What length and size leader should you use (FLY FISHING)

(fly fishing)

Leader Length Chart

Leader Length                                 Best suited for…

6 foot                                                 Sinking fly lines of all types, sunfish, bass, trout in tiny, brushy streams.

7.5 foot                                              Trout in streams from 10-20 feet wide, intermediate and sinking tip lines in                                                             lakes and saltwater conditions where the fish are not terribly spooky. Also                                                               streamer fishing for trout with big flies or with heavy nymphs and big                                                                       indicators.

9 foot                                                 Trout streams larger than 20 feet wide where the water is mostly riffled, or                                                               else the fish are not spooky. In salt water when the fish are in shallow water                                                            under bright, clear conditions.

12 foot                                               Trout in most lakes with floating lines. Trout in streams with flies smaller                                                                than size 16 when the water is flat, low, or very clear.

15 foot                                               Spooky trout in extremely clear water in both lakes and rivers.

Leader Size Chart

Tippet                       Tippet                           Approximate breaking                  Balances with 

Size                            Diameter                     strength in pounds                          fly sizes:

8X                                 .003″                                           1.75                                              22, 24, 26, 28

7X                                  .004″                                          2.5                                                18, 20, 22, 24

6X                                 .005″                                           3.5                                               16, 18, 20, 22

5X                                 .006″                                           4.75                                             14, 16, 18

4X                                 .007″                                            6                                                 12, 14, 16

3X                                  .008″                                          8.5                                               6, 8, 10

2X                                 .009″                                            11.5                                            4, 6, 8

1X                                  .010″                                             13.5                                           2, 4, 6

0X                                 .011″                                              15.5                                           1/ 0, 2, 4

.012                               .012″                                             18.5                                      5/ 0, 4/ 0,3/ 0, 2/ 0

.013                               .013″                                             20                                         5/ 0, 4/ 0,3/ 0, 2/ 0

.015                                .015″                                            25                                          5/ 0, 4/ 0,3/ 0, 2/ 0



What length and size leader should you use

Last, in addition to all of the other gear a fly fisherman has to have, there are numerous small items and gadgets that are also essential to the sport and a way to properly organize them is a must have item. Fortunately for us, a famous fly fisherman named Lee Wulff invented the fly vest as a way to organize and store all of your fly fishing paraphernalia. Thus, below you will find a list of the items you will need to carry in your fly vest divided into two categories consisting of items that you absolutely cannot do without and other items that are nice to have along but are not absolutely necessary.

                 Must Have Vest Items                                                 Useful Vest Items

Fly Assortments-                                                                                   Hat

Dries                                                                                            Sunglasses with lightly tinted,

Terrestrials                                                                                 polarized, lenses.

Wets                                                                                             Sun block


Streamers                                                                                    Waterproof Digital Camera

Nylon Leaders                                                                                         Toilet Paper

4x, 5x

Nylon Tippet Material                                                                            Whistle

4x, 5x                                                                                               Flashlight

Fluorocarbon Leaders                                                                             Extra Batteries

2x, 3x, 4x                                                                                           First Aid kit

Fluorocarbon Tippet Material                                                               Emergency rain poncho

2x, 3x, 4x                                                                                           Space Blanket

Waterproof matches

Fly Floatant                                                                                                Fire Starter

Fly Sink (wetting agent)



Stream Thermometer

Retractable Ruler

Dry Fly Desiccant

Strike indicators

Mini split-shot Assortment

Sink-tip System

Fly Fishing Knots

If you read any beginner’s guide to fly fishing, you will inevitably encounter a chapter on fly fishing knots. Then, upon reading said chapter, you will be confronted with five different knots of increasing difficulty ending with the infamous Blood Knot which was distinctly designed to confound human anatomy since it requires four hands (or a jig) to tie this tricky knot. But, fear not because there are really only four different knots that you really need to know about and you will only use two of them once but, you will use the other two frequently. But, before we examine of how to tie each knot, you first need to be aware of what each knot is used for. So, to start with, the Arbor Knot is used to fasten your Dacron backing to the arbor of your fly reel’s spool and thus, you may only use it once or twice in all of the years you fly fish. If fact, the same could be said for the Nail Knot

since it is used to fasten the Dacron backing to the end of your fly line and in some cases, to fasten a length of heavy monofilament with a loop to the other end of your fly line or possibly even for fastening the butt of your leader to the fly line. However, a much more elegant solution to this is to use a braided loop connector and then tie a Perfection Loop in the butt of your leader so that you can make a loop-to-loop connection. Then, of course, you will need to learn to tie the Clinch Knot to fasten your flies to the tippet end of your leader.



The Arbor Knot

The “Arbor Knot” is a very simple knot that is used to attach the fly line backing to the arbor of the fly reel. However, even though it is the first knot used in the fly line backing to fly line to fly leader system, it is probably the least used knot of all fly fishing knots because most fly fishermen will only have a need for it once or twice

in their entire careers as fly fishermen. To tie this knot, loop the fly line backing around the arbor of the fly reel, then tie a simple overhand knot around the fly line backing. Then, tie another overhand knot just above the first knot (see illustration). Then, grasp the fly line backing behind the first knot you tied and pull it until the second knot abuts the first knot. Thus, locking it in place.


The Nail Knot

The “Nail Knot” and the “Nailless Nail Knot” are used to attach the

fly line backing to the fly line and to attach the fly line to the leader butt. However, like the Arbor Knot, the Nail Knot is one of the least often used fly fishing knots because it is hard to tie and, when used to attach a fly leader to a fly line, it makes changing leaders on the stream very difficult. Thus most experienced fly fishermen use a Braided Loop Connector instead.

Step 1. However, to tie a Nail Knot, position a nail or similar item between the fly line and the fly leader. Next, loosely wrap the butt of the leader around the fly line fly line 5 to 8 times. (See illustration

Step 2. Next, pass the end of the fly leader back through the loops you just created around the fly line. Then, grasp both the end of the fly leader and the fly line simultaneously and pull on both ends at the same time to tighten the knot. Then, carefully remove the nail.

Step 3.Last, moisten the knot with saliva and again grasp both the end of the fly line and the end of the leader at the same time and finish tightening the knot. Last, clip off the excess line and fly leader close to the finished knot.


The Perfection Loop

The Perfection Loop is used any time you need to form a loop in monofilament line. For instance, you can use a Blood Knot to secure a length of monofilament to the end of your fly line and then tie a Perfection Loop in the end of the monofilament to form a loop to connect your leader to. In addition, a Perfection Loop is sometimes tied at the end of the fly leader just above the tippet section and then, a matching Perfection Loop is tied in the tippet and used to attach the leader to the tippet resulting in an easy to change, “loop-to-loop” connection.

Step 1 Hold the leader in your left hand and the tag end in your right hand and form a large loop. Also, make sure that the tag end of the leader is behind the standing end of the leader. Then, pinch the point where the two ends cross.

Step 2 Next, using the tag end, form a second, smaller, loop in front of the first loop and again pinch the point where the two cross.

Step 3 Next, pass the tag end between the two loops while continuing to pinch the point where the two loops cross.

Step 4 Next, reach through the large loop from behind and grasp the small loop.

Step 5 Last, pull the small loop through the big loop to tighten the knot while continuing to pinch the point where the two loops cross.


The Clinch Knot

As a fly fisherman, regardless whether you use the Clinch Knot or the Improved Clinch Knot, you will use this knot more often than any other fly fishing knot because it is the knot that is used for attaching the tippet to the fly.

Step 1 First, pass the end of the leader through the eye of the hook and wrap the leader around itself exactly five times (research has shown that five turns creates the strongest knot).

Step 2 Second, thread the end of the leader through the small loop above the eye and then, back through the big loop.

Step 3 Last, grasp the leader and the fly and pull the coils tight against the eye of the hook.

Step 4 Last, clip off the tag end of the leader




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