Tying your own leaders

Discussion in 'Stillwater' started by Chef, Dec 10, 2010.

  1. Chef

    Chef New Member

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    What are he advantages and disadvantages of tying your own leaders? I went to get some at the fly shop the other day and someone asked me why I dont tie my own. I have no answer to that question.
     
  2. Olive bugger

    Olive bugger Active Member

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    Cost is the main reason. But a hand tied leader has advantages and disavantages, just like every thing else.
    A hand tied leader will pick up "stuff" from the water that a tapered factory extruded leader may leave behind. I am talking about floating debris here, not fish. The little knots are good at that.

    But you can tie the leader to meet you needs and wants by altering the length of the seperate
    strands of material. It would be good to start with a formula that is tested and then tweak it as you find it needs tweaking.

    There are only a few knots that are required or I prefer for tying a leader, The perfection knot for the butt to line connection, the blood knot for the strands and when I get down to the fine end, like say a 6x or 7x I use a surgeon's knot to tie the strands together. My fingers won't work with leaders that fine and tie a blood knot.
     
  3. Chef

    Chef New Member

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    do you think it is worth to tie your own?
     
  4. colton rogers

    colton rogers wishin' i was fishin'

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    if you are fishing dry flies i like the bought tapered leaders, if your nymphing a homebrew leader is better. for deep chronomid fishing you can make your own leaders so you get the fly down deep with a floating line. it will save you money, i make some and buy some, its fun to make them, i use a barrel knot the majority of the time. i have no reason to get down to 6x or 7x
     
  5. Trout Master

    Trout Master Active Member

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    If i want a really long leader / tippet on a flaoter for chronnies I use Maxima flurocarbon off a spool, get them at Ted's 150 yards for $14.00. I use it if I want a leader 18 to 20+ feet otherwise I go full sink line for chronnies. Will you save money? Only you can answer that.
     
  6. colton rogers

    colton rogers wishin' i was fishin'

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    flourocarbon sinks, monofiliment floats, keep that in mind
     
  7. Keith Hixson

    Keith Hixson Active Member

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    I do both. My only complaint about homemade is that if your are fishing a lake with floating vegetation the vegetation will get stuck on all those little knots. With a tapered factory leader you only have one little knot and the nail knot to clean. I like casting the homemade leaders for everything, they turn over better for me. But, I use both and fish whatever is on my rod. I bought a whole bunch of factory tapered leaders so for the last year I haven't fished any homemade. When fishing Rocky Ford I always use a factory tapered leader, lots of vegetation in the water.
     
  8. Steve Saville

    Steve Saville Active Member

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    I got in the habit of tying my own years ago. I haven't purchased more than 5 o 6 in twenty years. I find that I can custom build easier even though an initial outlay for numerous spools of material costs more. I've used them for everything from trout to sailfish and haven't been disappointed often. Once in a while they break but as cheap as they are to make, I change them regularly to avoid that. I started tying furled leaders a couple of years ago and do them in flourocarbon and monofilament as well; tied a bunch for a tuna trip this year out of 40 lb. mono and wound up using only one. I caught tuna without a problem and the leader is still in great shape. I just clip off a piece and tie on a tippet for smaller fish. For something like a tuna, I would roll it up and trash it when I got home if it wasn't to my liking

    I also find that they don't pick up much junk from the water if I tie short blood knots of three or four wraps and clip them closely. Heavier sizes like the 40 lb. furled ones, I coat the knots with Knot Sense. You'd be surprised at how much information you can pick up from shops on formulas for different sizes and lengths of mono and flourocarbon.
     
  9. Olive bugger

    Olive bugger Active Member

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    I think Mr. Hixson said is all on the leader question.
    To address the issue of cost, Tapered leaders cost in the neighborhood of $4.00. Give or take some pocket change. There are speciality leaders that may cost more, but seldom less.

    You can make a leader with about ten feet of material. But the cost is predicated on the size and number of the spools of material you must use.

    Most leaders start with a butt section of around .020 to .024 inch and descend in diameter to
    to .006 or .008, and usually in .003 inch increments. This will be your initial investment. The only other cost is time and talent.

    You can tailor the material to your pleasure using nylon, mono or what ever works for you.

    If I can learn to tie them, I believe anybody on the thread can learn to tie them. It is not rocket science
    until you see that 24 inch fish sitting there in the clear pool looking at your fishing fly. I am sure that the fisn is not interested in your other fly.
    Like I said earlier, you only need two or three knots. They are easy to master.
     
  10. wet line

    wet line New Member

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    Factory leaders for me.

    After replacing the tippet 5 or 6 times, I lose about 3"s of leader per tippet tie in, I will trim the factory leader back to about 7 1/2' and tie in a new section of leader and then add new tipet. For example if I am using a 3X leader by the time I get to 7 1/2 " I will tie in about 2' or so 3X material and then add the 4X tippet. When the origional leader gets to be about 6' then I add 18"s or so of 2X then the 3X then the tippet. With a bit of experimentation these modified leaders turn over well and it extends the life of the base factory leader by several times so the $4 originally spent becomes negligable.

    The key for me is to match my tie in portions with the base leader. If I am using say a salmon steelhead leader that tends to be a harder stiffer leader then my tie in portions need to be a harder stiffer material like RIO MAX. If the base leader is like a RIO trout leader which is a softer limper leader then the tie in would be something like RIO Powerflex material. Mixing harder and softer leaders generally spells disaster for me with the exception of tippet.

    Dave
     
  11. Olive bugger

    Olive bugger Active Member

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    Well said, Dave. I usually replace my leaders with store bought at the beginning of the year. I tie a few for back up. I have six reels with differnet lines and two spools for all of them so that
    is 14 leaders. I guess I am a gear nut. If I put a leader on all of the lines I have, well, there is a cost involved. I do not use all of these lines for the most part and some are speciality lines, so over the years, I have covered the cost. But it is fun sometimes to sit at the table and tie leaders when the winds blow and the rain comes and the pass is closed to travel due to snow.
    As I get older, I appreciate the warm kitchen more than the cold riverbank.
     
  12. Denny

    Denny Active Member

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    Yes, and no.

    If I'm fishing in stillwaters where there is a lot of moss or weed that can 'grab' or catch on to knots, then I prefer the smoothness of a factory tapered leader.

    To minimize surface water disruption and noise, I also prefer the smoothness of a factory tapered leader if I'm fishing small dries, particularly over smooth water or skittish fish.

    I like making my own leaders for pretty much all other circumstances. It's kinda fun, too. You can customize your leader for your fishing settings, quarry, and flies used.
     
  13. Blue

    Blue Active Member

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    I would ONLY use a tapered leader on stillwater if I was presenting dries, as that is what the taper is for, presentation. But If I am using a sinking line of any kind, I seriously don't bother with a tapered leader at all. 4 to 6 feet of regular P-Line fluoro, put a Surgeon's loop or a perfection loop in one end and connect to the loop of the sinking line...attach fly an fish.
    I have the Frog Hair kit for leaders and used it for awhile for river fishing. Nice because you can make different tapers for say wind, big flies, very delicate, so on. Anymore, I use one leader on floating line (unless deep nymphing which is straight P-Line in 10' to 30') and that is a "Furled Leader" Perfect all around leader for nymphing, streamers, wets and dries on the rivers. Just add tippet. And if care is taken, they last a very long time.
    Oh and I make my own.
     
  14. Bert

    Bert Registered Potamophile

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    OTOH, sometimes the knots will clear a path through the moss and weeds for the fly itself. I find it easier to clear the snot off the knots rather than the hook.
     
  15. Blue

    Blue Active Member

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    But what about the knot in front of the fly (the connection)? That is where I hate the moss, always hook myself trying to clean it...;-)
     
  16. IveofIone

    IveofIone Active Member

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    Chef, The above responses have covered all the bases-there is excellent advice in there. The only thing I can add from having tied my own leaders for almost 25 years is use a micrometer to measure your material. I have seen way too many instances where a 4X tippit spool was actually larger than a 3X, etc. And many times a spool will list the diameter at say.007" when it is actually .0095'' for instance. When I buy spools I usually mike the material then write the actual size on the spool with a black marking pen.

    Nowadays I am only using two materials-Rio Powerflex and Orvis Mirage and both of those products have been consistently accurate with their labeling.

    Ive
     
  17. Olive bugger

    Olive bugger Active Member

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    I never thought about that Ive. Good idea. Thanks for the heads up.
     
  18. wet line

    wet line New Member

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    Ive,

    Excellent point!!!

    I have encountered that dissparity when re-building from a manufactured leader, so it is not so much what a label says but rather is my tie on a size smaller than what I am tying onto.

    Dave
     
  19. Roundeye777

    Roundeye777 always angling

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    good call on the RIO and Orvis, by far the most consistent.
     
  20. LakeLuster

    LakeLuster Guest

    I tied my own leaders for years. At that time I was mostly interested in fishing streams. Since becoming addicted to lakes I've been using knotless manufactured leaders. As stated above, when fishing deep its fine to just use a 4 ft length of tippet. I think being confident tying your own leaders is really helpful even if you mostly use store bought leaders. I still carry the various spools of material to tie a leader from scratch. Then, if my tippet gets too short or the leader gets damaged, I can rebuild the leader so that it continues to turn over correctly. This has proved especially helpful on trips lasting a couple of days or more. I don't have to carry a ton of expensive manufactured leaders and am confident I'll always have a well tuned leader. I remember practicing bloodknots while watching TV. For the reasons stated above, I still consider that time well spent, even though I currently buy most of leaders.
     

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