It’s a beautiful sight seeing the shooting line rip out of the line basket and feel the line when it hits the rod blank and splash water on your hands. What’s more important though is to concentrate on is what happens in the turnover of the fly line right in that moment. The functionalities for the leader is to be an as close as possible invisible link between the fly line and the fly although it bares an important part in the cast as well. How stiff and thick the butt section of your leader is plays a big role in if the cast is turning over or not regardless if you are holding a single hander on the coast or a fifteen footer in the Salmon River.
The leader and to a certain point the fly line I find very interesting because they are the parts of your equipment that’s the furthest away from you as a fisherman and is the most difficult to feel what’s good and what’s bad like you can feel for example if a fly rod is to heavy in the top or to soft for your taste, you need to study the leader and line in the air and go on what you see!
I like using manufactured knotless leaders to most of my fly fishing especially on the coast, the range of tapered leaders is wide with lots of different kinds suited for certain species and fishing situations. These tings I go through here is not only good to know when choosing the right leader in your local shop, its also good to know if you are making your own leaders!
The leader for a perfect turnover
The reason why the leader is tapered is mainly for the casting and the turnover to be smother. If we take it to the extreme; picture you would have only a long straight leader of the tippet diameter you want to have than it would not only be tangling and terrible to cast it simply doesn’t have enough mass to turn it over to a straight presentation.
So more mass is good but how far can you go? It’s very important that the tip of the fly line is stiffer than the butt section of the leader. Why? This is something I often see when my guests have bought manufactured tapered leaders, they don’t turn over properly in the wind. The fly line is turning over in a nice fashion but when the loop has reached to the link to the leader the whole leader stands up straight into the air. That’s a clear sign the first part of the leader needs to be softer than it is. If you are casting into the wind this will be tough!
The solution: Take the leader and cut of a part in the back end, in my experience I could say most people would benefit from doing this. In the long term find a leader that works well with your line and stick to it. The important thing I want to leave you with is an enlightenment on how the premade leaders behave in the air and what’s good or bad for fishing situations.
Note: When attaching the leader loop to loop with the fly line make sure that the loops don't bend, fold it over so you tighten the connection without making them deformed.
If you find a leader that works well for your fly line you can stick to that and have a perfect leader time after time. It’s not that hard when you know what to look for. There are though still some leaders that when I take out of the package cut of the premade loop and make a new one just 10-15 cm shorter depending on line. When using a seven or eight weight line on the coast I have found this Tiemco High-energy leader 9' 0X to be fantastic! Feel free to comment if you have any thoughts or questions on your mind.
I will write more about casting in the future so if you find this interesting please sign up as an subscriber in the form down at the bottom of this page for the latest update on my blog.