View Full Version : Line, leaders question...

01-25-2008, 12:24 PM
Hey guys/gals,

I'm still very new at fly fishing, especially when it comes to trout/mountain streams. I'm from FL, and I use a 9ft 7wt rod with cortland WF line to match, with a fairly long mono leader w/no tippet on Bass. It works out perfectly. I also use those cortland braided leader loops for bass, and I have used them when fishing for trout in the park. In the GSMNP I use a 6ft 3wt rod, with cortland line to match, and again I have been using long tapered leaders, with no tippet; I know the lack of tippet material, is hindering my chance at catching those spooky fish.

Now to the questions. I haven't been using the tippet material for one simple reason - my casting is not that good. here in FL its easy to throw around a streamer in a bass pond, tippet or no tippet, I catch them. In the park, its a different story. I sometimes have issues with trees, which is why I bought a 6ft rod to replace the 8ft I broke a few years back. the 8ft rod, for me, was very tough to keep my fly out of the trees. I lost quite a few flys simply because the tippet material would break, or the knots gave way. I guess you could say I've gotten discouraged by my leader to tippet knot quality, and tippet strength. I was willing to sacrifice catching fish, in order to get more casting practice on the streams, as well as save money on flies, leaders, and tippets. I don't know how much of a good idea that was?

So, I'm thinking of getting some BlueSky Furled Leaders and was just wondering what would work best in the park for the line I'm using (which is 3w DT-F) the 0-3wt or 3-5w? I don't need any tippet material, I've got more than enough to last a couple years, froghair in 3 different sizes, and two other brands in multiple sizes that I can't remember atm.

That brings me to another question. The cortland line I'm using wasn't very expensive, but so far it has been really good to me. Do you think I would benefit from getting something better, around the 60$ range? I know there is more expensive stuff out there (sharkskin) but I don't think I want to ruin something that nice when I'm still learning. Although if I see more than a 30-40% performance increase, I wouldn't mind spending the money.

Now, some knot questions. I use those cortland braided leader loops; yay or nay? I've had some guys say they are bad, others say they are good. would I be better off with that needle technique (forget the name of it) of attaching leaders to fly lines. Or do those furled leaders, have a loop already at the butt end? I cant tell from the picture. Is the furled leader really green in coloration? If so, wouldn't that spook trout in clear water? I know the trick is to keep as much line out of the water as possible, but I'm still learning to be efficient at it :redface:

What knot should I be using to attach the tippet to the leader? I would assume I should only need around 2-3ft of it in most situations. I've read that you can use more for spooky fish. Since those furled leaders have much lower memory than mono, can I get away with using 2ft of tippet in most cases? If there is any literature you can point me to, just let me know!

Lastly, I know that since I'm using such a small rod, that its more technical to get a fly where I want it, and quietly. Should I keep using that or am I getting ahead of myself being that I'm still learning to cast efficiently? Generally I jump into things, and learn the hard things first, for some reason I like that I don't know why.

Anyway, sorry for the long read, thanks for your time!

01-25-2008, 05:54 PM
Dear Boost, Great questions. These are my thoughts. I have used a variety of connections for fly line to leader including braided loops. Some people feel they causes a hinge while casting or that the braided loops aren't durable. I have not noticed any such problems. I do think the Orvis connector makes a smoother fit. I've used furled, braided, tapered leaders and now I knot my own. Furled leaders are kind of pricey. I would save them for delicate presentations. I use a loop connection on both ends of my leader. Large end with perfection loop to fly line. Small end of leader tied with a double surgeons loop. You can tie your tippet to the loop with an improved clinch knot or put a loop in the tippet to do a loop to loop connection. Not exactly a purist model of leader construction, but it works. Knotting 5x and 6x together can be tricky especially if you hook a big fish. I feel loops make a safer connection. Practice your knots at home instead of on the river. Probably some disagreement among anglers about all of this. Good luck, Monk

01-25-2008, 06:14 PM
Thanks Monk :biggrin:

I use a small amount of that flexible superglue on the braided leader loops and I can't imagine those things ever coming off. The Bass in my area are psycho's and destroy pretty much anything you throw at them, and they have yet to damage my leader loop connection with their hard fighting. I think I should try a more finess method though, something that heavy duty is probably messing with my casting technique on such a small rod with such light line.

I do see what you mean about that hinge effect. I bet it is even worse when you use a glue that stiffens up the braids of the leader loop. I will look up all of those knots you suggested and practice them. You're right about it being a bad idea to test knots at the stream for two reasons; losing tackle, and littering. I hate losing tackle, especially in the park due to its fragile ecosystem.

01-26-2008, 02:23 PM
This topic has been discussed on a few other threads...I use a furled leader, and I like the presentation I get with it. Now, I really think they were developed on more open streams (the chalk streams in England, I believe), and they take quite a beating on the small streams with a full canopy of trees - I went through a few of them this summer, which is a lot more than the advertising on the package (which indicates one should last for a whole season of fishing). I attach my tippet with just a plain clinch knot, and I use about 2-3 ft of it, depending on the fly, etc.

01-28-2008, 12:48 PM
Thanks ijsouth :)

I saw the furled leader subject in another thread, but I had so many other questions regarding other parts of the fly line setup I figured I might as well ask about it all lol. That and I wanted to see if they were good to use in conjunction with the rest of my setup.

I gather its best to use a furled leader when its somewhat of an open stream, or when I need to wade near the center of a stream, and I have less of a chance of hitting the trees. Other than that, for small streams I should use a mono leader. Clinch knot is simple enough, I'll have to try it out!

What do you think about 6ft rods, for the majority of smokies fishing? I thought it was good idea. Years ago I saw an elderly gentleman using a short rod and thought it was a great idea for such small, confined waters, like the majority of streams in GSMNP. Only I find it difficult to cast out accurately over distances of 35ft.

Does that sound about right? It almost seems as if the line loses its power VERY quickly after about 35 ft. If I cast out any further than that, the leader/fly just kind of crumple down in the water all together. Am I getting the maximum useable power out of my rod? Or would I be better off getting something like a 7.5 - 8 ft rod?

Also, is 35 ft enough of a distance to stay out of a trout's line of sight on average? I know a lot of it is me staying quiet and sneaky, but theres I know there's a point at which it doesnt matter, and a fish will see you no matter what you do.


01-28-2008, 04:31 PM
I would say that the majority of the time, I'm within 20ft of my target - of course, I like to fish the small streams. As for rod size, that's a topic that can be debated over and over. My basic outfit is a 7.5ft 2wt - I also have a 6'10" 3wt. Generally, I think the benefits of the longer length outweigh the disadvantages (getting hung up a bit more). For example, one of the best feeding stations in a pool is right near where the water exits the pool at the tail end - in order to fish this area, you have to be below it, in the preceeding pool, but at the same time, you have to hold almost all of the leader out of the water to avoid drag. A longer rod helps in the presentation, as you don't have to get as close.

I find any cast over 20ft runs the risk of drag, not to mention snags, at least where I like to fish. In the lower sections of the major streams (Little River, etc), you're more likely to find the bigger pools, and also the casting room to make longer casts.

01-28-2008, 05:26 PM
ijsouth, thanks!

That makes a lot of sense. It looks as though I'm asking too much of my setup. Time to start being stealth like ninja!