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How long of a leader?

Joined:
2010/4/12 12:09
From Lee's Summit, MO (KC)
Posts: 19
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I took the new rod out on Saturday evening and it just felt like the leader was too long. I throw a 8.5' 5wt rod and the place where I got it put on a 11.5-12' tapered leader. It just felt like it was too long. In my false casts there wasn't enough weight to pull line out of my hand when I was trying to expand, and it felt like I was trying to cast a kite. I had to have out at least 30' of line in order for it to feel right.

How long of a leader do you guys use, and how long of a leader would you suggest for a beginner?

I noticed some experienced guys on the stream were using leaders about 8' long.

I like fishing 2-lbs test down to the fly, so I tied on 2-lbs tippet on the end of the long tapered 6-lbs test line.

If I shorten it, do you suggest shortening the thicker end where it connects to the fly line, or just trimming back the 6-lbs end?

Posted on: 2010/4/20 12:02
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Re: How long of a leader?

Joined:
2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
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Leader length is one of those constant adjustment things. I don't just vary by stream and time of year, every pool may be different.

The basic trade-off is castability (shorter leader = easier turnover, better accuracy, tighter loop to put under obstacles), vs. drag free drift (the more fine tippet material, the better the drift).

My average is around 9 ft. On a really tight stream it may be 6 ft. On a smooth water limestoner using midges it might go 12 feet.

For a beginner, I'd recommend 6-7 ft of taper, 2-3 ft of tippet for a total of 9 ft. Then add or subtract tippet as needed for the situation, you'll learn what you need quickly.

Posted on: 2010/4/20 12:07


Re: How long of a leader?

Joined:
2010/4/12 12:09
From Lee's Summit, MO (KC)
Posts: 19
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So would you suggest cutting back the smaller end of the tapered leader, or the thicker end?

Posted on: 2010/4/20 12:10
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First 32 years of my life were spent in NC Penn.

A fisher of men. <><


Re: How long of a leader?

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2008/3/20 14:09
Posts: 885
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The thicker end.

The thickness/taper is used to make it lay out nicer when you cast. If you cut the back off, it will affect it a little, but the trout wont be looking at your fly with 10lb test on it if you cut all the tippet off ;)

Posted on: 2010/4/20 12:13
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Re: How long of a leader?

Joined:
2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
Posts: 13556
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Neither, I think I'd suggest getting a new leader in the 9 ft range. They're not expensive. You want the more aggressive taper of a shorter leader. They usually come with tippet built in, the last few feet will be of relatively consistent diameter.

Then if you subtract, add, or change the diameter of the tippet, you adjust the skinny end, and don't really touch the butt or the taper.

Posted on: 2010/4/20 12:16


Re: How long of a leader?

Joined:
2007/3/26 22:22
Posts: 1348
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I think the leader length is determined by where you're fishing and what you're fishing with.

On Clarks, I might fish a 6 1/2' leader if I'm nymphing. Later in the season, I might have a 14' leader and try to drift an ant down onto a fish 50' away.

On the flat water of the upper East Branch of the Delaware, I'll use a 16-20' leader. It's easier to keep 20' of leader in the air than it is to keep 20' of line in the air. The problem then becomes turning the leader over. You have to weight the trade off between getting the leader to turn over / accuracy and quality of drift that you'll get.

If you look on the Cabelas site, they have their tapered leaders in the 'bargain cave'. They are made by Climax. If you get a 4 pack of 7 1/2' and a 4 pack of 9' leaders. I usually buy them in a 3x or 4x and then taper them down myself with tippet material.

Do a little experimenting and figure out what what works best for you. You might find out that you can easily fish a leader between 8 and 10' with dries and 7-8' with nymphs. I'd also suggest using the shortest leader you can get away with. A fish holding in a tough position may call for a very long leader just because you can't get a good drift to him without piling up some slack in the leader.

Good luck and let us know how you make out.

Posted on: 2010/4/20 12:43


Re: How long of a leader?

Joined:
2007/4/8 20:43
From SEPA
Posts: 11383
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When I bought a 6' furled leader, I stopped caring about leaders and just changed tippet. Usually I just put ~3' of 5x on the end, but recently I've gone to 2' of 4x and then a variable amount of whatever I need after that.

To some people, its rocket science. To me its not that important.

Then again, maybe I'd catch more if I cared more. Either way, I'm satisfied enough.

Posted on: 2010/4/20 12:46
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Re: How long of a leader?

Joined:
2010/4/12 12:09
From Lee's Summit, MO (KC)
Posts: 19
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I would rather have the shorter leader while learning to cast. I still haven't figured out if I will be casting with my left or my right. Both are pretty equal, but the line turns over better with my left. (I cast with my left with the spinning rod - but I am more comfortable with the fly rod in my right hand......don't ask my why) Just like I play golf right handed, but play hockey left handed.

Posted on: 2010/4/20 12:56
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First 32 years of my life were spent in NC Penn.

A fisher of men. <><


Re: How long of a leader?

Joined:
2006/12/13 9:28
From Other side of the tracks
Posts: 18788
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Gold left and play hockey right? Now that is just plain weird.

Just kidding.

As a beginner, I'd definitely start out with a shorter leader. I'd even go down to a 7.5 foot. I purchase most of my leaders and go with Orvis Superstrong most of the time and get them in 7.5 and 9 foot depending on where I will be fishing and what I will be fishing for. I rarely go longer than 9 foot.

I wouldn't try to shorten that long one. I'd just hang onto it and you might eventually use it. It might work better for you on another rod.

Posted on: 2010/4/20 13:21
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Re: How long of a leader?

Joined:
2009/8/19 17:22
Posts: 1289
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bag that leader and buy a 9' for drys , go ahead and shorted that 12 down for nyphing but then again its gonna be thick so it may create too much drag well i guess just save it for july when the water is 12" deep and crystal clear and they are taking midges ...

Posted on: 2010/4/20 21:26


Re: How long of a leader?

Joined:
2006/9/10 7:44
From Enola, Pa.
Posts: 2312
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Quote:

pcray1231 wrote:
Leader length is one of those constant adjustment things. I don't just vary by stream and time of year, every pool may be different.

The basic trade-off is castability (shorter leader = easier turnover, better accuracy, tighter loop to put under obstacles), vs. drag free drift (the more fine tippet material, the better the drift).

My average is around 9 ft. On a really tight stream it may be 6 ft. On a smooth water limestoner using midges it might go 12 feet.

For a beginner, I'd recommend 6-7 ft of taper, 2-3 ft of tippet for a total of 9 ft. Then add or subtract tippet as needed for the situation, you'll learn what you need quickly.


I would go with what pcray said, go with a short leader and short tippet, once you get to be a better caster, I would go with a 9ft leader.

I fish a 9ft leader with a longer tippet then most use, get a better drift.

PaulG

Posted on: 2010/4/21 9:30


Re: How long of a leader?

Joined:
2009/3/3 19:40
From girard pa
Posts: 221
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I usally run a 9ft leader and about 2ft of tippit but i will shortin every thing up on small streams were you can almost reash your rod from bank to bank. for that i will run a short as 5ft of leader when im almost standing on top of the fish. you can get away with a shorter leader when nymphing just have to worry about drag if your leader is to thick. i cut the butt end and leave the taper seems to work for me. just keep ajusting till you find something that you like and stick with it.

Posted on: 2010/4/21 10:48
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Re: How long of a leader?

Joined:
2010/1/21 17:06
From Southwest, Pa
Posts: 1069
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in my eyes, this is truly subjective to your casting stroke. I go by rod length. My 7' 6'' 3 wt. throws 9 ft. of leader just fine, but throws a 7.5 ft. leader better. Move down to my 2 wt. and I'm stuck with a max of 7.5 ft. of leader.

Learning to fish dries w. a 9 ft. five weight was the death of me. Had I learned on a smaller rod, the transition to longer rods would have served me well.

My friends all make fun of me, but whether I'm fishing a small mountain stream or a more marginal one, I'm most comfortable using a six weight. I can still drop a 20 midge with little disturbance, and the rod does all the work, especially punching through wind, and throwing big stimulators.

Find out what works for YOU.

Posted on: 2010/4/23 0:55
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Sure, we can assiduously three-quarter our wets down stream, mend, and wait out each fly swing, which to my way of thinking, anyway, relegates to the angler to role of butler, rather than nemesis.

-Art Lee


Re: How long of a leader?

Joined:
2006/9/9 17:18
From lancaster county
Posts: 6456
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Quote:
Find out what works for YOU.


Exactly.
Most people think im crazy when they see me with a 7 1/2 foot rod throwing about 12-13 ft of leader and tippet very easily.

Posted on: 2010/4/23 1:57
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Re: How long of a leader?

Joined:
2008/10/25 14:19
From York County
Posts: 2129
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I usually buy a 9ft. 5x leader and I will fish it with no tippet until it slowly gets shorter from changing flies and breaking off. Once it gets shorter than about 8ft. I will cut it to about 7ft. and tie a small loop on the end. At this point it is effectively a 7ft. 4x leader with a loop.

From this loop I can easily tie any where from 2-4 ft. of tippet from 4x to 6x in the time it takes me to make a few casts.

I like to nymph with about 9ft. at the most and cast dries with about 10-11 ft. So typically I just tie either 2 or 4 ft. of tippet onto my loop depending on whether I'm casting dries or nymphing. And if I have a break it is below the loop. I find a leader can sometimes last almost all season.

Note: I dislike flourocarbon, it breaks easier than mono, just an oppinion, but it is my oppinion. I can hook a log and yank hard 5 times and not break 5x mono but for some reason just setting the hook on a decent fish breaks my 5x flourocarbon.

Or I just buy a 7.5 4x and put a loop on it. Either way I think you are using too much length and too light a tippet for your casting style or situation. I rarely use more than 10-11ft. But I fish a lot of smaller streams.

Posted on: 2010/4/23 15:35
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