PM
How about Trey Combs ? Some great Steelhead history and river publications. Although he appears to be specialized and not a general overall historian of the sport and teacher. For Steelhead probably number one I would think to date. Check out his books if you have not and want to learn about steelheading. Thats what I started with in 1979.

Lefty Krey yes, although mainly saltwater species and also is not purely a fly fisherman. Will throw what ever it takes.

Whitlock, I forgot about it. Yes he is up there.

I guess now a days you have to specialize in something so maybe like in everything else generalists are not in.

12-10-2001, 04:18 PM
Migrating from weight-forward leaders to thought leaders, Hal set out these criteria for entry into the flyfishing pantheon:
"Must be highly knowledgeable, well travelled, all aspects of fly fishing world wide, and an excellent oral and written communicator who advocates the history and preservation of the fly fishing sport."

I think John Cole, the author of "Striper" and editor of "West of Key West," stands out. So does the late Roderick Haig-Brown. Both these men write in a way that would make me seek out their company on a beach or river (obviously not possible with H-B). Their books teach us about the natural world and the human heart as well as about fishing.

I think the Keys guide Jeffrey Cardenas will be remembered 20 years on the way we're thinking here about Wulff and Schweibert and Brooks. Lou Tabory has certainly made made an extraordinary number of converts to flyfishing in the salt. So has Bob Popovics, whose fishing skills are complemented by questing curiousity and innovation in flycrafting. By no means a flyfishing purist, I think Nelson Bryant's tenure as the outdoor writer at the New York Times earns him a place on the list. An Airborne Ranger who dropped into France on D-Day, Bryant has since fished and shot all around the world and shared the experience in gracefully written Sunday columns describing and celebrating every kind of fly angling, an exemplar of the "greatest generation."

Probably a separate thread here, but great fun to think about. Who's next?


12-10-2001, 06:22 PM
Thanks Broadbill there are some new names you mention I am not familiar with. But I have been away from the east coast for 23 years and also saltwater fishing, being here in Chicago.

Yes HB was a great one. I have a few of his books. Every Christmas season I read a few of his stories. Matter of fact I have pulled my Lee Wulf, Ernest Schwiebert, and Roderick Haig Brown books out of the book case to get acquainted with them again. Tis the season.

Will have to look up some of those men you mentioned.

Still not sure who would be the Wulff or Schwiebert replacements these days.

Do you know when Schwiebert passed away ? I missed that announcement some how.


12-10-2001, 07:03 PM
PM and Broadbill beat me to it, but I would have included Trey ad Lou as well.. But you re right about specialist. My bend is more toward saltwater so I really can't bring up any Trout guys but two. If you use catagories. I would say Trey for Blue water. John Gierach for General trout knowledge, A.K. Best for trout flies, Taboury and Andy Caolo are equated to Stripers, Nick Curcione and Dan Blanton for saltwater, Mark Sedotti and George Roberts for fly casting. Dick Brown for BoneFish, Jack Gartside and Bill Catherwod for saltwater Fly tying, Nick Lyons for general literature, A local guy... Rich Murphy for Saltwater fly tying is on his way.. Billy Pate an Steve Abel for reels... I think I have to stop here but ,in my opinion, these are the names that will be spoken 100 years fom now when they look back on these times.... oh yes.. and Juro Mukai, for bringing flyfishermen together and forging great frendships... Who said fishing had to be solitary?

12-10-2001, 07:50 PM
I guess there are a lot of regional and specialist names out there
but not sure if there is another icon like Wulff, Schwiebert, Roderick Haig Brown who could do all aspects of flyfishing and communicate it elegantly stating history and yet able to add new information and techniques to the sport. Every year at this time I pull out some of the old books of these greats and reread some of their great prose.

Not sure who I would go to the book store now and look to purchase a book in the category of these former greats.

Until then I will just reread the icons we know of.

Thanks for some new names to look to though.

12-10-2001, 08:19 PM
You are right PM... the pioneers always take thr first place.. But what about Charles Ritz? I think I would include him although he did not do a lot of writing. It is interesting to speculate about the future and who will be considered icons later. I would equate a Joe Brooks for Saltwater flyfishing like Wulff for Salmon ,even though they both fished for other species.. what better reading is there than "Salmon of a Fly " by Wulff or " Saltwater Fly fishing" by Brooks. Hemmingway was a great fisherman but did not devote his life to the sport exclusively.

12-10-2001, 09:48 PM
Yep, agree. How about Charles Waterman as one of the past icons, I forgot about him.

I have Wulff's book "Salmon on a Fly" right here. I think this was the last book he published before his death. Every couple of years I pull my old fly fishing books out and give them another read. Will also do some Schwiebert and Roderick Haig Brown over the holidays. Great reading and refreshes memory on the masters techniques.

I wonder if we took a poll on the board who the candidates would be for the current icons and how a vote would go.

Mayflyman is good with polls.

Maybe something to do over the holidays on the board when everyone will have some time?


12-10-2001, 10:03 PM
That would sound like fun and give everyone a good rendition on a number of folks.

12-10-2001, 10:51 PM
I'll see what I can do...
Thanks for the plug, pmff. :)
I'll start researching it asap.

12-11-2001, 06:07 AM
Thanks maybe we should have a preliminary poll of who will be
on the poll for the contempory icon fly fisherman ?

I think it would be easy to come up with names for the past icons
Wulff, Schwiebert, Waterman, Haig Brown, etc...

I guess Lefty kreh should be one of the names. Not sure of the others yet

Thanks :D

Dble Haul
12-11-2001, 10:27 AM
I'll have to weigh in with my two choices:

First, Lefty Kreh. He has done so much for the sport that I won't even attempt to itemize his accomplishments. He can catch fish anywhere, and does not just specialize in salt water. In fact, his favorite fish to pursure, if he could only have one, is the smallmouth.

Second, Dave Whitlock. He is an author, artist, master fly tyer, excellent fisherman, teacher, and a great ambassador for the sport. He is another who can catch fish anywhere, fresh or salt. His illustrations in numerous fly fishing publications and books are wonderful, and he has earned many awards for his works in conservation.

Now what was the original topic? Leaders? :p

12-11-2001, 05:35 PM
I totally agree that Lefty should be right up there.

Trey Combes must also get a vote for his definitive works on blue water flyfishing.

I would add Lou Taboury because it was the cover of his book (Inshore Flyfishing) in a London bookstore that sparked my interest in Saltwater Flyfishing.

In terms of past greats I would have to add Hugh Falkus on both Altlantic Salmon and Sea Trout (sea run browns). Another UK author who's written some very thought provoking ideas on Brown Trout would be John Goddard.

12-11-2001, 06:49 PM
...I've heard about a local Chatham guy who caught alot of fish this year...but what sets him apart from us common mortals is the fact that, in spite of driving rain, winds, Canadian cold fronts, and impending hypothermia, he never once donned "sissy" waders. They call him "Iron Alloy Man"...

12-11-2001, 07:55 PM
Beleive Lefty Kreh and Dave Whitlock are two definites for the list.

Not sure of the other 2-3 for a poll.

Gary Borger ?

Eric Leiser ?

Did a quick seach on Amason Books for fly fishing books came up
with 1013 matches. Scan down the authors and you will see lots of names. Most of which I had heard of but I am not sure they could be considered icons like Wulff or Schiebert yet.

12-13-2001, 07:46 PM
If there is one person that exemplifies a flyfishing guru in our current time, it would be Lefty Kreh. I had the pleasure twice this year to spend some quality time with him to address some casting concerns that I had, particularly with sinking lines. He gave me some excellent tips; but more importantly, his wealth of knowledge on flytying, knots and general flyfishing knowledge, puts hime at the top of my list for "my hero."

He's 76, and I don't know how much longer he will be, the still young and energetic person that he is, willing to share his life-long knowledge on our passion.

12-13-2001, 10:41 PM
Jim, I have to agree. I had heard of Lefty Kreh in the UK before I came to the USA but finally had a chance to see him in action at the NJ flyfishing show a couple of years ago. I have watched many fly casting demonstrations before and since but have never witnessed anything like the consumate skill he posseses. This, combined with his endearing humor, ability to impart knowledge and patience as a communicator put him right at the top! You are indeed fortunate to have enjoyed his personal attention!

12-27-2001, 12:06 PM
Hmmm, reports of Mr. Schwiebert's death may have been greatly exaggerated. Either that or their was an imposter in New Haven:

Yale Anglers' Journal
An Undergraduate Publication

2000 Dinner Press Release

Literary Journal Launched By Yale Freshman Hooks Subscribers From Around the World

Internationally successful Yale Anglers' Journal springs from a note passed between friends - an Ivy dynasty of "Yanglers" is born New Haven, CT, March 1, 2000.

An eclectic group of enthusiastic supporters of angling literature and art are expected to attend the first annual Yale Anglers' Journal dinner which will be held at Yale on April 19th to celebrate the success of this unique undergraduate enterprise and to raise funds to widen and deepen the non-profit Journal's international subscriber base. Author Ernest Schwiebert will be the keynote speaker. Several other authors and artists as well as representatives from the angling press, sporting literature booksellers, and sporting art galleries will also be present to discuss the art and literature of angling.

12-27-2001, 01:51 PM
Mike, are you subscribing to that Journal. I started a subscription last year and have really enjoyed the reading. The only problem is that it only come out twice a year.

12-28-2001, 09:37 AM
I don't subscribe to the journal. I just happened across the reference to it.

However, I'm a fan of Mr. Schwiebert and his writings. I should re-read some of his books.

12-28-2001, 11:35 AM
Yes I am an E. Scwiebert fan also. Just reread a couple of hsis short stories from several of his books I have. It was mentioned last month on the forumn that he may have passed away, I tried some research on the net but could not find out if it was true. Would think he would have published something since 2000 though which is when the Yale anglers club banquet was referenced above it. Met him on the Beaverkill 30 years ago he taught me what a red quill was during the Hendrickson hatch period. Made all the difference in the results that day.

Does any one know the true situation on Mr. Schwiebert ?

henryville huck
06-23-2005, 11:02 AM
Regarding the question of Ernest Schwiebert's demise, click on these two links below to see articles which seem to indicate that Ernest is very much alive, well and still very much with us. I would appreciate any definitive information which other members of this forum might have re Ernest Schwiebert since if he is still among the living, I would enjoy communicating directly with him. Thank you.

Henryville Huckleberry

henryville huck
08-07-2005, 07:35 PM
Henryville Special

Tied by Gene Holowachuk (Cooperstown NY)

Hook: Mustad 94840, sizes 14-18
Thread: 6/0 or 8/0. Black or color to match body.
Ribbing: Grizzly hackle tied Palmer over the body. Tie full. Barbles should be slighltly less than hook gap.
Body: Olive or green wool yarn or synthetic dubbing, tied thin. Have also used peacock herl. Try to match naturals.
Underwing: Barred lemon wood duck fibers (or dyed mallard), sparse slips. Fibers should just extend very slightly past bend of hook.
Wings: Natural dark grey duck quill sections tied tent style over the body & extending just past the underwing. Cut to shape.
Hackle: Brown or ginger. Wrap two or three turns only.

Notes: Palmered hackle should be wrapped so the hackle barbles point toward the front of the fly. Palmered hackle on top of body should be clipped off before tying in underwing. Use no more than three wraps of brown hackle - it is important not to over-hackle the brown legs in the thorax area. If the grizzly Palmered hackle is of sufficient dry fly quality & tied in full, then it will be a good floating fly. Wings should be flared & separated so the fish below will have a good natural-looking silhouette. To enhance the durability of the wings, coat the wing quill in advance w/ either 'hard as nails' or spray it w/ a fixative such as Tuffilm.

History: (from "Popular FLy Patterns" by Terry Hellekson, 1977, Peregrine Smith, Inc., ISBN 0-87905-066-7): The Henryville Special was originated by Hiram Brobst of Palmertown, PA, to duplicate caddis hatches in the Henryville section of Brodhead Creek. He originally named it the "No-Name" but later Al Ziegler[husband of Eleanor Henry Ziegler of Henryville House] got hold of the fly & renamed it the Henryville Special. As w/ any fly that gets extensive use it has been tied in numerous variations. It has proven to be a deadly fly & some feel that it is the best caddis imitation to have ever been created.

compiled by Rick Lalliss for the FF@ Dry Fly Swap. Copyright 1995, Rick Lalliss and Respective Authors, EMail: