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Making own leaders help.

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I wanted to start making my own leaders for fishing. I was just wondering what you guys make your leaders out of? Also what knots do you like to use?

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Evan, are you wanting to make furled leaders or knotted leaders using different poundage line?

 

Here is a link for leader formulas. http://www.flyfishusa.com/tackle-tips/leaders/about-leaders.html

 

If you are looking to make furled leaders, I suggest this article. http://www.hatchesmagazine.com/page/may2006/185

 

Rob

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Ask 10 fishermen and get 11 answers...

I have switched to using hand tied leaders over the past few years and really like them. I use Maxima Chameleon for the but and mid sections and then switch to soft mono for the rest of the leader. I have never really been convinced that fluorocarbon is worth the cost and effort, but I know folks swear by it. I bought the Maxima leader kit from Cabela's and I'm using Rio Powerflex from 3X down to 7X (but usually stop at 5X).

Formulas are easy to find. I use the George Harvey slack leader formulas that I got from Joe Humphreys' book "trout Tactics" but they are very similar to what you will find on the net searching for Harvey slack leaders. PM if you want a specific formula.

Mike.

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I've found that the only real need for fluoro is for heavy structure or tough fish like snook or tarpon. The hardness of the fluoro really helps keep the line from fraying before you can land the fish. I don't tie too many leaders, but when I do I make sure to use the same brand of mono, the consistency needs to be similar to allow you to transfer the energy of your cast through your leader. I use triple fish mono on most of my saltwater hand tied leaders. If I need a leader to get down to the bottom, like in the surf or winter time seatrouting, I tie them with seaguar fluoro. For a 10' leader I usually tie around 6' of heavy butt material (usually 30#), then 2' of 20#, then 2' of 15# for my tippet. I use a double uni for the butt to midsection and an albright for the mid to tippet. Hope this helps, one of the many answers you're likely to get.

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I second using fluoro around structure, it really does stand up to a bit of abrasion more so than any mono i have used and i swear by it now (just discard the unused portions correctly as i hear it's pretty nasty on the environment). Have not noticed any 'invisibility factor' usually if the fish are finicky i will just step down the tippet size. Sorry i am not much help i usually buy leaders and add tippet as they get short, only time i build them is in the salt, will run 40lb down to 20lb then to whatever tippet i want.

 

Interesting with the double uni - its great for differing diameters, one knot to learn and its quite easy, you can do one side and not tighten fully, then do the other, then wet and tighten both pulling the knots snug together. This i find is better than the double blood knot.

 

If you make any spare leaders i will be willing to test them for free B)

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a good recipe I've been given for making my own tapered leader that I use for a lot of my saltwater fishing is: 50% butt section 40lb, 25% 20lb and 25% 10 to 14lb tippet (for fresh water my butt section starts at 20lb). I also second the idea of using the same brand of leader material throughout for the same reasons given above.

 

I use fluorocarbon around structure whenever I can, but if I'm using anything less than about 10lb I stick with a mono tippet

 

I'll tend to use surgeons knots to join the different sections together... for the species I target they're fine.

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Mine are similar to Li'lDave and FlyFishin'Jam, for the salt I tie up 40# (4 1/2 ft) -30# (2 1/2 ft) -20# (2ft) using mono of all the same brand and then a fluoro of 20# on the flats or 30# for snook around structure. On smaller rods like a 5 wt, I'll use 40# or 30# - 20# - 12# and then tippet. Like FlyFishin'Jam I also use the double uni-knot to connect all sections of the leader and then I put a perfection loop on each end. I use a loop-to-loop connection to join leader to tippet so I can change out tippets easy without cutting down the leader to re-tie. I also tie a small 1 foot section of 40# with a nail knot to my fly line and a perfection loop on the other end to use the same loop-to-loop connection to tie on the leader so I can change leaders quickly and easily as well.

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I used to tie my own leaders for many years, using several different formulae for different conditions. It's a fine skill to hold, and you can never get too good at tying knots. I usually used double-surgeon's knots for joining sections. I finally realized, for me, I had absolutely no advantage over using good quality tapered mono leaders. I use a mini-tippet ring or a double surgeon's loop-to-loop for replacing tippet sections and get a lot of life from one store-bought tapered leader.

 

At some point I realized we wouldn't ever want to use a knotted or step tapered fly line to cast, so why should I bother with tying leaders? In the days of silkworm gut there weren't many alternatives- I don't know if furled leaders were in use then. I have not encountered a situation where a tied leader improved my casting over a "knotless" leader--- Of course there will be some knots where I attach tippet or tippet plus shock tip for bite protection.

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I have not encountered a situation where a tied leader improved my casting over a "knotless" leader--- Of course there will be some knots where I attach tippet or tippet plus shock tip for bite protection.

 

You can't make an effective slack leader cast with an extruded (knotless) leader. You also can't adjust an extruded leader for the size and density of the fly. I can fish a #20 midge or a #12 hopper on an adjusted Harvey 5X leader and have them both turn over with enough slack to get a good drift. I don't think I could do this with an extruded leader. I'm not denying that they work, or claiming that you can't catch a lot of fish on them, but they are limited. The ability to break down and rebuild your leader on the stream to suit a particular condition means you can fish more spots more effectively.

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This is full of great information, thanks guys. I would making them for mainly bluegill, bass, and saltwater. I see some saltwater ones on here already that i'll be looking at, but does anyone have a good recipe for bass, and bluegill?

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For warmwater use (bass/panfish primarily) I've had good results in the past with a rather simple 3-piece, 6-foot leader plus tippet. If I remember correctly I used to use 2 feet each of 35, 25, and 12 lb Maxima, with an 8 or 6 lb tippet loop-to-looped. I know I also tied them heavier than that for big bass bugs. I got sick and tired of picking up little wads of weeds and algae on each knot though in the places I fished. Of course that still happens on the tippet knot and the bite-tip knot if I'm using one.

 

It boils down to personal preference--- I seem to have been able to fish very effectively in many variable conditions by changing tippet length/size if needed. There are more things to getting a "good" drift than how your leader is constructed. I prefer to keep fishing and solve problems with angle of approach, positioning, mending, etc, rather than spend precious time breaking down and rebuilding leaders on stream.

 

Maybe I only fish for dumb fish now, not ones which are smart enough to examine if my leaders are tied to approved standards. That's OK with me.

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The $2 leaders from Wallyworld are handy and I'll use'm for lil dries and lil nymphs. Most times I use a 3x or 4x factory one for the first fly and then tie a improved clinch knot around the fly hook bend of a couple of feet or more of 3-4x for a dropper fly. Gotta scale further down if midge fishin... These factory leaders are blood knotted to a 17-20# 2-3' or so nail knotted to the fly line. Always have some mono on fly line for leaders to avoid the nail knot to tie in midstream...Try to keep leader total around 9' if possible...I like blood knots near the fly line and surgeon knots futher down b/c you gotta run length of the tippet all the way through on the tie. No problem when it's 2'-/+ but over 6', etc. it's a pain...Never have liked loops in line or leaders...

 

Lately, though, more big nymph, cdad, streamer fishing so I'm nail knotting a 3'-4' of 20#-17# mono to the fly line and then double surgeon knotting a 0x-1x (8-10# test) 'bout 4' long. If I decide to go smaller with this already on, I'll d.surgeon knot another foot or 2 of 3-4x or even 5x. Mostly mono and not flouro stuff either...

Knot link.. http://www.animatedknots.com/indexfishing.php

Surgeon is simple if you'll overlap the 2 lines 'bout 6", twist a loop, and bring the short tag end and the whole tippet through the loop 3-4 times. Works great for lbig differences in diameters...

$.02...Later DL

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The weight/size of your fly line should make a difference in the butt section you choose. I was taught by the old silk liners to roughly match the cross sections of the taper and butt and then to watch them bend and select and use roughly equally rigid diameters. Such rigs tend to turn over and pick up flies better for me. A 4 weight line cannot handle the butts on my 9 weights.

 

Rocco

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