leader length??? - Fly Fishing Forum
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Old 05-15-2005, 08:05 AM
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leader length???

i am using a 7 ' leader for brookies. just wondering if i should be using a longer leader or maybe shorter. what do u use?

nate
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Old 05-15-2005, 11:15 AM
John Desjardins John Desjardins is offline
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There is no cut and dry answer to what leader length is best for all fly fishing. Your 7' leader is probably the right length if the brookies are not leader shy and you are fishing flowing water.

To me leader length is dependent upon the conditions. In most conditions I will use a 7 1/2 to 10 ft leader. I will go shorter that that for a couple of reasons; very small streams, fishing with a sink tip or laziness after cutting off several flies. When fishing in very clear water to spooky fish where I want a drag free presentation, or on a stillwater I will go longer than that.

Size of the tippet and its length is as important as overall length. I suggest a search on that topic as I think we've discussed that in the past.
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Old 05-15-2005, 11:16 AM
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pescaphile pescaphile is offline
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You're probably alright using a 7' leader though it might be a bit short. A general rule-of-thumb for leader length (for floating lines) is that the leader length matches the length of your rod. So, for a 9' rod, you'd use a 9' leader... a 14' leader for a 14' two-handed rod, etc.

For sinking and sink-tip lines a shorter leader is in order, 3 to 6' is typical.
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Old 05-15-2005, 11:31 AM
stonefly1013 stonefly1013 is offline
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Wink

Quote:
Originally Posted by pescaphile
You're probably alright using a 7' leader though it might be a bit short. A general rule-of-thumb for leader length (for floating lines) is that the leader length matches the length of your rod. So, for a 9' rod, you'd use a 9' leader... a 14' leader for a 14' two-handed rod, etc.

For sinking and sink-tip lines a shorter leader is in order, 3 to 6' is typical.

not trying to make waves . i have used a 12 foot leader on a 9 foot rod in the salt
and 12 foot leaders on a 9 foot rod in fresh water to spooky trout. there is a leader formula i use it starts with the right type of mono i use stiff mono like rio max or maxima chameleon for the but and mid and a limp mono for the tippet like maxima ultra green. the reason for the stiff mono is for turn over of the leaders.
i tye them in three section butt, mid, tippet . put it this way less knots = more stelth. so in other word there is two knot in your leader. point is some times you have to adjust your leader to different conditions. some of the stuff i quoted like short sink tip leaders and the 14 foot for two handed rods is correct rule of thum but some time you have to adjust.



good luck and tight lines stoney1013...........

Last edited by stonefly1013; 05-15-2005 at 11:36 AM.
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Old 05-15-2005, 11:35 AM
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Lightbulb It's a personal thing

N2F,

As said, leader length depends on lots of things.

Shy fish will "merit" a longer leader and possibly a "finer" tippet.

I'm from the BC interior, so we're used to REALLY long leaders on still wter. I kept this habit (as that's what I'm used to casting).

Typically, my leaders ar 2x to 2.5x the length of the rod. This means, when I string up in the morning, on a 10 ft XP, I'll use a 22-25 ft leader (including the tippet).

ALL leaders, no matter the length, have to be "balanced". That is the right taper from the butt to the tippet to be able to turn over the fly correctly.

Play around with the leader length and taper. You'll be suprised at the length of leader you can get away with.

All part of the game.
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Old 05-26-2005, 07:45 PM
FrankF FrankF is offline
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I tend to take a different approach if I am nymph fishing the bottom. My leader is twice the length of the depth of the water so that the fly can drift the bottom using a floating line. If the water is really deep than I use a sinking line and the leader is 7ft to 9ft.
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Old 05-27-2005, 12:03 AM
DEERHAAWK DEERHAAWK is offline
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And the Winner Is!

I take a 15' leader, trim off about the first 2', then add about 3' of tippet. This I use for stream / river and top-stillwater 5wt floating on a 9' rod. Works great, but I switch out for small water / sinking situations.

DH
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Old 05-27-2005, 07:16 AM
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I start with a 12' 5X-7X leader and tie on flies until the leader is about 9' long, then I take it off my trout rod and put it on my bass rod. When it gets to about 7' long I chuck it. Personally, I wouldn't use a 7' leader for trout. They're just too easily spooked IMHO. Maybe if you were on a virgin stream you could get away with it, but even if I'm fishing in the North Maine Woods where there's no fishing pressure, I still use a long leader. I haven't really found that remote locations make trout less skittish, if anything it makes them more skittish since they're not used to people/fishing/lines. So I'd go with a longer leader if I were you.

I hate having to tie on tippet, so I consider leaders expendable. Plus I picked up a large supply of them when an Orvis near me was going out of business, so I have about 20+ 5X-7X leaders. I just consider it one of the costs of fishing!
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Old 05-27-2005, 08:16 AM
BigDave BigDave is offline
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7 foot leaders are quite appropriate for nymphing shallow riffles. By reducing the length of butt section between your indicator and fly line you reduce drag and can mend more easily. Also effective for high-stick nymphing where you want to keep as much line off the water as you can.

Not good for dries but it all depends on the situation...
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Old 05-27-2005, 08:39 AM
chromer chromer is offline
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IMHO - Tying tippet, tapers and constructing leaders is flyfishing 101.

Do you buy all your flies as well?


Quote:
Originally Posted by teflon_jones
I hate having to tie on tippet, so I consider leaders expendable. Plus I picked up a large supply of them when an Orvis near me was going out of business, so I have about 20+ 5X-7X leaders. I just consider it one of the costs of fishing!
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Old 05-27-2005, 09:32 AM
GreenDrake GreenDrake is offline
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Trout Leader Configuration - Per Lefty Kreh

Below is a nice summary from Lefty Kreh on leader selection for trout. As stated above it will vary with the conditions.

"If the water is turbulent, such as in a riffle or if the surface is ruffled by wind or current, then a short 7 1/2-foot leader is required. If the water is slick calm, the splashdown of the fly line needs to be placed as far away from the fly as possible. The more wary the trout and the calmer the surface, the longer the leader required ó as much as 15 feet. The smaller the flies used, the lighter the tippet required to permit the fly to drift in a natural manner."


GUIDELINES FOR TROUT FISHING LEADERS

When dry fly fishing with small flies on a calm lake or stream, you may need a 15-foot leader tapered to a 5, 6 or 7X.


On a windy day on the same lake or stream when the surface is rippled by the breeze, a shorter leader such as a 7 1/2-foot leader tapered to a 5, 6 or 7X may be needed.


When fishing the same size dry flies on a smaller mountain brook where the water is calm but the pools are short, choose a 9-foot leader tapered to a 5, 6 or 7X. This is probably the most popular of trout leaders.


When fishing emergers or nymphs when the surface is calm or the water is deep, you will need a 12-foot leader. When the surface is rippled or the water is rather shallow, a shorter 9-foot leader may be best.


When casting heavy streamers and nymphs, the longer leaders make turning over the cast properly a difficult chore. A 9-foot leader works much better.


When fishing for larger trout, use the strongest tippet that will permit you to drift or work the fly properly. In catch and release fishing, youíre defeating the purpose to hook a larger trout on a 7X tippet and fight the fish until itís exhausted. You should try to land the fish as quickly as possible so it can be returned in good condition.
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Old 05-27-2005, 10:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chromer
IMHO - Tying tippet, tapers and constructing leaders is flyfishing 101.

Do you buy all your flies as well?
17 years ago when I took fly fishing 101, I did that. Now I think that my time is better spent fishing than struggling to tie two pieces of miniscule 2.2 lb tippet/line together!

These days, I find that a 12' leader outlives its useful life by the time I've tied on enough flies to use up 3' of the head. I don't swap flies often, and when I do, I don't use a lot of extra line. So far this year in 30+ freshwater fishing trips, I've gone through 1 leader and am now on my second. The first leader got chaffed on something, so it was time to let it go. Tying on tippet wouldn't have saved it!

As for tying your own tapers, to each his own. Personally, I love knotless tapered leaders. I figure why tie your own tapers when you can get superior ones pre-made for you? I understand some people like to tie their own because they work better for them, but not for me.

As for tying flies, I just started this winter. I think it's an enjoyable hobby, but I still plan on buying most of my small trout flies. I don't see the need to spend $200 on materials to tie 50 flies I can buy for $50. As for the larger LMB and striper flies, I've already tied a bunch!
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Old 06-12-2005, 03:39 PM
flyaddict flyaddict is offline
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Cool

I usually get a standard leader (9'). I usually fish with it until it is about 7-6' long, then if I am on the river I add 7 lb. regular fishing line. I know it's not too traditional, but it works!
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Old 06-13-2005, 05:32 PM
Nooksack Mac Nooksack Mac is offline
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Too short/too long?

As we can see from the above answers, fly anglers use leaders over an extreme range of lengths. It may seem to make no sense, but there is a logical explanation. Here in steelhead country, when we're fishing a carefully chosen sinking tip or head to fish on the stream bottom, we're usually fishing leaders from three to five feet long, because we've found that longer leaders are more bouyant than the sinking tip, so the fly on a 7-9-foot leader may ride too high. These short leaders work fine.

If we're casting dry flies over still water in bright light, the traditional 12-foot "long" leader is often too short, allowing the trout to see and be spooked by the fly line. A longer leader, 15-17 feet, is more of a challenge to cast, but often makes a difference.

The explanation for the difference is that in the latter case, the trout's attention is oriented upward. The trout has just eaten emergers or winged adults, and is looking for more, on the surface. But the trout is also cautious. The adult trout has seen and survived more than one instance of death suddenly swooping from above; many of its peers were not so lucky.

Fish feeding or resting near the bottom may be just as hungry, but are not apprehensive about things that float by at its level. So the short leader and drab sinktip are not perceived as threats.

Long leaders are oftentimes employed for reasons other than stealth. When fishing along the bottom with a floating line, one has to use a longer leader to reach the bottom, often in conjunction with weights on the lower leader or the fly. Fly anglers fishing with chironomid pupae or other small, emerging flies often use extra long leaders, even 20 feet plus, because they want to see the end of the floating line as a strike indicator, but they're allowing the fly to sink deep, even to the vertical, then is slowly retrieved. (Chironomids can emerge from lake bottoms 40 feet or more deep.) Finally, long leaders are usually used with floating lines on spey rods because they turn over better, at more or less the same rythym as an unfolding spey cast.

Sometimes we just have to compromise. When fishing dry flies on small, overgrown streams, there's just no room for a conventionally long leader plus some fly line beyond the tip of the rod. So we scale down the tackle. Under those conditions, a seven-foot leader for dry fly fishing can be a reasonable choice.
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Old 06-14-2005, 01:40 AM
ashbourn ashbourn is offline
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Another thing to think about is the the longer the leader the harder it can be to set the hook. For ever foot of leader you add the more slack you will get in your line, the more slack the harder it is to set the hook fast. Though you will get more hits if your casting leaves too much slack in your line you will land fewer fish. Again it all comes down to conditions and you. I tend to stick with 9-12 foot leaders for dry fishing but when fishing small streams with a six foot rod I might go as short as 6ft.
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