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flyfisha1 04-24-2004 11:45 AM

A fundamental question of leader design
Tapered leaders are quite pricey, leading many fly fisherman to start building their own. The trouble as I see it is that leader material is also pretty expensive for the puny length that comes on a spool. Because of this, I opted to buy bulk spools of mono and fluoro last year to make my leaders with, using the same material in each leader (not mixing mono and fluoro, though I think that when making leaders with double-nail knots it doesn't matter if you mix with regards to the slipperiness) and tying freshwater and saltwater leaders alike, all the way down to the tippet. The thing is, I never asked the question of others as to whether this was a wide-spread practice, particularly in freshwater trout fishing where tippet size is so thin. I've hooked and landed plenty of fish with these leaders (more with fluoro than mono), and never had a failure at a knot, so it's not an issue of landing fish, but perhaps more one of material softness that affects the number of fish that are interested in the fly at the end of the line.

So assuming that regular mono or fluoro can be purchased having the same approximate diameters as the much more expensive spools of tippet material, does it make more sense to
go this route? Comments?

flyjkol 04-24-2004 08:27 PM

yes and no, mainly yes
I do the same thing that you do, and end up buying 300yds of p-line flourocarbon, and tie my own leaders with it. The little spools of tippet can be pretty handy out on the water though. Most people whom I've talked about this say that the leader spools in general are higher quality, but as long as the line you are using is of high quality, I think it makes no difference. While high quality flourocarbons and such may cost $7-$10, compared to those 30yd tippet spools your'e getting a tremendous value. Plus the large spools can easily last a season or two, unless you fish like me and change flies every 3 minutes. :hehe:

flyfisha1 04-26-2004 09:11 AM

I know what you mean about the smaller size of tippet spools. It's not a problem for me any longer, however, as I carry everything I need in a roomy fanny pack, so a couple of 300-yd. spools of line fit in easily. The other thing I've done is take spent tippet spools, as well as the little ones that cheap backing comes on, and re-load them with 20-yds. or so of line from a larger spool.

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