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Monday, 25 June 2012

Focus on Leader Configurations

I've just been reading through Chris Dore's Blog -

and I've been very impressed with what the man says. It's always awesome to come across anglers who are taking their fishing very seriously, and pushing themselves to the next level, to fish the best they possibly can and all that.

He has an article on how to catch more fish.

It seems to be all about how to remove A.E. "Angler Error".

This last season gone, I was very happy with my fishing, exceeding my personal bests for catching the most fish per day (9 in on a German Mountain stream) and my biggest trout (the brace of 8lb+ Sea Trout in NZ).

However one area that I've singled out for improvement is in my leader design and functionality. Too often I found that they weren't turning over with the ACCURACY that I wanted, especially with dry flies, which I've also started to use more than ever before this last season. Without the fly having any weight, sometimes they just sort of stopped having a tight loop as the tip half of the leader unrolled. And then they could get blown by any wind, off target.

I know that there is few areas as contentious as leader design, with many backcountry NZ anglers swearing on fishing 'fine and far' with as longer leaders as possible (2 -2.5 rod lengths or even more). I've always preferred to use as short a leader as possible and still catch the trout, focussing on accurate casting and anticipating the movements of the fish.

So I am just going to get out there on the casting practice range, and cast a whole lot of differently structured leaders over this Winter here in Queenstown. Ones made to suit the potential fishing in the season ahead.

And sit inside tying up different styles of em when the weather is poor. 

To personally fully "Understand the effects of shortening / steepening my tapers and also just what happens when I lengthen / soften up the leader system" . 

I'll experiment with:
  • Greg Kemp style leaders with very stiff 15-20lb butt sections
  • Short leaders of a rod length or less for small streams
  • Dry Fly leaders - discover the perfect leader to accurately turn over a #16 adams on 13' nylonA level 10' 4X Fluro leader for Spring prospecting in fast medium sized Mtn rivers

To keep me focussed and inspired I've quoted a few paragraphs from his post here, I'll come back to these to stay motivated.

"Casting needs not be mentioned to those who follow my blog. Practise, practise and practise is my mantra. The trout dont care if it’s blowing a gale, or wether you only get to fish a couple of times a year - if you cannot put the fly correctly infront of the trout, he will not eat it. One bum cast, and he is gone. Put in the time on the grass prior to your trip to make the most of your opportunities on the stream. When you are on the river you are fishing. Not practising.

Know how different fly and leader configurations will perform. It’s no use practising with a bit of fluff at home on a 9' leader, then tying on a size 10 double tungstan with a 15' lead when called for... It is not going to perform the same. Understand the effects of shortening / steepening your tapers and also just what happens when you lengthen / soften up the leader system.

Also get a feel for softer / stiffer leader materials and their effect on the delivery of your fly. It’s very rare that i fish with a 9' 6lb leader with a couple of feet of similar strength tippet for long at all. I never hesitate to chop and change as needed".

So if you have any favourite leader recipies that you would like to share, or any other thoughts on leaders, then please comment on this post! :D


  1. Oh yeah, and practising my triple surgeon's knot so I can attach a new tippet and fly in under 60 seconds!

  2. And get a leader wallet to keep em all in, labeled!

    E.g. 8', 6X tip
    20' Dry Fly, 5X tip

    ready to go in different situations, with tippet rings attached ready to take a fresh piece of tippet.

  3. Note to self: And experiment with building Czech nymph leaders, using the Nelson Trout fishing club's newsletter's article.