CaryGreene

Leader Design - Saltwater and Freshwater

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I'd add one thing to leader formulas: don't be married to them. Lengthening and lightening tippet,  and sometimes for spooky big fish, the entire leader can have large payoffs, pun intended.  Stripers do get leader shy, it's been battle tested. In bright sunlight, especially with boat traffic or in skinny water, if you get follows, tailed flies or just plain eau de skunk, try  lighter, less visible connection between line and fly.  Wait a tick more on the backcast before the forward stroke to compensate for longer, lighter leaders. 

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7 hours ago, gman1253 said:

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!

Glad you are enjoying the thread so far! I'm a big fan of using supplies of whatever you have opposed to buying new material. I do have a couple of thoughts though.

 

YoZuri HD Fluorocarbon comes in two forms. One is clear and is very, very supple and soft for fluorocarbon. It might be one of the softer fluorocarbons. I've seen. The HD pink on the other hand is a little bit stiffer, but it's still pretty pliable. That said it does work okay for leaders. 

 

Seaguar seems to be one of the better materials out there that I've tried. It's a little stiffer and harder than most others. So if and when you are next replenishing your fluorocarbon stashes, maybe look at that one as possibility.

 

There is a push in the industry now to create thinner material with higher breaking strengths. Many companies are now doing that and that's great for the sake or Tippet material, but (pun intended), Butts are really more about having a diameter that's slightly smaller than your fly lines tip and then of course we're looking for medium stiff material as a general rule of thumb.

 

The other thing to consider with all leader materials is abrasion resistance. Berkeley Vanish isn't great in that department for some reason as a high volume tackle dealer there seemed to be a number of complaints about that. 

 

Most of the materials I've endorsed in this thread are just ones that I've used and had great luck with but also that many many customers gave a ton of great feedback on.

 

That said, there's always more than one way to skin a cat, so use what you have and then maybe explore some other options when the time is right. Just make sure your diameters are what you focus on for now. So if you have great supplies of existing material, use it up! 

 

 

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20 hours ago, CaryGreene said:

Glad you are enjoying the thread so far! I'm a big fan of using supplies of whatever you have opposed to buying new material. I do have a couple of thoughts though.

 

YoZuri HD Fluorocarbon comes in two forms. One is clear and is very, very supple and soft for fluorocarbon. It might be one of the softer fluorocarbons. I've seen. The HD pink on the other hand is a little bit stiffer, but it's still pretty pliable. That said it does work okay for leaders. 

 

Seaguar seems to be one of the better materials out there that I've tried. It's a little stiffer and harder than most others. So if and when you are next replenishing your fluorocarbon stashes, maybe look at that one as possibility.

 

There is a push in the industry now to create thinner material with higher breaking strengths. Many companies are now doing that and that's great for the sake or Tippet material, but (pun intended), Butts are really more about having a diameter that's slightly smaller than your fly lines tip and then of course we're looking for medium stiff material as a general rule of thumb.

 

The other thing to consider with all leader materials is abrasion resistance. Berkeley Vanish isn't great in that department for some reason as a high volume tackle dealer there seemed to be a number of complaints about that. 

 

Most of the materials I've endorsed in this thread are just ones that I've used and had great luck with but also that many many customers gave a ton of great feedback on.

 

That said, there's always more than one way to skin a cat, so use what you have and then maybe explore some other options when the time is right. Just make sure your diameters are what you focus on for now. So if you have great supplies of existing material, use it up! 

 

 

Thanks for the thread Cary -- I'm traveling up north so I don't have all my stuff with me., but I re-did a few leaders following your advice w/ heavier butt sections & blood knots with UV. Much better turnover for sure even with Big Game 50 (biggest diameter I have w/ me) & a limper Stroft tippet or 30# Vanish. 

 

All the best -- MG

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3 mins ago, gman1253 said:

Thanks for the thread Cary -- I'm traveling up north so I don't have all my stuff with me., but I re-did a few leaders following your advice w/ heavier butt sections & blood knots with UV. Much better turnover for sure even with Big Game 50 (biggest diameter I have w/ me) & a limper Stroft tippet or 30# Vanish. 

 

All the best -- MG

Sounds good MG, with prices being what they are these days, it's always good to just wait until you find a sale on leader material. In the meantime, "smoke 'em if you got e'm!" (meaning, use what you have on hand!) I'm sure your results will be somewhat better. 

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Cary,

 

I’ve read through the thread, but if these questions have already been addressed, I apologize for missing them. 

 

How do you deal with the shortening tippet section as you change flies? Also, how do you recommend adding bite tippet?

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5 hours ago, Sondek said:

Cary,

 

I’ve read through the thread, but if these questions have already been addressed, I apologize for missing them. 

 

How do you deal with the shortening tippet section as you change flies? Also, how do you recommend adding bite tippet?

I was wondering the same thing. I have been using the system with very good success.  Short of using a rio fly clip or tactical angler clip the short tippet section dwindles pretty quickly. Then your start shortening the middle section when tying new knots. What say you Cary? 

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Gee - life is a B....

So you shorten the 2nd section a bit.

When not happy with length then start on butt.

Herb

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Posted (edited)

11 hours ago, Mallard1100 said:

Cary,

 

I’ve read through the thread, but if these questions have already been addressed, I apologize for missing them. 

 

How do you deal with the shortening tippet section as you change flies? Also, how do you recommend adding bite tippet?

 

11 hours ago, Mallard1100 said:

I was wondering the same thing. I have been using the system with very good success.  Short of using a rio fly clip or tactical angler clip the short tippet section dwindles pretty quickly. Then your start shortening the middle section when tying new knots. What say you Cary? 

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When using very large flies (8" or bigger) or extremely heavy flies, it is VERY important to NOT use a long Tippet. Therefore, you can extend the length of the Leader's mid-section by 10% or even 20% if needed. This allows you to add more Tippet and re-tie to the Mid section (cutting off the previous Blood Knot). 

 

The same strategy can be applied for those times when you want to change flies a lot, perhaps while learning a new spot or searching the water with various offerings during times when you're just not convinced what you're using is the right fly. 

 

** to minimize the need to change flies, gain confidence in a few go-to patterns that eve the finickiest of feeding fish will take a run at. Stay with what you know works and move.

  • Double Bunnies fished on the bottom, VERY slowly
  • Bunny Anchovies in the wash
  • SilverSides Electric Clousers as searching flies
  • Electric Decievers as searching flies
  • Crease Flies with rattles
  • UV Gurglers with feather tails supported by bucktail
  • Electric Half-N-Halfs (deadly)
  • Polar Fibre Minnows (also deadly)
  • Crab patterns and Shrimp patterns

If anything, assess how clear the water is and whether fish should or are likely to be where you're casting. Play the tides. Adjust to extremely light Tippets if necessary. Decrease the size of the flies also, as needed. Sometimes, very small #6 or #8 patterns on very light 8# or 10# Tippets can produce large Stripers just when you think a strategy like this wouldn't work. Especially a good fall tactic. 

 

Also try other tactics like Pulse Discs, instead of constantly switching flies. Fish slower. Relax. Be the fly. What is the bait doing? If you can't tell, that is sometimes the first clue. Get down. Go slow. 

 

Fish with no more than 20" appx of Tippet. The more Tippet you use, the worse the turnover will be and less accurate your cast becomes. Longer mid-sections help to overcome this issue. Use as needed. 

 

Like I've said, I haven't covered everything yet in this thread, we're just getting started really. 

Edited by CaryGreene

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12 hours ago, HL said:

Gee - life is a B....

So you shorten the 2nd section a bit.

When not happy with length then start on butt.

Herb

Herb that’s naughty but darned funny.:howdy:

 

mike

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A fly fisher with OCD?  Perish the thought.  I obsessed about the same thing--"With that short tippet, I'm going to burn through it when I change flies and that's going to screw up the formula.  What to do? What to do?"  That's one of the reasons, I think, that Cary recommends the loop to loop connection to the fly line.  Just have a couple extra rocket leaders pre-tied in your kit, and that problem is solved.  Temporarily anyways, and that does seem a bit wasteful. 

 

After adopting Cary's formula, I noticed a significant improvement in my casting, that is, in leader turnover & delivery.  I departed somewhat from Cary's recommendations, based upon an earlier post that referenced the Flip Pallot snell/nail knot connection between fly line and butt.  I'm currently using that on my "long distance" rod (well, long distance for me anyways).  I haven't noticed any great improvement in performance, but I do like the fact that it is a slimmer, cleaner connection, and I believe there is less aerodynamic drag as a result.  The drawback of course is what to do when I burn through the mid section due to fly changes.  I don't want to eat into the fly line repeatedly. I'll deal with that when the time comes. Loop to loop between mid section and tippet like G8rWood recommends may be the answer.  I'll see.  This is a great thread with a lot of valuable input from many experienced hands.   

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The shorter the tippet, the less elongation and shock protection. Another tippet tip/good habit, run your fingers up it after releasing a fish or changing flies. Abraded tippet can cost you the fish of a lifetime. It's one thing when you're yanking in schoolies, another when you latch onto a cow.

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A blood knot on heavy mono is tough in the field compared to a double surgeons knot.  Is this an acceptable alternative?  The knots only have to be as strong as the tippet knot?

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3 hours ago, bmac said:

A fly fisher with OCD?  Perish the thought.  I obsessed about the same thing--"With that short tippet, I'm going to burn through it when I change flies and that's going to screw up the formula.  What to do? What to do?"  That's one of the reasons, I think, that Cary recommends the loop to loop connection to the fly line.  Just have a couple extra rocket leaders pre-tied in your kit, and that problem is solved.  Temporarily anyways, and that does seem a bit wasteful. 

 

After adopting Cary's formula, I noticed a significant improvement in my casting, that is, in leader turnover & delivery.  I departed somewhat from Cary's recommendations, based upon an earlier post that referenced the Flip Pallot snell/nail knot connection between fly line and butt.  I'm currently using that on my "long distance" rod (well, long distance for me anyways).  I haven't noticed any great improvement in performance, but I do like the fact that it is a slimmer, cleaner connection, and I believe there is less aerodynamic drag as a result.  The drawback of course is what to do when I burn through the mid section due to fly changes.  I don't want to eat into the fly line repeatedly. I'll deal with that when the time comes. Loop to loop between mid section and tippet like G8rWood recommends may be the answer.  I'll see.  This is a great thread with a lot of valuable input from many experienced hands.   

Extend your Mid-Section by 10%, problem solved! Now just Ty on a new and short piece of Tippet as needed, no longer than 20 in which should be plenty long enough. 

 

The concept is as you burn through the tippet and you get down to a very short and maybe unusable peace, just chop it off and tie on a new one. Therefore, it stands to reason if your midsection is slightly longer you can do that as needed without having to change out a new leader.

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2 hours ago, sinfish said:

A blood knot on heavy mono is tough in the field compared to a double surgeons knot.  Is this an acceptable alternative?  The knots only have to be as strong as the tippet knot?

I would say not, no pun intended!. A three-piece leader has only two blood knots. Fluorocarbon is a little tougher to tie this particular knot with. However, it can be done fairly easily. Practice your blood knots and get comfortable with them. I have a way to tie them that I should do a video on.

 

When using Medium Hard Mono, Blood knots can also be a little tricky because the stiffer material is harder to cinch.

 

I've heard guys are lubricating the material ahead of time with a little chapstick and that seems to work for them. 

 

I don't use it because I don't need to. The not cinchrs down pretty nicely. All you need is five turns on each side. Maybe get a pair of rubber fingered work gloves and use them to cinch down if it helps. The key is just to really pull the two main lines and I'll actually bite the two tag ends to prevent them from slipping. Grab them both, lay them over each other and just bite them and then really cinch down hard on the knot. 

 

I can tie a perfect looking knot with very heavy material, so trust me it is possible. You just need to get comfortable and confident with the knot.

 

 

 

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