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Thread: LEADERS AND TIPPETS - Eye of the Guide - Jul 30, 2012

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    Default LEADERS AND TIPPETS - Eye of the Guide - Jul 30, 2012

    LEADERS AND TIPPETS


    Many fly fishers are going to read these words and be upset, because much of what I have to say goes against much of the writing and conventional wisdom of the day. I would just ask that you read, digest and consider the conclusion I will present. These methods, practices and understandings have stood me in good stead over an angling career that has spanned more than fifty years. These are also the methods I teach at fly fishing clinics and on guided fishing trips for the past thirty five years, and these practices have been proven to be effective time and time again. These methods did not spring full blown into being; they were developed over time and by learning from others, including those that I was instructing.

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    I finally gave up on most leaders. Since I use furled leader on mnost ofmy rods, I just put a few feet of mono on for the leader.
    Works for me and is much simplier.
    Thanks for the thought provoking article.

    Rick

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    Very nice article. One thing I don't understand is your disdain of the nail knot for connecting your leader to the fly line. As far sliding through the guides, I've always thought that was the best knot. Loops connectors always seem to get hung up for me. Maybe it's because my nymphing leaders are too long?

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    Quote Originally Posted by lastchance View Post
    Very nice article. One thing I don't understand is your disdain of the nail knot for connecting your leader to the fly line. As far sliding through the guides, I've always thought that was the best knot. Loops connectors always seem to get hung up for me. Maybe it's because my nymphing leaders are too long?

    I feel the same. Nail Knot is always been my choice as far as knots go, for smoothness. But, alas, I too have been furled leaders for a very long time and only knot is in the tippet. I did have a molded loop fray yesterday while trying to land a carp. Made for a difficult land and a bit scary when the leader wrapped around the tip as I tried to get the loop through the tip top. All worked out though

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fly Goddess View Post
    I feel the same. Nail Knot is always been my choice as far as knots go, for smoothness. But, alas, I too have been furled leaders for a very long time and only knot is in the tippet. I did have a molded loop fray yesterday while trying to land a carp. Made for a difficult land and a bit scary when the leader wrapped around the tip as I tried to get the loop through the tip top. All worked out though
    Hi Goddess! I used a furled leader all last year to nymph as an experiment. My catch rate was the same as with a regular tapered leader. Many people say that you miss and can't feel all the takes when using a furled leader. I disagree. What about you?
    Bruce

    PS. If you think this post is approaching a hi-jack of the thread please PM me.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by lastchance View Post
    Hi Goddess! I used a furled leader all last year to nymph as an experiment. My catch rate was the same as with a regular tapered leader. Many people say that you miss and can't feel all the takes when using a furled leader. I disagree. What about you?
    Bruce

    PS. If you think this post is approaching a hi-jack of the thread please PM me.



    Ahhhhh that is why I caught 99 instead of 100...LOL I don't agree on the miss take.

  7. #7

    Lightbulb Hmmmmmm ......

    ... I thought Tom did a pretty good job of describing why he doesn't like the nail knot, Bruce. A full paragraph describing the problems he associates with it over the years. That little bit of line protruding beyond the knot is the culprit.

    Conversely, it took him a brief sentence to describe the benefit of the needle knot - which is mainly that the leader feeds directly into the center of the end of the line and then tied in a bit further down the line making for an exceptionally smooth transition. If I were going to tie a mono leader to a fly line, I would opt for the needle knot.

    But, alas, I too use furled leaders for most of my fishing ( the exception being large nymphs under an indicator, which is mostly a winter thing around here ) so I don't have to deal with those knots. On lines with built in loops, the loop to loop works great. Where there is no built in loop, I opt for the Castwell Knot which does, admittedly, have a bit of the same problem as the nail knot - a little bit of line protruding from the knot. That is usually knot a problem since my combined furled leader plus tippet usually aren't much longer than my rod, if as long.

    The things I most enjoyed about Tom's article are his thoughts on leader length and tippet size. Probably because they are so close to my own ideas on those subjects. My thinking on tippet size probably got a good start down in Idaho Falls when Jimmy at Jimmy's All Seasons Angler explained to me why he wouldn't even carry 7X tippet in his store, and why he discouraged sales of 6X tippet. As it is, about the only thing I use is 4X or larger, regardless of fly size ( from size 20 Griffith Gnat to size 2 FEB salmonfly dry ) except for streamer fishing.

    The perceived need for long leaders seems to me to be mostly based on one, or both, of two ideas - keeping the fly line away from the fishies or getting a better drift, especially when fishing smaller flies.

    I typically fish 3-5' of tippet off a light colored thread furled leader. That light colored thread furled leader is probably as visible / observable to the fishies as a fly line is. Best I can tell, having such a leader less than 4-5' away from and maybe as close as 1-2' to the fly has virtually no effect on the fishies going after a fly. ( Maybe, to paraphrase Joni's observation above, I'm only getting 23 or 24 instead of 25 !! )

    No doubt long leaders and fine tippets are sometimes needed for smaller flies - but my take on it is that the long, fine tippets are needed to compensate for or overcome the effects of having a rather long stiff mono butt and mid section of the leader. That long stiff butt and mid section are going to want to drag or steer the fly, so a long fine tippet is required to minimize that effect to get a decent drift. The benefit of a thread furled leader is that the entire length from butt to tip is more supple than even 5X or 6X leader / tippet material, so there is no dragging or steering effect to overcome.

    The net effect is that if the fishies are not bothered by an obviously noticeable but naturally drifting thread furled leader that is not dragging or steering the fly, very short and stout tippets will do the job a lot more effectively. Instead of "playing" fishies almost to death, you can horse them, quickly get them back into the system relatively refreshed, and get back to fishing.

    John
    The fish are always right.

  8. #8

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    One problem with needle knots is some line actually have a core. Silk comes tto mind, but it has been awhile. I put loops in all my fly lines that don't come with them by folding the line over, using a hair iron to melt them together, then use thread (same thread I use for tying and my furled leaders) to wrap around the two. I then coat with a thin layer of Knot Sense as it is flexable. I have also used the Zap-A-Gap needle no knot connection with store bought tapered leaders. NO knot what so ever and very strong...don't get any cleaner than that.

    I do use 6X but I use #30 dries. Try fishing some waters (the Green) certain times of the year and they have to be small, which doesn't mean small fish. I have "landed" 24" with a #32 Snow Fly. I prefer dark colors for leader like Olives and Browns, whith Gray on cloudy days.

    John, I have gone after the Gulpers at Hebgen and long leaders and great deal of stealth meaning 60' and longer delicate cast. I realize you don't typically stillwater fish, but you ever had a situation like this? If so, I would love to hear about it.

    FG

  9. #9

    Lightbulb Some sections of freestone rivers ...

    ... are as soft and clear as spring creeks and stillwater. In the pic below, just before run off ramped up this year, the water inside the hard current was a large, very clear, very slow moving back eddy, with depth to maybe 10' ( my best guess ) at the time.



    Using the same thread furled leader with 3-4' of 4x tippet fishing an FEB skwala, I caught this 16-17" cutt after the fly had waffled around on the chop for many, many seconds.




    Just a couple days ago, in post run off conditions, I used the same set up fishing an FEB golden stone on this very deep, crystal clear run in the soft water nearest the bank. The first step off the bank where I caught him was into at least 8' of water.



    Same result - from way down deep with the leader clearly in view all the way -



    So to answer your question, Joni - with a question - is this all that different than fishing stillwater ??

    I fish a lot of crystal clear, very soft, almost still water. The results above are typical. Would it work on Hegben or one of the Paradise Valley spring creeks ?? It's easy to say "no." But maybe the answer is "yes" for those who will get away from habits and prejudices and give it a go. Maybe becoming aware of one of the big liabilities ( stiff butt and mid sections ) of tapered mono leaders and the benefits of very supple thread leaders will move some people in a new direction.

    John

    P.S. The one time I fished DePuy Spring Creek in Paradise Valley, under difficult early April conditions, I used the same basic set up with very small midge and BWO patterns and caught fishies - not a lot and not very big, but then not all fishies are.

    Oh yeah - I fished that famous Kelly's NoTellum spring creek down in SE Idaho that reportedly has all those monster Ph.D. fishies in it. There are some monsters in there. I only managed to catch 16-18" browns and cutts fishing thread furled leaders with short 4X tippets and simple stuff like parachute PMDs and Lawson's Halfback ( PMD ) emergers. Does that count ??
    The fish are always right.

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    Hey All. I, too, agree that there are rare occasions when a 7X tippet is needed. I'd say fishing size 30s would be one of those situations. The smallest tippet I use is 6X for tricos in sizes 22 and 24. I fish size 28s for midges so then I go to 7X. I guess I shouldn't speak for all leader to line connections because I've only used two, the loop, and nail knot. The loop really gets on my nerves. I'll have to research the needle knot. I also agree that most leaders are longer than they need to be. As far as nymphing tippet, I use mostly 4X in normal water. When it gets low and clear I switch to 5X. My thinking, I suppose, is that it's thinner in diameter and won't be as easy for the fish to see. I think the part of the country and types of water we fish would have some bearing on our tippet size, too. This is a good discussion.

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