Watchin' For You!

J. Castwell
December 14th, 1998


Jack Ohman cartoon

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.

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

Till next week, remember ...

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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