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How To Build A Fly Fishing Leader
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How to Build A Fly Fishing Leader

When getting ready to go fly fishing the leader is the last thing to get added to the fly line and if you don't know any better there is few things to know so the leader is correct for fishing. If you are new to fly fishing then this article will teach you how to build a fly fishing leader.

For the benefit of beginners we will assume that we are fishing for trout with a seven weight rated ten foot rod and the target trout are anywhere between 3lb and 8lb in weight. With this in mind we will use 8lb breaking strain mono-filament line which can be obtained very cheaply from any good tackle shop.

Making a Double Blood Knot

For again simplicity we use the double blood (or cliche knot) technique to build the leader. First take a length of about 8-9ft off the spool and cut in half. Next form two blood knots back to back leaving the tag end on one of the knots about 7-8 inches long to use as the dropper. To form a blood knot wind the two pieces of leader around each other about ten times. Pick the middle loop and push through the two tag ends one in each direction. Moisten and pull until almost tight. Have a look at the knot making sure no loops have slid over one and other but are lying behind each other. When you are happy with the two sides moisten again and pull tight. Trim the shorter of the tags and now we have a dropper sitting proud of the main line.

How to form a water knot

To finish off the leader we need to form a water knot or surgeons knot at the end so we can attach our leader to the fly line with the loop to loop connection. The water knot is formed by looping over the tag end so we have now doubled the material. Then form a circle and push the loop through the circle three to four times. Moisten, pull tight and trim the tag end. You will now have a loop at the end of your leader which you can use to join to you fly line which should have a braided loop already attached if you have read the previous article.

Tip! If you have formed the leader and there are kinks in it take a piece of wet cloth and pull the leader through the cloth held tightly in your hand being careful not to over stretch it. Remember what breaking strain you are using to avoid damaging it. This will help straighten your leader and is a good techniques to use at the river if you get any new kinks.

There you have it a simple leader for fly fishing with one dropper. You can add more droppers by repeating the connection process but be mindful that the more droppers you have the more chance or wind knots, kinks and hang ups on the vegetation and river bottom you will get. I would not recommend any more that two flies for a beginner. Need more help with fly fishing then check out my blog.

Any comments are welcome below.


Street Talk

Really helpful advice Mark, I have always struggled with what leader set up I should use this has cleared a few things up for me.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Glad we could help. It does have a bearing on the fishing when using the correct leader your catch rate will go up.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Very interesting stuff Mark. My father enjoys finishing a lot, I reckon he'll like to read this!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Thanks for commenting Luke!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Interesting - I didn't realize you fish with lines that break on purpose when you exceed your targeted size of fish. My nephew ties his own flies and I remember looking at one in progress and others neatly pinned on a soft board when I visited last year. Thanks for reminding me of a pleasant memory;)

Reply
  about 7 years ago

The idea is not for the line to break Cynthia or you will lose the fish. Monofilament is made in different strengths the smaller the breaking strain the smaller and finer the filament so it is harder for the fish to see. The idea is to put on the correct breaking strain for the desired target fish. If by chance you catch a whopper the line can still land it if you don't exceed the breaking strain pressure. This is tricky but can be learnt with a bit of practice. Thanks for reading.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

I am with Mike, in Boy scouts we learned a lot about certain knots and fishing. Very nice article

Reply
  about 7 years ago

You'll have to share some of your knot tying skills with me. Thanks for reading.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Talk of knots takes me back to my boy scout days, and I must admit I wasn't good at them either.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

It all about practice Mike, but when you lose a trout to a bad knot believe me you learn quickly how to tie it better.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Im still thinking you need to get down to our neck of the woods man. Very nice article.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Would love too man, you got a spare room? :-)

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Thanks Mark this is really helpful, but I have a question. If I am after 3-8lb trout and I use 8lb breaking strain line how do I keep the line from breaking if I hook one at the higher end?

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Good question Jim, it comes down to the tension setting on the reel and how much pressure to put on the rod. This comes with experience but a general rule is if the trout wants to run let it, don't try to hold it fast. If the rod is bent in two your have too much pressure on it.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Great article Mark, would this help me catch bonefish.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Hi Alfred I would change the construction of that to a tapered leader starting with a 20lb butt section 5ft in length then a 3ft of 15lb midsection followed by 2-3ft of 10lb tippet. This tapering will aid with turn over especially if its a windy day. However the same knots as in the trout leader will work here too.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Great article. Just when you think you know it all you learn something new. Thanks

Reply
  about 7 years ago

I'm still learning Frank, every year tackle manufacturers come up with new equipment and improvements on older formats and its a learning curve on how to use them to catch more fish.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
Anindo  

That was very well explained. It seems i will learn a lot without even fishing :P

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Thanks for reading Anindo, there is more to fishing than catching fish, :-)

Reply
  about 7 years ago
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