View Full Version : leaders

04-15-2007, 09:56 PM
have always used the cheapest leaders buyable--3pks etc--monofilament-are the more expensive leaders really better??if so...why??

04-15-2007, 10:31 PM
Don't know the answer to your question but stay away from the clearance and closeout stuff as I have found it to be old and very fragile. Breaks like crazy as I always give my fly a tug after tying on.

04-15-2007, 11:55 PM
I wouldn't skimp...good leaders are tied according to specific formulas - thick butt sections, tapering to fine tippets. You have to have the right leader to turn the fly over properly - I've been learning that the hard way. LRO has a nice selection.

04-16-2007, 06:26 AM
I have found that paying the extra price for Frog Hair tippet material has well been worth it for fishing in the mountains. It has amazing flexibility which makes the fly drift much more naturally. I have even had the fly spinning around in those little whirlpools that you find on the streams. It also has quite a lot of stretch which helps on those over aggressive hook sets. I have not used their full leaders but I am sure they have the same properties.

They are available at LRO.

04-16-2007, 07:48 AM
What leader/tippet would you guys suggest for the mountian streams?

04-16-2007, 07:59 AM
I usually tie my own leaders but when I have to buy them, I usually purchase 7 1/2' 3x or 4x leaders and then I can tie whatever tippet I want to the end of the leader to suit my needs. Sometimes I just keep it the length, as is, sometimes I make it longer with 4x or 5x, or even 6x, as the case may be. I find that 4x is usually good enough but if the fish are skittish, or the water is low, I will go down to either 5x or 6x. I like the Orvis Super Strong leaders. When I build my own I usually use Maxim. There are plenty of leader recipes available on the internet. Do a google search for Leader Calc. Hope this helps.

04-16-2007, 11:24 PM
I want to put my 2 cents and strongly recommend Frog Hair Tippets. I will not use anything else. I used them on the Bighorn summer before last and the fish we lost were from the hooks pulling out not breaking leaders. I am usually skeptical about Higher price material vs real need for it, but don't skimp here. Watch clearance stuff very carefully!

04-17-2007, 05:17 AM
Count one more in for frog hair. I know it's expensive and i have trouble paying for them sometimes, but it's definitely worth it. Once you get over theh sticker shock and use it, you will be happy you bought it. It is simply the best leader out there. I have tried every brand i can think of and this one is noticeably stronger. With other brands, sometimes when i tied a fly on it would break for no apparent reason when i went to tighten it down, but with frog hair i have yet to have this problem and i have yet to have my line break (knock on wood). At least give it a shot and see what you think.


04-17-2007, 09:39 AM
Ditto on Frog Hair. Been using the mono for years and am now onto the fluor for TW fishing. Best stuff I've tried yet.

04-17-2007, 09:47 AM
You fellows that are using Frog Hair. If I am not mistaken this is a fluorocarbon leader material. Doesn't it sink instead of float? If so, don't you have problems with the fly being carried underwater? I may be mistaken about fluorocarbon material and would like your input.

04-17-2007, 10:09 AM
I used to buy the 3 pack bags of leaders. I started tying my own several years ago with the maxima spools. I like to make my own Dry fly leaders using the George Harvey formula. They lay out a dry like no other with zigzags in the fine tippet section for a longer drift. It works great on long flat pools. Frog Hair has a George Harvey leader that is about 11ft. long. I use the formula and reduce each section by 20% to make 8 ft and 9 ft leaders. I always use the frog hair tippet also, I have more confidence in it than any other tippet I've tried. I have been wanting to try those blue sky furled leaders. Has anyone tried them yet?

04-17-2007, 11:49 AM
For dry flies and all-around use, I use Cabela's Specialty Leaders by Climax (4pk -$7.99) and add on Orvis SS Tippet (40m {not 30} spools - $3.95). Unless you want an off brand, or find something in a bargain bin, these are the least expensive. I have landed 4-5 pound Bass, Brown Trout and a 31" Carp. For Nymphing and streamers, I use Orvis Mirage, again in 40M spools for $9.95. Also, the Mirage is as strong, and in most cases, stronger (better test rating) than other Fluoros. I found an on-line sale for the .017" to .025" and am now tying my own Fluoro leaders. I figure they cost me about $1.50 each for a nine footer. I use these for Steelheading and it is very comforting knowing that I have a 2X tippet with a 12.5 pound rating.

Dancing Bear
04-17-2007, 03:55 PM
I started using Frog Hair leaders a couple of years ago after trying their tippet material. I used Umpqua before that. On my last trip I had to change leaders and I put on an Umpqua I had in the chest pack for an extra and it felt like wire compared to the Frog Hair. After a few casts it came off and Frog Hair went back on. They are worth the money.
Chris, the supple butt/supple tip that I use are mono.

04-17-2007, 04:20 PM
troutman, I currently have one of those blue sky leaders on my 3 weight. I haven't made up my mind about it yet. It gives very delicate presentations. sometimes I think I love it, sometimes I don't. It's great for slower water, but in faster water conditions, well it's ok, but not so hot. this is what it does: when you cast and lay your line down, the leader along with the tippet will just slowly "float" down to the water. this for me can be good or bad depending on the conditions. overall I like it and will probably use it until it breaks, which may be a long time. prior to that I had been using an orvis braided leader which I really love.

Tellico Angler
04-17-2007, 09:27 PM

I fish alot of small streams and rivers for trout and smallmouth. I like a RIO 9ft. 5x leader for just about all of it, except heavier leader for streamer fishing. Not really a stealth matter when throwing streamers, so why not have a little insurance. 95% of the time is mono. Fluoro is nice, but very expensive. I have not really been sold on paying that for it yet. Especially not in freshwater. If you know how to play big fish, the breaking strength is not a huge deal either. I have landed 16 inch smallies on the RIO with no problems. In rivers and lakes. And yes to the post about pulling the fly under in the swirling water with fluoro. As far as mono breaking while tying knots, alot of knots will break when cinched down unless you wet them first. If the fluoro does not break, you can be sure that it has abrasion on it if you do not wet it first. In closing, fishing is all about having confidence in your choice of what to fish with, whether fly selection or anything else. Do yourself a favor and try the fluoro. You may like it, I just can not justify paying for it. Especially when you spend as much time on the water as I do.

Steve www.tellicoangler.com

04-18-2007, 12:13 AM
Frog's Hair comes in both mono or floro. I also like it far better than most other products and have found that it gives a bit or perhaps I should say is a bit more flexible and more forgiving on aggressive hook sets IMHO.


04-18-2007, 04:58 PM
I have used the Frog Hair quite a bit but got away from it. I found it to be inconsistent. I went through 3 spools of 5x, actually 2 because the second was defective, the whole length of it looked frayed. I use the Rio now and it is strong and maybe a little stiff, but in that case just tie on a little longer length. I still like the Orvis tapered leaders best. The Rio tippet seems to be one tippet size stronger than the Orvis, but is stiffer. I found the Frog Hair leaders really prone to knots. As with so many things in this sport, the equipment you have faith in is what you will use and have success with.

I usually fish a 9' 5x in the Smokys, 12' 6x + 3' of 6x tippet added for 15' on the Clinch or South Holston. Probably not needed for nymphs, just the way I have done it. For small dries on the Clinch or SH I do feel it is an asset.

Out west last summer we used 3x, and 4x alot. Even on DePuy's spring creek we used 9' 5x + 3' of 6x. We may have hit is on a good day, but those fish didn't seem as finicky as the Sulphur sippers on the Clinch used to be!

On most mountain streams outside the Smokys 4x works fine in a 9'