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Leader Advice

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Hi Paul,

I'm undecided on what type of leader would best suit my needs as a beginner. I will be fishing a small stillwater fishery and later a reservoir. What type of leader?
1) Braided leader
2) Knotless tapered leader
3) Tie my own tapered leaders (not yet attempted)
And what will be the best material?
Thanks for yor time and I look forward to your expert reply!

Yours sincerely,
Mark Hutchinson

Hi Mark,

Here's an excerpt thread from the Board:

Robow: Does anyone maintain always matching their tippet with their leader size? such as always using a 5X tapered leader with a 5X tippet.  I've never held to this principle but this "expert" on another fly fishing board felt this was a must. Just curious. Thanks for your input.

Paul Arden: No Robow, I hardly ever do this. I use a 10lb point TL permanently needle knotted to the flyline, with a perfection loop in the other end. To this I half-blood my tippet. I only ever attach 10 lb tippet if I'm using 10lb point. For most of my trouting I use either a 6 or 4lb point (mostly 6). I'm happy to step down from 10 to 6 and don't see a problem with this.

Herb: One could start a new religion on leaders that would rival Christianity.   Paul's answer is as pragmatic as they come.    I use either a 5' floating poly or a 9' tapered mono leader tapered down to say 8-10lbs (Depends what I can get).    As these leaders turn over most of the time I select my tippet assembly to create some slack up front especially when fishing upstream dry-fly.    I still step down from 10lbs to 6lbs to 4lbs.   It is the length of the final 4lbs in relation to the fly bulk that gives me the slack.   Not a lot but enough to avoid drag for the critical overpass.

For sight nymphing I use the 9' tapered mono and another 6-8' of stepped down mono to keep my fly-line as far away from the fish as conditions allow.    In shallow streams I fish my small inconspicuous indicator a max of 3' (often shorter) from the nymph.   Most of the time I react to the fish's behaviour rather than the indicator but under certain light conditions the indicator comes into its own.

My advice is, use as short as a leader length and as great a leader strength as your water and fish allow.  

Paul: Herb, interesting! We have exactly the same leader set-up and for exactly the same reasons. The only time I use longer leaders than this is for fishing three flies on stillwater, where I'll generally use about 18-22 ft. Same thing: tapered leader but with a longer length of tippet.

(The trick to using three flies is to make sure that the point fly and the middle dropper are considerably further apart than the middle dropper is from the top/bob fly.)

No doubt this is more information than you expected. Here's some more: Leaders for stillwaters, tying the needle knot , upstream dryfly - unusual link that last one :)

Cheers, Paul

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