CaryGreene

Leader Design - Saltwater and Freshwater

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A quick thanks to the OP, Mr. Greene, for all the info provided in this thread concerning leader design for saltwater. 

 

One day this past week I had the opportunity to fish the flats around the Brewster area (first time fly fishing the salt for me), and using the info here, was pretty happy with the way the leaders carried the flies.  Of course, I didn't catch anything, but fly fishing the salt for the first time, the catching was secondary in my mind.    

 

Though I consider myself an average fly rod caster, I was pretty happy with the distances and layouts I was getting with the leaders I made using the info provided here.  I won't be gun shy when a salt water fly fishing opportunity arises again.  

 

:th:

 

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On 7/1/2022 at 11:59 AM, snookster said:

ACA Tournament Leader Formulas


Please also see the rules for each event to understand the limititation for lengths and diameters of leaders.

A table for converting typical line diameters to their lb-test rating, see the end of this page.

Trout Fly leader by Steve Rajeffleader6.jpg
45 inches
0.024"
18 inches
0.021"
12 inches
0.018"
9 inches
0.014"
6 inches
0.011"
20-22 inches
0.008"
Total length: 9'2" - 9'4", Material: Maxima
Trout Fly leader by John Napolileader6.jpg
48 inches
0.027"
24 inches
0.019"
13 inches
0.017"
7 inches
0.015"
2 3/4 inches
0.013"
18 inches
0.008"
Total length: 9'4 3/4", For 6 weight line
Dry Fly leader by Steve Rajeffleader6.jpg
24 inches
0.024"
18 inches
0.021"
15 inches
0.018"
12 inches
0.014"
6 inches
0.011"
15-18 inches
0.009"
Total length: 7'6" - 7'9", Material: Maxima
Dry Fly leader by John Napolileader6.jpg
35 inches
0.022"
17 inches
0.018"
7.5 inches
0.016"
3.5 inches
0.015"
3 inches
0.014"
20 inches
0.009"
Total length: 7'2", For 7 weight line
Bass Bug leader by Steve RajeffLeader6.jpg
30 inches
0.028"
18 inches
0.024"
9 inches
0.021"
6 inches
0.018"
15-18 inches
0.014"
Total length: 6'6" - 6'9", Material: Maxima
Bass Bug leader by John Napolileader6.jpg
43 inches
0.030"
13 inches
0.028"
9 inches
0.022"
7 inches
0.019"
3 inches
0.017"
12 inches
0.014"
Total length: 7'4", For 8 or 9 weight lines
Angler's Fly Distance leader by Steve Rajeffleader4.jpg
48 inches
0.022"
24 inches
0.018"
12 inches
0.016"
24-60 inches
0.014"
Total length: 9' - 12' (*), Material: Maxima
Angler's Fly Distance leader by Chris Korichleader4.jpg
48 inches
0.022"
24(36) inches
0.018"
12(24) inches
0.016"
24-30(30-36) inches
0.014"
Total length: 9' - 9'6"(11'6" - 12') (*), Material: Maxima, tippet is Golden Stren
Single-Hand Fly Distance leader by Steve Rajeffleader4.jpg
36-48 inches
0.022"
24-36 inches
0.018"
12-24 inches
0.016"
24-36 inches
0.014"
Total length: 8' - 12' (*), Material: Maxima
Single-Hand Fly Distance leader by Chris Korichleader4.jpg
36(48) inches
0.025"
18(24) inches
0.022"
6(12) inches
0.018"
24 inches
0.017"
Total length: 7'(9') (*), Material: Maxima, Tippet is Golden Stren
Two-Handed Fly Distance leader by Steve Rajeffleader4.jpg
60 inches
0.028"
36-48 inches
0.024"
36 inches
0.022"
36-60 inches
0.018"
Total length: 14' - 17' (*), Material: Maxima
Two-Handed Fly Distance leader by Chris Korichleader5.jpg

 

60 inches
0.033"
36(48) inches
0.028"
24(36) inches
0.025"
12(24) inches
0.022"
24(36) inches
0.018"
Total length: 13'(17') (*), Material: Maxima, tippet is Golden Stren
Skish Fly leader by Steve Rajeff leader4.jpg
30 inches
0.025"
18 inches
0.022"
12 inches
0.018"
15-18 inches
0.016"
Total length: 6'3" - 6'6", for 8 to 10 weight lines
* Distance leaders should be adjusted for the conditions of the day. Generally, favorable conditions like back wind and low humidity allow long leaders. Use shorter leaders for no or unpredictable wind and high humidity.
Maxima line diameters and labeled lb-test (revised 1/06)
.028" .024" .022" .020" .018" .015" .0145" .0135" .0115" .0095" .008"
50 lb 40 lb 30 lb 25 lb 20 lb 15 lb 12 lb 10 lb 8 lb 6 lb 5 lb

 

I thought this might be of interest to those participating in this thread.

Hi Snookster, you bet it's interesting! Thanks for posting the info for us!

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5 hours ago, Niveker said:

A quick thanks to the OP, Mr. Greene, for all the info provided in this thread concerning leader design for saltwater. 

 

One day this past week I had the opportunity to fish the flats around the Brewster area (first time fly fishing the salt for me), and using the info here, was pretty happy with the way the leaders carried the flies.  Of course, I didn't catch anything, but fly fishing the salt for the first time, the catching was secondary in my mind.    

 

Though I consider myself an average fly rod caster, I was pretty happy with the distances and layouts I was getting with the leaders I made using the info provided here.  I won't be gun shy when a salt water fly fishing opportunity arises again.  

 

:th:

 

Hi Niveker, thank you for the cool feedback!! Really glad to hear things were working well. Any day we get on the water is a good one, catching is a bonus not always fated to happen. Sounds like you had a great day!.

 

I came to believe at some point, that sheer time on the water accounts more than any other factor, towards successful catching.

 

Think about how much time gulls spend NOT flying. They seem to know when nothing's happening. I hope you get another opportunity soon! Do check in when that happens, and in the meantime, Happy 4th!

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I've used something similar to the lighting formula for fresh since I started but once I started saltwater fishing all the knots in the leader caught seaweed so I switched to a single piece of 20lb and reduced the amount of snagged weeds. The estuaries I fished were always loaded with weeds. I'm curious if anyone uses the knotted leaders in these conditions. 

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14 hours ago, Bwt570 said:

I've used something similar to the lighting formula for fresh since I started but once I started saltwater fishing all the knots in the leader caught seaweed so I switched to a single piece of 20lb and reduced the amount of snagged weeds. The estuaries I fished were always loaded with weeds. I'm curious if anyone uses the knotted leaders in these conditions. 

Out of curiosity, how many sections did your Leaders feature?

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Carey-

 

I've been wading through and enjoying the thread as well. Thanks for rhe effort.

 

In the past I've seen suggestions to use the same manufacturer's mono for all segments to get consistent behavior.

 

Curious whether you think it matters. I just got some 50# Triplefish for butt sections, and even that will be .031" diameter at best.

 

Going to 60 lb and above will maintain the ratios, but it seems to me it would result in huge, bulky knots.

 

Any thoughts?

 

Thx!

 

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1 min ago, C. Regalis said:

Carey-

 

I've been wading through and enjoying the thread as well. Thanks for rhe effort.

 

In the past I've seen suggestions to use the same manufacturer's mono for all segments to get consistent behavior.

 

Curious whether you think it matters. I just got some 50# Triplefish for butt sections, and even that will be .031" diameter at best.

 

Going to 60 lb and above will maintain the ratios, but it seems to me it would result in huge, bulky knots.

 

Any thoughts?

 

Thx!

 

Hi C,

 

Couple of questions okay -

  1. What Sized(es) Line are you making Leaders for?
  2. I'm assuming you're saltwater fishing?

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9 mins ago, C. Regalis said:

Carey-

 

I've been wading through and enjoying the thread as well. Thanks for rhe effort.

 

In the past I've seen suggestions to use the same manufacturer's mono for all segments to get consistent behavior.

 

Curious whether you think it matters. I just got some 50# Triplefish for butt sections, and even that will be .031" diameter at best.

 

Going to 60 lb and above will maintain the ratios, but it seems to me it would result in huge, bulky knots.

 

Any thoughts?

 

Thx!

 

50# Triple Fish material would be suitable for some 7wt lines and most 6wt lines as well. It has a diameter of .028" - meanwhile, the 60# Triple fish would be suitable for 8wt lines as it has a diameter of .031". It's also close enough to match with a 9wt line, though most likely not optiamal. 

 

The 80#, at .035" would be good for 10wt lines. It generally doesn't matter if the Tippet matches your Butt material but ideally, you'd like your Butt and Midssection to match - though it is easily possible to still make a very workable leader even if Butt and Mid-Sections don't match. 

 

Avoid combining Mono and Fluorocarbon with blood knots. That said, by all means, a Mono leader's mid section will work fine with a Fluorocarbon tippet as well. Use a no slip knot lke the Harvey knot (since has been referred to as the Orvis knot, though no one at Orvis invented that knot, as George Harvey was the first to use it). 

 

62c22259df58e_Screenshot2022-07-037_12_04PM.png.6940cfc56ddfaa3aa1f45138d0f95824.png

 

 

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45 mins ago, CaryGreene said:

Hi C,

 

Couple of questions okay -

  1. What Sized(es) Line are you making Leaders for?
  2. I'm assuming you're saltwater fishing?

 

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Mea culpa - I should have specified.

 

Saltwater- yes. And normally I'm fishing either a single hand 10 weight line or a skagit head with tips on my two handers.

 

I pretty well knew what the numbers would dictate... (from reading through the thread) and your thoughts suggest to me that it's time to add to my knot tying repertoire. 

 

I've always defaulted to blood knots (and I'll even admit to using perfection loops at the tippet to facilitate adding a new one on the water).

 

Can't even imagine how big blood knots would be on 80# mono !

Edited by C. Regalis

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2 mins ago, C. Regalis said:

Mea culpa - I should have specified.

 

Saltwater- yes. And normally I'm fishing either a single hand 10 weight line or a skagit head with tips on my two handers.

 

I pretty well knew what the numbers would dictate... (from reading through the thread) and your thoughts suggest to me that it's time to add to my knot tying repertoire. 

 

I've always defaulted to blood knots (and I'll even admit to using perfection loops at the tippet to facilitate adding a new one on the water).

 

Can't even imagine how big blood knots would be on 80# mono !

I also fish at 10wt  quite a bit. The fly line tip has a loop in it and it connects to the Leader Butt via a Perfection Loop. 

 

Then there is one single blood knot, connecting the heavy butt section to the lighter midsection. It's not a large profile.knot at all. It's a simple five turn knot, which if snugged down properly causes no issues at all. 

 

Give it a try and see what you think. I've been using these leaders for the past 20 years and never had any issues related to knot sizes. 

 

Lightning Leaders have only two Blood Knots. In order to facilitate a straight line presentation, the Blood Knot is absolutely the proper knot to use.

 

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On 6/30/2022 at 2:54 PM, CaryGreene said:

Hi Jake, Seaguar makes very consistent Fluorocarbon and that's been a long time. Favorite of mine along with Yozuri HD Pink. I would classify the Yozui as more of a medium and the Seaguar as more of medium-stiff. 

 

Any of the major brands are pretty decent and it really comes down to getting a good price on the stuff because it's not cheap! 

Perfect! (I was using the Seaguar and liking it.) :)

 

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43 mins ago, Bwt570 said:

Usually 3 sections.

Unfortunately, that's enough to cause a problem in weedy areas for sure. Commercially made Leaders do offer a smooth taper and though their Butt-Sections are rarely thick, or long, enough - you might get better turnover characteristics with them opposed to a level Leader. 

 

When using smaller to medium sized, non weighted flies, it's probably fine to use a level leader for basic chuck and duck fishing. Level Leaders obviously don't give straight line presentations unless the flies are pretty small but the benefit is the knots aren't snag points for seaweed and debris. 

 

If the debris is thick, even two knots actually can be a problem. Almost always, during the first few hours of an outgoing tide, if you're fishing near an outflow or a serious channel that connects a large estuarial salt-pond, you will see borderline rediculous levels of debris - at which point, you have to sacrifice turnover in order to even make a single cast and under those cirumstances, your fly comes back caked with debris anyway. 

 

One thing you can do to further minimize the debris issue in extremely cluttered water is to switch to a floathing line and a purely monofilament leader and tippet. Forutunately, debris has neutral buoyancy so the floating line and the monofilament are the best way to stay above all that debris.  Another thing you can do is try to dead drift, rather than strip back to your position. Single-Spey casting techniques come into play in situations like this. 

 

** Side note for our readers, should you use Mono or Fluoro?

62c3813c5eecf_MonoorFuoro.jpeg.dd188f36d4bed2fe8e60d8d432f1270a.jpeg

62c381775ed21_LeaderMaterials.jpeg.8f2418c7ccfc7d9f705ab9071f1cb509.jpeg

 

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Man great thread & appreciate all this info. wished I had found it earlier!

 

Have been having an issue with leaders not turning over straight (curling - usually left) in the salt. I d use a leader straightner but still having issues. I also tried Momoi Diamond High Catch 50# on the butt vs. the BG  or Ande. It's .0295 but for me it's much tougher to tie a knot with. The BG 50 is advertised as .028 diam.

 

I usually use Big Game or Ande for the leader material with a fluoro tippet.  Any thought on Vanish or Yo-Zuri fluoro as leader material? Reason I ask is because I have a lot of it.  I know Maxima Ultragreen is supposed to be too supple. 

 

I'll also try switching over to blood knots next.

 

Thanks again for all this great info!

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