December 14th, 1998
There is hardly a subject upon which so much
has been written by so many for so long a time with such little agreement
as leaders. The world could probably well exist if no more was ever
mentioned on the subject. I am sure all that is needed on the subject has
been covered and 'out there' somewhere, in and amongst the currently
existing volumes repose the absolute correct formals and instructions for
the construction of every possible combination imaginable.
Till next week, remember ...
Yet, the tyro joining the sport is perhaps more
confused now than ever before. In years past, before the invention of
'knotless-tapered' leaders (yes, they did not always exist) a leader was
constructed by joining several lengths of material in a gradual step-down
series until he had the length and the proper dimensions for the size of
fly he desired.
We now have gone from 'cat-gut' to nylon and
even fluorocarbon. Nylon and fluorocarbon are available in spools for
leader construction. Nylon however has two types, hard and soft. With
these variables the problem multiplies. Most simply purchase a 'tapered'
leader, possibly add a 'tippet' to the end and go fishing. Others seem to
need to do things the 'old way, or rather, the hard way. So be it.
To that end I will offer some numbers for
those of you who feel the need for them. I will not get into the
'saloon-slugfest' of which type of nylon (hard or soft), is the best
or 'whatever-wherever-whenever.' This probably will not help you
at all; but only serve to confuse you even further. But, with that I will
have entered into the 'heap' with the others who have written something
on the subject. Good luck, have fun, and wet the darn knots before you
pull them tight.
Ten foot (4x) leader: 24in. of .019,
24in. of .017, 24in. of .015, 12in. of .013, 8in. of .011, 5in. of .009,
and 20in. of .007 (4x) tippet.
Ten foot (6x) leader: The same as above but,
instead of the 20in. of (.007) tippet, add 5in. of .006 and then 20in.
of .005 (6x) tippet.
Fifteen foot (7x) small fly leader: 36in. of .019,
36in. of .017, 36in. of .015, 20in. of .013, 16in. of .011, 10in. of .009,
6in. of .006, and 20in. of .004 (7x) tippet.
I make no claim as to how correct these numbers
are. I have used them and for me they work. You may find things written
that will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt these numbers are all wrong;
again, so be it. This is fly-fishing, we're all in this together, we're pulling
for you, but, when you are on the stream, you're on your own. ( Be sure
to check for those little overhand 'wind' knots, they'll break you off in
a heartbeat.)~ JC