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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all, I'm looking for some tribal knowledge or experience in leader making.

I typically fish a 6wt and a 9wt with a shooting head line and I try to make up my own leaders.

Most of the leaders I make are 6ft 30# mono, 3ft 20# mono, 1.5ft 10/12# mono, using the 10 or 12 as the tippet. Some are overall a little shorter or longer but those are the general proportions

I find that with medium to heavily weighted flies the leader does not roll out and turn over easily. It tends to hinge at the 30/20 knot as opposed to roll all the way out.
If I change to a lighter weighted or more wind resistant fly it rolls out nice.

Does this hingeing indicate a casting problem, a leader construction problem or am I just selecting flies that are too heavy for the setup?
Do I need a different proportioned leader for heavier flies or a longer/shorter leader in general?

What are some of the general guidelines I should follow for leader construction for use with shooting head fly lines and heaver flies?

Thanks in advance
 

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I tie mine 40" 40#, 30" 30#, 20" 20# for up to 9 wt. Add a 2' or so tippet of up to 15#. 12 wt. leader is 40" 50#, 30" 40#, 20" 30#, plus 2' 16-20# tippet. Works for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I tie mine 40" 40#, 30" 30#, 20" 20# for up to 9 wt. Add a 2' or so tippet of up to 15#. 12 wt. leader is 40" 50#, 30" 40#, 20" 30#, plus 2' 16-20# tippet. Works for me.
Thanks FlyBy
 

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So…..a long time ago when I roamed around 10k islands with a cheap 8 wt and a click reel …….spider wire braid was brand new. I made leaders out of 30# 30# and a mono tippet. It would cast great and was really strong. But the braid would catch every mangrove limb or oyster shell.
It was revolutionary.
 

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At the end of your cast, right before the leader hits the water, pull back a little on the fly line. It will help roll your fly out and also have you tight to the fly when it hits the water.
 

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I have used similar leader proportions with good effect. What type of knots are you using to connect the sections of line? So you are using mono-mono-mono, no flouro? Are you using hard or soft mono?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
First, thanks for the help everyone.

@Maliberti - nice link.......thx
@CaptAlex - I'm typically fishing in central Florida mostly East Coast Lagoon system. Reds, Specs, dirty water.
@Steve_Mevers. thanks - been trying to focus on that, feathering the line to the target. That's what really called my attention to the hinging.
@Miles813 - I'm using regular mono (soft?) and all connections are blood knots. I have tried some Flouro as the final section but didn't notice a real difference. I've been focusing on using lighter or unweighted flies lately and being more patient on the fall (sink rate). I planned on making up some new leaders and going back to Flouro to help get down a little quicker. That's what prompted my discussion.
I have also tried some furled leaders in situations when I'm fishing in a particularly abrasive situation (dock pilings and oyster bars). But in the end that didn't really have much effect on the hinging.

I've been switching leader lengths often, searching for the right combo but the trial and effort method is wearing thin. I have to think that there has to be some math and logic to this.
I'm catching fish, it's just not efficient or pretty.
 

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I've been getting good results with RIO saltwater leader material, and this "recipe".

4' 40# 3' 30# 2' 20#. I'm direct tying to the 20#, since I fish for reds.
 

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@Miles813 - I'm using regular mono (soft?) and all connections are blood knots. I have tried some Flouro as the final section but didn't notice a real difference. I've been focusing on using lighter or unweighted flies lately and being more patient on the fall (sink rate). I planned on making up some new leaders and going back to Flouro to help get down a little quicker. That's what prompted my discussion.
I have also tried some furled leaders in situations when I'm fishing in a particularly abrasive situation (dock pilings and oyster bars). But in the end that didn't really have much effect on the hinging.
You might try bumping up your butt section and taper on the 9 wt leader, but I would think 30-20-12/10 would be able to throw any size fly your 6 wt could as I've used that same recipe on my 7 and 8 wts. I would check your leader material manufacturer's website for their line diameters and make sure there isn't a big jump between their 30 and 20 that is causing the hinging and also that you are not using a soft material. Most people use hard mono and I have had success using Ande which is a medium. I guess it all depends on your definition of medium weighted flies, I throw med dumbbell eyes no problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
You might try bumping up your butt section and taper on the 9 wt leader, but I would think 30-20-12/10 would be able to throw any size fly your 6 wt could as I've used that same recipe on my 7 and 8 wts. I would check your leader material manufacturer's website for their line diameters and make sure there isn't a big jump between their 30 and 20 that is causing the hinging and also that you are not using a soft material. Most people use hard mono and I have had success using Ande which is a medium. I guess it all depends on your definition of medium weighted flies, I throw med dumbbell eyes no problem.
Thanks Miles
 

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I’ve had good luck with 60%-20%-20% (butt, mid, tippet) on almost all my leaders of any length. A heavier fly may need a more open loop on your cast to turn over well. Increasing the lb test on the butt section can help too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
@Miles813
I know of Masons "hard mono" but is all mono that is specified as "leader material" considered hard mono?
Are you making all sections from hard mono or just the butt?
 

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@Miles813
I know of Masons "hard mono" but is all mono that is specified as "leader material" considered hard mono?
Are you making all sections from hard mono or just the butt?
I do not believe all mono marked as leader material is "hard" as Ande leader material is described as a medium soft mono on their website. I use mono for everything except the tippet for which I use flouro.
 

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4'-3'-2'-1'...40#, 30#, 20#, bite. Or make the 20# section whatever class tippet you want. Starting with 40 may help your casting. I use mostly Ande mono, hard mono can be a pain to tie and is not necessary. Never make your whole leader with flouro unless you are really trying to sink your fly.
 

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Tell more about the “shooting head line”.

Is that a weighted sinking line attached to running line or is it one of the more typical modern floater all in one with more weight up front?

If its a sinking shooting head you don’t need much leader - six feet straight including a lighter tippet would be way plenty.

If its a modern line with a floating head thats heavy for nominal size, then a 50-30-20% should get you there. I’d pick different material for the 6 and the 9 - stiffer and heavier on the 9. For the 6 I’d probably use a tapered knotless leader with a heavy butt and go with that.

At some point, casting becomes chucking where the fly is just too heavy for the line. Not knowing what you’re fishing its hard to say but you might be there already. In that territory, stepping up a line size or two can fix your problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Tell more about the “shooting head line”.

Is that a weighted sinking line attached to running line or is it one of the more typical modern floater all in one with more weight up front?

If its a sinking shooting head you don’t need much leader - six feet straight including a lighter tippet would be way plenty.

If its a modern line with a floating head thats heavy for nominal size, then a 50-30-20% should get you there. I’d pick different material for the 6 and the 9 - stiffer and heavier on the 9. For the 6 I’d probably use a tapered knotless leader with a heavy butt and go with that.

At some point, casting becomes chucking where the fly is just too heavy for the line. Not knowing what you’re fishing its hard to say but you might be there already. In that territory, stepping up a line size or two can fix your problem.
Hi Hank,
Yes, a modern floating line with a weight forward profile. It sounds like you and most everyone else are on the scent with using a stiffer/heaver leader material.
 
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