Maxima Leader Material [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Maxima Leader Material

02-14-2002, 12:42 PM
It's that time of year again, when I wonder if I should step up from the blue light special Stren I used last season to something of a reportedly "higher" quality.

Maxima - Clear, Ultragreen & Chameleon.

Has anyone used these for salt & what do you think?



02-14-2002, 12:59 PM
I use the maxima stuff to build my leader sections and have no complaints. I just stick with the clear stuff but for no other reason than I don't think the "red" Chameleon stuff is all that stealthy. However as of late I am getting too lazy and am just buying rio leaders or using the airflo poly leaders(which kick butt and last a long time).

I am starting to realize the key to more hook-ups(at least for myself) is fluoro-carbon tippetts. The stuff really does seem invisible to the fish. I find that I am able to use heavier tippetts than normal with the fluoro without hurting my catch rate. Also since I have the heavier tippett I can land fish a little quicker than normal and send them on their way.


02-14-2002, 01:06 PM
I've been using the Maxima for a couple of years. I can't say anything bad about it. It seems to be pretty tough stuff. The areas I fish around here are rocky and it holds up to the scrapes and nicks. It also holds up well at the meca;) . It seems to hold a knot well. Except wind knots. Some thing I'm all too familiar with. There's probably better leader material out there but I don't think you'll be disappointed with Maxina

02-14-2002, 01:41 PM
Jeff.. I have been using the Orvis Mirrage flouro but will be trying the new Verivas leader material that I picked up at Harry Koons in Orleans this fall... I have had no problems with the Mirrage.. but I did have problems with the product known as "Vanish". Can not comment on Maxima.... love the name though... like some advertisment from Penthouse magazine.

Tod D
02-14-2002, 01:46 PM
After continuing to buy Orvis Mirage, it was our resident GQ flyfisherman - Nick - who recommended I make a trip to Walmart and buy a spool of Stren flouro and save my money. Took his advice and for about the same price - circa $10 - purchased 150 yards of stren instead of 25 feet of orvis. Fish didn't seem to mind...

02-14-2002, 01:50 PM
Jeff - I've built all my leaders for last year with the chamelion stuff & had no real complaints/probs (other than the aforementioned wind knots...)

I was out on those mystical Joppa flats and the boat owner starts giving out to me about my leaders not being flouro AND being brown.
He got about 4 words into his seecond sentance when I set the hook - 3 min & 26" later I said, "What were you saying?"

fluoro tippets helped out though.

Oh yeah, and if you use it for tippets on a Climax leader JM might have to loosen his ascot to fish...

02-14-2002, 02:02 PM
Thanks guys.

I have some Cabela's Points I want to use up & that seems about the only thing I need from them.

Tod - I love the cost effectiveness of Stren, never had any complaints from the fish I've landed either.

Just thinking about more sight casting this year and think it wouldn't hurt to use something without a blue tinge to it.


02-14-2002, 02:15 PM
and swears by it.

Bob Pink
02-14-2002, 04:27 PM
I know this runs counter to other expert witnesses but I've built my leader/tippets for the past two years using Segar flouro for the 40# & 30# sections and Vanish for the 'tippet' ( 20# when fishing offshore and 14# when in skinny water ) As long as you lubricate the knots thoroughly before making up I've had complete confidence in laying the lumber to a fish. If the knot is going to fail, you willl realize it right away as you cinch it up.
The Segar runs about $ 15-$ 18 for 25yds which lasts for the season.

Anybody else have comments about the one-piece tapered leader/tippets?

02-14-2002, 05:23 PM
Jeff, just got back from a couple of weeks in the Keys for bones. I have not been a true believer in fluorocarbon tippets, but am beginning to believe it does work. In fact, the guides at Islamorada swear by it!. Their recommendation based on experience is Seaguar Fluorocarbon. This is saltwater duty stuff. It is available in 25 and 50 yard spools. Cabelas has it in 10, 12, 15, 20 etc. Believe it sells for $7.99 for a 25yd spool. Fifty yard spool is $15.98.

As you know, don't skimp on the tippet, it is your last link to the fly/fish.

Hey man, think I'm going to buy a kayak, Walden Cuda. See ya beginning of June.

02-14-2002, 05:57 PM
Jim!! Glad to hear from you.

Hope to hear more about your adventures in Islamorada.

Can't wait to see you this summer, we got some new areas to try out, you don't need to buy a yak - I'm pretty confident we can get you a free "loaner".

I like Seaguar. I've used it for the last 2 years. Last season I did have it fail on me 2X and not at the knot!!

For what it's worth - I believe fluoro is less resistant to constant heat/ sun/ soakings that wading fishermen put their gear through - leading to breakage. The tippet material that failed on me was the remnant of a spool from the season before.

Of course, after a few outings I get tired of worrying about knots & presentation and just go with a 4' section of 20# Stren! The fish seemed to like it. ;)

02-14-2002, 10:49 PM
I love maxima ultragreen for an all-around leader material for a number of reasons:

I like the physical characteristics - strong, not stiff, not limp, good color, etc.

A big plus is that the spools / diameters are rated so they make it simple as pie to build great leaders using the simple 60/20/20 rule, with flouro tippet (only) for vis-sensitive situations where I do a majority of my SWFF. So I can go to the store, buy 40#, 30#, 25#, 20# ,15#, 12# and a spool of high quality flouro tippet in 15# and I'm good for a couple of seasons with the exception of replacements for commonly used diams. In fact I still have enough on last years spools to only need a 15# refill plus a new flouro spool to go chase stripers this spring. The Lb Test rating makes it easy to custom build butts, tapers and tippets in any combo I need on the spot because I carry these 7 spools in a bag in the rear compartment of my chest pack.

Cost is reasonable over the course of a few seasons but you do need to invest in the starter pack of 40# down to 15# or 12# for SWFF striper style.

To add on coverage for trout just buy more spools from the added selection in lower sizes: 10#, 8#, 6#, 5#, 4#, 3#, 2#, 1#

Once you buy the 'set' you only make occasional refill purchases. The taper sections are usually quite short so the spools used for taper sections can last a few years.

I can't see the need for a full flouro leader, but I do believe a flouro tippet is a plus in certain conditions. In surf I use 20# maxima "tippet". On the flats I use 15# or 12# flouro, long overall leader length and tippet portion. When it doesn't make any difference (spring fish, night fishing, etc) I mostly use 15# maxima.

I would think chameleon would be ideal for the Merrimack or any other tannin-stained waters.

I also have a full set of clear spools but haven't given them much time in the water yet so have no comments.

Elastic spool 'bras' let's you dispense just what you need without the nasty unraveling problems most little spools suffer from. Snap 'em on and you're good until the last wrap is used. They are 100% reusable on the next spool - I even mark them sometimes to make it easy to ID the spools.

When you add up all the factors you can't beat maxima ultragreen!

02-15-2002, 12:02 AM
To me it makes no sense to skimp on the bussiness end of the system. What is the sense of buying $500 reels $700 rods and then pinching pennies on the $2 leader? Fly Fish America, the publication that they give away at the stores, had a comparison of floro in thier Gear Guide issue. It was quite interesting, it even gave a yd. by yd. comparison of price by manufacturer. At the end of the piece they mentioned a new generation of super floro that is 60% stronger for the same diameter. As an example the .010 dia. made by most companies tested out between 11 and 12 lbs. breaking strength, but the new super floro tested 16 lbs. for the same dia. , quite a bit of safty margin. Is it worth the extra $2? Please hold all ansewers till your on the beach and the biggest fish you ever hooked is swimming away with 6in. of leader trailing from it`s jaw. Also the specific gravity of floro is 1.7 whereas the gravity of nylon is 1.1, in other words the floro breaks thru the surface tension much faster and sinks at a faster rate than nylon.
I spent years fishing comm. off the beach and while you might use any old rod and a reel that had seen better days, the line, the essential link between man and fish was always the best that could be gotten.

02-15-2002, 05:08 AM
I have been using Maxima for years and like Juro love the ultragreen. In the salt I have used the clear Maxima with good success. Lately I have been using Umpqua fluoro which I like because it holds knots better than other brands of fluoro.

02-15-2002, 05:37 AM
:) I also use Maxima material with a flurocarbon tippet. I do do something different though, I use the ultragreen for the butt section. The reason being I can see the leader which acts like a strike indicator. The rest of the leader is clear with a flurocarbon tippet. I use the surgeons knot to tie the material together, rather than the blood knot, easier for me to tie. Leaders with knots though, are good mung catchers.:( If you are rich buy the one piece flurocarbon.:D

02-15-2002, 07:26 AM
I'm a big fan of "keep it simple stupid" so I use a 3-4' butt section of Maxima (I think -- but don't think it matters that much) with a surgeon's loop at the tag end. Throw a Bimini in one end of my tippet -- usually start with a 6' section. Once the tippet is too short, I simply loop on a new one.

For my super-sinkers, both "halves" of my "leader" start out shorter.


02-15-2002, 08:36 AM

This is the best discussion we've had in a while.

Now the important issues are coming out!

1. Cost vs. quality of tipppet material
2. Formula for tying your own leaders
3. Knots

RE: #1
I'm confident that if Stren charged 3X as much for their product and sold it through fly shops, a lot more people would use it.

Maybe I can make my millions by re-packaging it?! ;)

RE: #2
When I was a young & dedicated trout fly rodder, I dilligently tied up my leaders and adjusted them on stream as needed adding & changing tipppet per the fly, the method, etc...

I brought the same dedication to presentation to the salt 10 years ago. I'm sorry to say that only 4 years ago did I realize it's not (knot) that important. Sure, if you're sight casting to fish who are graduates of Never Been Hooked Grad School, I agree on using a long tapered leader with a fluoro tippet.

But, if you're blind casting current or the surf, I think you're wasting precious fishing time monkeying around with knots and leader material. Personally, I will use a section of 30# as a butt with a 20# tippett.

Knots can be fun or they can make you crazy. One morning when my fingers were not working right I decided to just join my tippet to my butt section with a surgeons loop. A few casts later I landed one of my biggest fish.

For surf I will be using one bimini on my 30# butt section as the loop to fly line connection and using whatever knot works for my tippet.

For flats, 30#, 20#, 12# fluro. Anyone ever try an Albright for mono to fluoro? I started using it last year for fluro & wire with no slipping.

Have fun.


John Desjardins
02-15-2002, 09:13 AM
I'm also one of the Maxima people. The properties of the line are consistent, and don't change every other year. There are some differences between the colors, chameleon is stiffer than ultragreen. Maxima sells leaders in freshwater sizes that use chameleon to give you a stiff butt, with ultragreen for a limp tippet. For freshwater use this is a nice factory leader, that I've been working on duplicating in a hand tied leader.

Roop, if you want low cost & will be using a lot of line get the reel fill pack of maxima. Just spool it onto a small spool before putting it in your pack, and leave the big spool in a cool dark place. That is what I do with my 6X trout tippets, it was ~ $7 for 330 yards of 2# ultragreen. At that price you don't feel bad about chucking the line on the spool in your pack away after it gets the 120 degree treatment in the back of a car.

The surgeons loop can hold well, If it has the correct # of turns and all strands of line are pulled tight. If not it can be a weak link in your line system. I find that I tie them strong at home, but weak on the water.

I'll second Juro's suggestion of the elastic spool bra's. The thermoformed cover Maxima supplies is terrible. In a pinch 1/2" wide elastic bands, recycled from brocoli, work for a spool bra.

Dble Haul
02-15-2002, 09:56 AM
Following the KISS principle for saltwater leaders, I've only ever used two types:

1. The Maxima that everyone is touting. This is good stuff.

2. Orvis Big Game. Very durable and has excellent physical properties that I look for in a leader.

I use the surgeon's knot for connecting tippets to butts, but sometimes I just go with about 6 feet of straight 20 or 14 lb leader, depending on water clarity and species. This really hasn't let me down yet, but I have a premonition that I'll be getting into fluoro if I'm gonna join any of you on the Cape flats this season. :)

02-15-2002, 05:05 PM
Floro all the way! Leader and tippit, very successful, but then again the last time I used Maxima I was in my first year of fishing and lets face it I sucked back then. :) My Bro, Hawkeye, used 36lb floro for Bones on the cape this summer. I forgot was his total bones for the season was...... Several? I'd say the stuff is invisable.

02-17-2002, 11:55 AM
This is an interesting discussion that sounds suspiciously like some of the ones we steelheaders have. As usual it comes down to personal preferences. While I have not (yet - until this July anyway) fished for stripers, their size and the basic tackle used seems similar and I'm reading that the leader requirements are similar, so my input seems fair.

For years I have been a Maxima fan and like John I buy the filler spool and transfer it onto a smaller leader wheel to fit in my vest. I love the durability of Maxima, and like Juro I am convinced that the fluro-carbon craze is one that makes more difference to fisherman than fish. However, having said that use whatever gives you confidence - it is worth whatever price you pay!

Sean mentioned that he is using the Airflo poly-leaders. I have been using the type III, IV and VI for 3 seasons as sink-tips with great results. This past season for my surface work I went with the clear intermediate leader with a tippet of #15 Maxima - it was the best leader set-up I have used. It turns over extremely well, it is tough and it gets just under the surface where I want my tubes. I use the Saltwater version of the poly-leaders as their core is #40 which allows me to use a #20, then #15 Maxima tippet. I suspect that when I come out to visit you guys and your Cape Cod stripers this summer that I will have a few of of these in tow!

02-19-2002, 07:44 AM
To address Roop's 3 topics:
"1. Cost vs. quality of tipppet material
2. Formula for tying your own leaders
3. Knots "

I offer this:

1. fly fishers will pay dearly for all the gear but become misers when it's time to buy the tying materials are the best example of this - how many on this board know the location at least 5 craft stores, thew general layout & where all the materials are in them?
My leaders are simple & relatively economical - yes, I buy the big spools when possible.

2. freshwater formulas aren't needed for salt - this fish don't care - I use a 40lb butt w/a 20lb tippet (going down to 15lb fluoro when needed)

3. knots - blood knots at home & on the water. I've had a lot of practice at this knot so I'm confident even with cold fingers.

fluor-to-mono connection: I still use bloods but surgeon's looks easy too.

02-19-2002, 04:11 PM
Maxima rules, don't leave home without it.

:smokin: :smokin:

02-19-2002, 08:30 PM
I honestly haven't seen much diffrence in the response from the fish-flouro over any other material. I like the way Maxima knots tie, nice and strong and the turns wrap nicely and stack so well when you tighten them down. I've used Maxima tippet for years but last year I started using Maxima as the but end of a level leader with a flouro tippet for stripers. There may be a better way to build a leader for stripers but this casts well and is pretty inexpensive.
I like the flexibility and smaller diameter of the flouro for trout because you lose nothing in break point strength but get it back in a smaller dia., limper and less visible tippet. It lays a tiny fly down gently in front of a trout like nothing else.

02-23-2002, 04:51 PM
testing avatar