squammer

Another Leader Question: Adding Stiffer Butt Section to Leader?

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I have been using a ~6' straight piece of 20lb Segur Fluoro as my leader for flies and have never used anything else. I had mainly used deceivers and other smaller flies and this leader seemed to work fine (I've only been doing this for ~3/4 of a season so what do I know?). Now that I am starting to use bigger and heavier flies, I am reading that having a stiffer leader might help casting these larger/heaver flies. I have read that adding a stiffer ~50lb section of mono/fluoro to the end of the fly line can help --- one would just attach their 20lb leader to this 50lb butt section. Another approach I have read is to just use a straight piece of 30lb for the leader. 

 

If I were to try using the 50lb butt section approach, my plan would be to tie a 2-3' long piece of 50lb mono with double surgeons loops at both ends -- one end will go loop-to-loop to the fly line and the other end will go loop-to-loop to the 20lb fluoro section. I like loops because I can switch out flies that are pre-tied to their own leaders. 

 

Does the above make sense?

 

Edited by squammer

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Posted (edited) · Report post

for many years I always did, as per Lefty Kreh (9ft) 5 ft of 40#, 2.5 ft of 25# and 1.5 ft of 12 or 10lb (all berkely big game) except Fluoro for the 10 or 12#

worked for 15 years and have never found a reason to change it, add a 60# bite tippet if blues are the target

 

Perfection Loop - Blood knot or surgeons knot, and the tippet i like an albright 

Edited by Sandflee

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Stiffer leader makes it harder for line to turn it straight! When line is supple it waste less energy and perhaps line loop also morphs narrower. Leader can be considered as an extension of fly line. When I want to use very strong leader I use Nylon and boil it in water which has some vinegar and it turns soft and stretchy as well. When it is stored in zip-lock bag which has wet paper it stay soft quite long time.

 

Esa

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I used what you have on for a long time, but have switched to 4' or 40 lb. hard mono, blood knot (4 turn/5 turn) to 3' of 30 lb. hard mono, loop to 2' 20 lb. tippet. The straight mono approach is fine for stripers, but on flats when traveling you'll need more. I figure it's better to get used to using tapered all the time. Measurements are eyeballed for me, I noticed last night I was trying to throw a 12' leader in the wind lol. Not sure where I screwed that up...

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The army’s got longer, that  happens when you use the eyeball method of  stretching many sections  butt material 

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5 hours ago, squammer said:

I have been using a ~6' straight piece of 20lb Segur Fluoro as my leader . I have read that adding a stiffer ~50lb section of mono/fluoro to the end of the fly line can help --- 

 

I never tried so different size sections and I read somewhere that 10 Lb between is just right..I think 30+20 Lb and 4'+4'  will do your trick. Most of the time I fish 25+15 Lb for medium sizes and weights clousers with blood between and perfexion for the butt section.

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2 hours ago, Mark Ham said:

I never tried so different size sections and I read somewhere that 10 Lb between is just right..I think 30+20 Lb and 4'+4'  will do your trick. Most of the time I fish 25+15 Lb for medium sizes and weights clousers with blood between and perfexion for the butt section.

I’ll do this. Thanks!

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Esa is correct.  A very stiff butt section, if significantly long, is a real loop killer.  I recently re-educated myself on this fact when, on the water staked out for tarpon, I decided to tie myself a longer leader.  Since the leader was going to be long, wanting mass to maintain loop energy I used 5' of 80# stuff I was using for a bite tippet.  What an absolute dog that, combined with the wind resistance of a 10 wt floating head, simply would not close the loop less than 3-4 feet and my distance dropped by 1/3.

 

You mention "bigger" and "heavier" flies.  In my experience those can be two very different critters for casting.  The issues are wind resistance and weight.  One can have a very light and wind resistant fly like a popper, where it will take a lot of energy carried through the loop AND through the leader to pull that fly all the way out to the end, or a large but also heavy fly whose weight and momentum will carry it out the leader length.  And, similarly, one might talk about a very heavy but small profile fly that is going to act like a ricocheting lead ball on the end of the leader......or.....again, have a balanced combination of profile for wind resistance to dissipate the momentum of the fly but still enough weight so as not to over-tax the work the leader has to do to turn it over.

 

Wow, this is something I have not thought about for decades......the "flight" characteristics of the fly.  Take your "big" or "heavy" fly in your hand and THROW it!  The bushy but light fly/popper won't go more than a foot or three.  The heavy but slim fly will bounce off the far wall of the room.  Those two extremes demand very specific leader adjustments.  5-8 feet of flight is about right.  That means that the speed (momentum) of the fly when the loop of the cast reached the leader will almost be enough to carry it out the length of the leader WITHOUT ANY ADDITIONAL ENERGY NEEDED FROM THE LEADER "TURN-OVER".  Therefore it becomes relatively easy for the leader to supply enough to complete the turn-over.....especially into some head wind.

 

The answer for the big but light, wind resistant fly is a shorter, butt dominant, heavier leader since that leader has a lot of work to do and can't do it forever. The answer for the heavy, slim, momentum-dominant fly is not so elegant because turn-over is not the question but instead how to slow the fly down and dissipate the energy.....and greater leader length is not a good option as the gravitational drop of the fly during the cast will make it dangerous.  In this case a stiffer leader might help, moderate length, and wear a full face screen motorcycle helmet.  Or DUCK!.

 

When one throws in the overall leader length variable, it would seem that the whole issue becomes impossibly complicated.  But the good news is most flies have reasonable "flight" characteristics and perform well with most average leaders, especially in the salt water world where a thistle-down fly landing is rarely necessary and the fish are rarely leader shy.    Shortening or lengthening the tippet usually solves most turnover issues if indeed they should or must be solved.

 

But make no mistake, there really is a "perfect" leader to match almost every different fly characteristic and even every head/tail wind situation.  I know that because, once or twice every decade I stumble upon a match whereupon, in terms of turn-over, everything works just right, cast after cast.  But that is more complicated to pursue than I will ever have patience or time for.  We all get along with "close enough" and make some casting stroke or power adjustments or shorten/lengthen the tippet.

 

One of the few, most common universals in fly fishing/casting is the recommendation of 40# or lighter for the butt section.  And after my recent re-education with a 5' section of 80#......I vividly know why.  Go overboard on the stiffness and it is a real loop killer.  

Edited by Peter Patricelli

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I have long since settled on a three piece leader that has never failed me.

 

4 feet of 30 lb mono nail knotted to 2 ft of 25 lb mono with a perfection loop to connect to 4 feet of 20 pound mono of tippet.

 

this set up never failed and the 4 ft tippet allowed for fine tuning to Flouro if   Needed for Albies.

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I am loving all these responses. Thanks.

 

A loop to loop connection is something I rely on to swap out flies easy. I pre-tie a leader to each fly and keep them in a small snack sized ziplock. 

 

Based on all these replies, I am going to start my experimenting with a 3’ piece of 30lb fluoro with a double surgeons loop on both ends. One end will be used to connect to the fly line fused loop via loop to loop connection and the other end of this 30lb leader will have a loop. Each of my flies will have a shortened pre-ties leader of 3’ of 20lb fluoro so I can go loop to loop onto the 30lb section so I can still swap out flies quickly. 

 

Does this make sense? I fear that there may be too many loop to loop connections here!

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No - it doesn't make sense because you will have a 3' pig-tail attached to the fly that will not straighten.  Your fly will be attached to a cork screw.

Use your Butt of 50#, 40#, 30# whatever you like - tapered or not (I prefer it) - barrel knot 3' of 20# and change flys until the 3' becomes too short  and then cut the butt just above the barrel and tie on another 3' of 20#.

That will probably be at home after 2 or 3 outings.

Also - loop knots love to catch weed.

Herb

Edited by HL

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On 5/16/2019 at 4:23 PM, stormy monday said:

I used what you have on for a long time, but have switched to 4' or 40 lb. hard mono, blood knot (4 turn/5 turn) to 3' of 30 lb. hard mono, loop to 2' 20 lb. tippet. The straight mono approach is fine for stripers, but on flats when traveling you'll need more. I figure it's better to get used to using tapered all the time. Measurements are eyeballed for me, I noticed last night I was trying to throw a 12' leader in the wind lol. Not sure where I screwed that up...

^^^ That's my take too. 

 

1 hour ago, Mike Oliver said:

Or just buy a nice relatively expensive tapered leader. I think Rio might sell them.

 

oly

Rio and others. 

 

Building leaders is one of those minor crafts that comes with fly angling.  I find it too much fun to give up. 

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Brian and a man with a good brain like yours. Tying knots in mono is fun?

 

Ready mades  are for guys who either can’t be arsed or just crap at tying knots or who find the whole topic of leaders  a complete mystery or as interesting as watching paint dry.

It is about time you came back to the Cape Cod crew. Now that is fun. There is always  some hapless sod weakened by drink who needs little persuasion to tye you flies or make up any leader you wish  for.

 

You really need to be fishing from shore again.

 

plus we miss you.

 

oly

Edited by Mike Oliver

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