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Discussion Starter #1
Planning on a trip down to get in on some tarpon action within the next month. A buddy and I made it down for a few days last year and threw shot after shot at Oceanside tarpon. I know there are a difficult target but we had no luck on eats (throwing an array of proven tarpon flies). Leaders varying from 9-12+ ft, varying wind. I threw an intermediate clear tip, he threw a LC clear floater. We used mono leaders, planned on switching up to flouro this year as that may help get eats. Obviously there is a ton of variables, but my main question is, do you think it’s worth is to shorten leader more than normal with clear tip lines to improve accuracy (help with wind) or stick with standard lengths? Will the flouro make a noticeable difference? Any advice to get eats would be greatly appreciated. We probably made over 50 shots and they all turned their nose.. actually got one eat. Thanks

** Also I read good things about airflo ridge clear tip floater and plan to try that out on a 11wt CC**
 

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I’m definitely no pro when it comes to tarpon on fly, but am interested in what others would think about full flouro leaders. Flouro sinks pretty quickly and depending on the situation could pull a fly below the strike zone when the fish are riding near the surface. Maybe a compromise would be best and use a mostly mono leader and a flouro bite tippet?
 

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I've never fished oceanside fish so take this for what its worth but.... maybe get away from the "proven" tarpon flies, those are the ones they see hundreds of their whole way up down, back and forth along the oceanside.

And if you haven't read Andy Mill's book, A Passion for Tarpon, get it now and absorb everything you can, then read it again.

Agree with the flouro sinking if the fish are riding high. As far as leader length goes, if you can turn it over throw it. From what I understand you should have the fly out in the fishes path way ahead of them so they don't see it land so having a nice long quiet 12'+ leader probably doesn't matter so much, although I have heard of a very well known Tarpon guy experimenting with 30'+ leaders down there.
 
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maybe get away from the "proven" tarpon flies
Only ocean side eat I've gotten was on a Black Death. Hard to get more proven, old school than that. ;)

Jet skis and guys chasing tarpon with their trolling motors probably matter more on the beaches than tarpon recognizing fly patterns.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Agree with the flouro sinking if the fish are riding high. As far as leader length goes, if you can turn it over throw it.
I agree. Everybody varies on ability and longer can’t hurt, but shorter can. Throw what you can. I also agree a higher riding fly with mono would be beneficial when they are swimming on surface in 4-6’ water but also know flouro in gin clear water can help a lot..

I also agree with leading the fish a fair bit but Oceanside migrating fish are in big groups, I don’t believe the lead fish should be the target, but rather a few fish back for better chances.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Only ocean side eat I've gotten was on a Black Death. Hard to get more proven, old school than that. ;)

Jet skis and guys chasing tarpon with their trolling motors probably matter more on the beaches than tarpon recognizing fly patterns.
Nothing worse then the oblivious jet skiers, full speed right through the money spot without a care in the world.
 

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I would go with an all flouro leader with the exception of your class tippet being hard mason for abrasion resistance. Your flouro is not going to sink that quickly. Maybe try a more sparsely tied fly without as much profile.
 

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I'm not an expert by any stretch but even with full flouro leaders I've never had an issue with a tarpon fly sinking too fast for it to sink below their path. If anything there's times where it's riding too high.
 

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I’m no expert either but my friend who is 78 (has lot of tarpon experience as you can imagine) has never jumped an ocean side fish. My therory is that the further away from people you get the more likely the fish are to eat.
 

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Ocean fish you will need to think about dropping down size on flies more than anything. A 2/0 or even smaller works. Ive always tended to lean towards darker colored flies on ocean fish as well. For leaders I use a standard 9' leader unless its glassy calm then Ill go 12' and I make mine out of Mason hard nylon. You can drop down in thickness since the hard nylon is tougher on abrasion. Also I take a thin piece of rubber and wipe down the leader which dulls the nylon finish and stops reflection. You can also straighten the hard nylon leaders so they pull absolutely straight. .. Just my 2 Cents
 

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Go to Key West Anglers website and look up videos on how to tie Tarpon leaders. There are several. It includes an entire leader building video and then a newer video on how to tie a Corbranagle knot. This is Nat Linville's spin off on Steve Huff's Huffnagle knot. It is for tying the class and Bite tippet together. The Cobra knot allows for a straight pull. There is also a good vid of how to tie the Bimini Twist.
Nathaniel is a knot guru, and a Tarpon (and Permit) genius. He fishes a TON. He has all sorts of good video's on there. He is always a player in tournaments and has won the Permit tournaments multiple times. His leader builds are pretty simple once you get the knots down. I was lucky enough to work there for a bit. When you see this guy tie knots in real life, it's pretty amazing and makes you realize that doing it a lot is the key. Like anything, repetition is the key to success.
Flouro almost all the time, except as mentioned above by others when talking about the Bite section. Then Hard mono. I never saw him use mono much, if at all.
 
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Fluoro does not sink as fast in saltwater due to the higher water density salt provides. The benefits of fluorocarbon are worth using it.

Everything depends on the conditions of the day. If you were fishing gin clear waters on a super calm day, maybe try a longer leader.

On most days, shorter leaders have the benefit of helping you throw a more accurate cast. Especially in the wind, which is more common than not. Cast accuracy or lack of it is the most common reason that fish get lock jaw, not leader length. So, if you are a pro, and can throw a long leader accurately in the wind, every time, go long. If a shorter leader helps you accurately place just one more cast, then shorten up. There are also techniques as mentioned above that will compensate for less accurate casts such as laying down your cast well in advance and trying to drag your fly into the feeding lane. (this is probably where fly and leader sink rate matter.) Someone mentioned smaller fly size for spooky fish. That's a good idea when fish have lock jaw and it too has the benefit of helping with more accurate casts.
 

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Sometimes the most subtle changes can make the biggest difference but I think people go overboard and over think things and take a more rocket science like approach overlooking a practical one that works.
Sidelock,
I replied to your request PM
 

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Take a look at the thread and threads buried in that thread, pinning up top of this Fly Fishing Forum.

Tarpon leader ?'s

That particular thread keeps guys creating new threads because they are asking. There is a library full of info on that thread concerning Tarpon Leaders, as well as other leader information.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for all the shares guys. I believe I will be sticking 9-12, all flouro leaders and see what we can manage.
 

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Like others have mentioned....Bruce Chard recommends mono all the way down to the shock tippet due to its buoyancy. He then uses flouro for the shock. The last section of mono is 30-lb test and about .024 in diameter.....the shock is 50-lb flouro at .025...or something similar.

 

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Clear fly lines unless your having trouble finding the fly. Standard leader material is hard Mason with a flouro shock leader of 40-60lb. General lengths from 8-12ft depending on the fish and weather that day.
 
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