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Hello,
I have a silly question for the board...Do most of you tie your own leaders, or do you buy them? What is the opinion of knoted vs. continual taper? If you make them what is your recipe source or better said, do you have your own secret blueprint for lakes vs. rivers, drys vs. nymphs? Just something I am wondering about. Do you recommend one kind over the other (i.e. store bought premade over homemade?)
Thanks for the info in advance
 

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This has been covered pretty thouroghly in the past; try doing a search and you'll probably get some recipes. You can also check any number of general flyfishing books. Lefty Kreh's knot book includes several leader recipes for different types of fishing.

I've been tying my own leaders for about a dozen years. At the time, store bought leaders were way too limp in the butt sections and didn't turn over well. I don't know whether that is still the case, but my experience has been that well put together knotted leaders perform better in almost every respect. But I'm a fledgling old crank, and part of it may be expecting the proper amount of work out of you before you can go fishing.
 

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I HATE store bought tapered leaders that look like a slinky when you try to use them. Yea, I know, if you work at it for a few hours you can get the loops out. Formulas are not required. A couple spools of tippet material of your choice, start with a couple feet of 0x, go down from there. Keep it short. Have fun, catch fish. Oh, and no use getting any of that useless 5x and 6x stuff, stick with stuff you can actually catch fish with.
 

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I recently purchased some Maxima tapered leaders that used hard nylon in the butt and limp, flexible material in the tip. I cut back the 4X tippet a bit & tied in my own 5X tippet. Worked great! Turns over nicely, and straightens quickly bu running through two pieces of rubber. Much better than other brands of packaged leaders that I've used.

Tom
 

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Just an Old Man
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I forgot what I was supposed to remember.

I tried that once and because of my sloppy casting I went back to store bought ones. Even though the knots are small I kept getting them tangled up. So I stick with tapered store bought ones.

Jim
 

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That's interesting. I found the opposite, that my casting improved dramatically with hand tied leaders, I believe because of the longer, stiffer butt section. It turned out my loops were tailing because the leaders were too limp.

By the way, 0X is not near big enough for the butt section of a long trout leader. On a typical 11' dry fly leader, I'll start with 2' of 35# or 40# mono, followed by 1-1/2' to 2' feet of 30# or 35#, followed by successive 8" to 1' lenghts of diminishing diameters, tapering to 4x. then I add tippit as necessary.
 

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Formerly Tight Loops
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Actually the butt section of the leader is best to match the diameter of the fly line it is attached to. That way power transfer is smoother. Oh, and stiffness should be similar, too.

On the main thread of the topic, I usually buy leaders that are 6' or greater, and tie my own that are shorter. Now the 6' or greater leaders all get modified by me, either replacing tippets, adding to them, or taking a 6' leader and making it 12'.

And BTW, do you all know about LeaderCalc? http://globalflyfisher.com/fishbetter/leadercalc/index.php

Its a pretty nice spreadsheet for leader design, and the website sure has alot of information on it about leader design and use.
 

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Good ? I use cortland333, or climax leaders. I like the way the hand tied leaders turnover, but it seemed like the knots either snaged in the guides with long leaders/fish on situations, or snagging weeds,or something to often. Maybe my knots were no good. Anyone else have that problem?----Jon
 

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I like to tie my own leader. It turns over nicer & is great for the rivers & streams...........but on lakes o use a tapered leader..... Do most people use the store bought tapered leader on the lakes? I always thought the knots were too easy to see on the lakes (on a quiet, windless day).

P.S. If I can tie my own leader, then anyone can...lol :p
 

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11 foot leaders?? You are right, 0x would never work as a butt on a 11' leader. I haven't used a leader over 9' long in...............OK, don't think I have ever used a leader longer than 9'. Keep it short, keep it simple, have fun, catch fish.
 

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Not Quite A Luddite, But Can See One From Here
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RiverFishing

What you described is generally my approach also (buying the longer leaders). I've also heard and more or less follow the rule of thumb that the butt diameter should approximate that of the flyline. I use a blood knot there and uni-knots to join sections of leader material or if I add tippet to a leader. I've read somewhere, too, that those rubber "leader-straighteners" weren't necessarily good for leaders (the heat build-up) and my experience has been that stretching them between thumb and finger, as was described elsewhere, works fine.
Also have to agree the uni-knots, even if trimmed neatly, seem to accumulate some algae or moss or will find their way into an occasional tangle. But those are probably hazards of the occupation, and I don't imagine the tiny bit of moss or algae that might show up would bother the fish...
Don't have any real experience with longer hand-tied leaders to know if my casting would be better or worse than with the tapered, but this thread does make me want to experiment some.
Hmm....
By the way, couldn't function without my knot-tying tool. One of my best purchases ever.

Mike

:dunno
 

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When I first started FF'ing I used storebought leaders and they seemed to work ok but I was going through them fast (read: poor casting and many snarls). My 1st attempts at hand tied leaders with my surplus gear-fishing mono in order to save $ were abysmal. They simply would not cast. Then I bought a "kit" of small spools of maxima from 30lb-8lb. I then tie in tippet from 2x-5x depending on what fly I am fishing. I couldn't believe how easy they were to cast compared to what I was using before. I have not bought a tapered leader since. I still have the same set of spools and have not gone through them yet. I typically use a 40-30-30 formula (butt-taper-tippet), but you should get get some different recipes and try them with your rod, your casting style and the flys you commonly use. Personally I have found the biggest trouble in getting the formula right for fishing small dries. I am still fine tuning that approach.

I used to use blood knots but found them too fragile and too hard to tie. The surgeon's works so well and is so easy to tie, why use anything else? I like the earlier post's idea of using blood knots on the heavier sections, they do lie straighter and I will give this a try.

bh:thumb
 

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What is the story on the braided or furled leaders that are for sale in many of the catalogs? They look like a neat deal as you just add tippet, but do they work and are they worth the money?

Badger
 

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I used to tie all my leaders with special formulas as dictated by Ray Bergamn, Ted Trueblood, Lee Wuff and dozens of others. They worked but I was always afraid one of the knots would let go on a trophy trout. Moss was a problem. Fishing two midges is tough enough without having knots to tangle up on.
So now, like the other old rumpelstilskin, I used store boughts and get as fresh as I can and change the tippet often. Listen, please:
7X--dynamite except its difficult to bring fish to hand.
I don't believe fish can see 7X.
6X--not bad, but it still has the problem of breaking fish off too readily.
5X--my tippet of choice for trout.
3X--love to use this stuff when the fish will take it. I can really cowboy around a lot and pour the rod to them for a quick release.
0X--what dreams are made of.
Steelhead/salmon--8lbs. test tippet should be able to land anything that swims.
Just my opinion, no scientific basis.
Bab:beer1
 

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Just an Old Man
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I forgot what I was supposed to remember.

This is from that other old guy(rumpelstilskin). I don't use 7X as it is too hard to see let alone try to stick in that little eye hole on them small hooks. Besides trying to tie anything that thin and with my shakes. It's a joke. It's the same with 6X. My tippet of choice is a 5X and it depends what kind you buy as they all seen to be different sizes poundage wise. The only time I use anything bigger that 5X is when I'm fishing for the fish of 10,000 casts. And it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out my problems on tying up leaders.

From a old man.

Jim
 
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