Tying your own leaders

Discussion in 'Stillwater' started by Olive bugger, Mar 24, 2014.

  1. Wow, the price of taylor made leaders is going up. Makes sense to tie your own for sure.
    Even the leader material is rising in price.

    Which brings me to the idea that I know NOTHING about leader requirements for chironomids
    and fishing them. Does one need fluorocarbon or can one get by with monofilament or a combination of both?

    And then there is the size and diameter/test strength. And length, but I suppose that the length would be determined by the fish and not the leader maker.

    Anyone care to educate an old dog with a new trick?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. I tie my own leaders for indicator fishing. Pretty simple.

    18" butt section of 12lb maxima UG
    10-15' main leader (to match depth) 6 or 8lb maxima UG
    3' Fluorocarbon tippet (2 or 3x) to top fly
    3' Fluorocarbon tippet (3 or 4x) to bottom fly.

    All sections are knotted together with a triple surgeons. I typically set my quick-release float no deeper than the knot between my butt section and main leader. With this arrangement I can cast and fish pretty effectively down to 20'. Any deeper and I switch over to full sink line straight down off the side of the boat.
    Theron likes this.
  3. That looks to be pretty straight forward.

    Thanks for the information.
  4. I'm not a big fan of knotted leaders for sunken (retrieved) flies. The knots gather up too much crud. Indicator fishing..... different story. I like troutpocket's formula. But for fishing Rocky Ford or any lake where I'm slithering something along the bottom, I prefer a factory knotless leader.
  5. I have been tying my own leaders for a couple of years now. Once you get past the initial investment in material the leaders are much cheaper and you can fine tune them to your liking. I usually have much shorter section lengths than the 10 - 15 foot main leader that troutpocket suggests above but that looks like it would work quite well for indicator fishing. The problem with the shorter leader sections is that the quick-release float will not clear the knots. I typically use a blood knot on the butt and main section of my leaders and the surgeons knot on the tippets. I will have to tie up a couple of troutpocket's leaders in anticipation of lake fishing once I get to Washington.
  6. Brent Gill manages the private lakes on Douglas Lake Ranch northeast of Merritt in BC's Interior and he also has a little pet project Called Wait4It Films. Brent came up with this leader setup which works very well. Check it out:
    Old406Kid and troutpocket like this.
  7. Slick! Having never messed with braids, how is the attachment done between the butt section of mono and the 30lb braid? Seems like a surgeons knot would slip?
  8. if you tie a nice tight triple surgeons knot the quick release indicators should have no trouble clearing them. I use that knot with all my leaders that I build including a simple nymph rig on the river with 7lb test...never have troubles with the quick release indi getting caught up....

  9. I find that a nail knot splice works best for splicing different line types and facilitating greater drops in line diameter transitions. I personally need to use a Knot Tyer, so not so good for quick changes, but I might tie up a couple of these in advance to see how they work out. I would replace the swivel connection with another nail knot splice to be legal in fly fishing only waters, and for my own personal choice in selective waters.

    This seems like a very nice set-up. I'll try to post something later regarding my success or failure.;)
    troutpocket likes this.
  10. I guess I was taught old-school, as I have never had a store-bought tapered leader. Honest. Was taught to nail knot a butt section of 20 or 15 Maxima, and go down from there with blood knots. It's worked for me all my life. Only complaint is sometimes algae crap gets on the blood knots, but other than that, never had a problem. From floating lines to type 7 sink, all my spools are tapered Maxima.
  11. I used to have trouble with knots on thicker sections of tapered leader with my slip indicators, but now I drill out the little black peg and for the most part (unless the knot is ridiculously big) the peg slides right over.

    Do these personal choices have anything to do with the fact that you miss takes when you fish a swivel, because the trout try to eat it?
    Theron likes this.
  12. "Do these personal choices have anything to do with the fact that you miss takes when you fish a swivel, because the trout try to eat it?"

    :) Yes, bad enough they insult me and strike at my indicator once and awhile. It's supposed to be a strike indicator, not an indicator 'strike'.

    I tied-up a chironomid leader set-up much like in the video using a 2' butt section of 25lb mono, nail knot splice to 6' 30lb Power Pro braid, nail knot splice to 4' 3x fluoro tippet, fly, and then additional 4x fluoro using a knot of choice to second fly. Adjust recipe as needed.

    Home test went great. No line kinking from the setting and resetting the indicator to depth on the braid. I did an 'extreme' strength test, and had the 3x fluoro break at the nail knot splice; so I used four wraps of mono rather than the standard three, and no breakage. Hopefully a field test on Wednesday!

    note: (Some people refer to the nail knot splice as a double nail knot splice (where you pull the two knots together to form the splice. This of course isn't your typical nail knot.)
    Irafly likes this.
  13. I just use a straight shot of 8 lb Seaguar fluorocarbon. No knots to deal with other then at both ends and it sinks fast due to the thin diameter.
    The weight of the indicator plus a couple of beaded chironomids seems to turn it over fine.
    I had a 20' leader on yesterday and I'm standing while casting which helps.
    I'll admit I'm not casting long distances, likely around 40' or so. That works for me as I have lousy eyesite so seeing the indicator twitch at longer distances isn't going to be happening anyway.
    Lots of ways to skin a cat when it comes to leaders. Just use what works for you.
  14. I just wanted to follow-up regarding my field test of the chironomid leader set-up I described above. I am still in the learning phase of chironomid fishing, but here are my observations:

    1) The butt section seemed to provide easier rig turnover, and was very buoyant.

    2) The braid from the butt to indicator section (being very light and of thin diameter), spanned the water surface with no drag.

    3) I adjusted the slip indicator with the peg on the braid section at least a dozen times. No kinks whatsoever! Maybe it's just me, but I don't like kinked-out leaders.;)

    4) The line splices(double nail knots) between the braid to both the mono(big diam. transition) and fluoro were strong and held great.

    5) Perhaps less effort was required on the hook set due to the non-stretch braid section. (just a leisurely 'reach up and ring the doorbell')

    6) Lone Lake(see thread: "The $16.20 Fish") is fairly shallow in most parts, but it was easy to shorten the last tippet section to gain more depth adjustability with the indicator on the braid section.

    I like it! Should work well for lakes of fairly consistent depths. Check out the video above, if you haven't already. Maybe you will too.
    troutpocket likes this.

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