Bruce Ajari | Do not overlook the importance of leaders | SierraSun.com
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Bruce Ajari | Do not overlook the importance of leaders

All anglers in their pursuit of catching fish use leaders. To fly fishers, they are probably even more important since the design of the leader helps the fly turn over properly.

Most fly-fishing leaders are tapered from a thicker butt section to a finer tippet, the connection to the fly itself. Because flies are lighter than lures, the fly line provides the weight and the leaders are tapered so they will turn over and straighten out.

Leaders are constructed with both monofilament and fluorocarbon material. Fly fishers carry a pretty large selection of leaders for specific purposes.



For dry-fly fishing, monofilament lines are the best since these leaders will float as opposed to fluorocarbon lines that sink. Anglers typically carry dry-fly leaders in lengths from 9 to 15 feet, or more, for particularly finicky fish or stillwater conditions.

If anglers come across a particularly selective fish while dry-fly fishing, they can apply some leader sink to a few inches of tippet above the eye of the hook. They can also add a short length of fluorocarbon leader material to the tippet. Both of these will help to eliminate the leader shine caused by the leader at the hook eye by sinking that section of line.



Nymphing leaders tend to be shorter and typically run from 6 to 9 feet. Fluorocarbon makes very good leaders. Because it sinks it is the logical choice while fishing nymphs beneath the surface.

For streamer fishing, a very short leader of 4 to 6 feet can be used. This will help keep the baitfish pattern on the bottom.

Varying the length of the leader to fit the fishing conditions can make or break your fishing trip some days. Recently while fishing some stillwater with a floating line, we found that the fish were holding in deeper water. As a result, changing to a long leader with a fluorocarbon tippet and adding a split shot allowed us to get down to the fish.

Later in the evening the fish began to feed on the surface. A quick change in the leader to regular monofilament allowed the dry fly to float nicely. With the right pattern we had some very good action.

Leaders are your connection to the fly and the fish. Do not overlook the importance of this piece of terminal tackle for your fishing success.

and#8212; Bruce Ajari is a Truckee resident and regular fishing columnist for the Sierra Sun and other area newspapers.


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