Viking Lars | Saturday, 23 September 2023

For many, many years I’ve been nearly obsessed with leaders. I’ve tied my own since I began fly fishing, but newly I mostly use the tapered ones. It’s nice to rid of the big knots in the thick section of the leader. I still tie a few of my own for special applications. Leaders can be really long, delicate, have a hard turnover for big flies, complicated patterns and finally, very simple. In fact, hardly a leader at all.

I took my bike yesterday, to a local, yet new to me, stream. A small, forrest covered stream that despite its size sees a good migration of sea trout, big ones too. I didn’t catch any, but that was of course because of low water, no fault of mine. I had also only brought a sink tip line, which is what I normally use on these small streams. And being on the bike, I kept it down to need-to-have. However, this was one of those occasions where a nice-to-have floating line should have been in the pack. I had the fishing on the south side and because of the very small river and a roof of trees, 90% of the pools I fished, I had to fish up stream. Next time… a floating line in the pack.

I’m heading north to another small stream tomorrow, where I know there’s a little more space. Here I usually fish sink tip lines. Back to the leaders - and the almost non-leader I use for sink tip lines.

You shouldn’t use a long leader on any sinking line. All you accomplish is that the line takes longer to pull the fly down. A 4-5 foot tapered leader is nice to use, but from a nice-to-have contra need-to-have viewpoint, it really makes very little difference. I used to tie them and very rarely do so now. I simply add a 2-4 feet piece of straight monofilament in a thickness that makes sense.

On an over grown stream you’re bound to stick flies in a tree every now and then, so I use a fairly heavy leader, so I can pull as many free again, as possible. That makes sense as far as the fishing goes too, there are chances of 10 pound + sea trout in these small streams. Hooking one of those in these conditions means holding the fish hard and for that, you also need a strong leader.

So for sink tip lines, especially on smaller streams - simply loop on a straight piece of monofilament.

Have a great weekend!