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Need help with leader/tippet connection


Jonn Graham
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I have been having problem with my leader to tippet connection. Must be doing something wrong. When I get snagged, I often lose essentially the whole leader. Something is wrong. Here is what I have been doing:

 

I use a nail knot to attach the leader to the fly line. I usually make my leader around 4 feet long. Then I tie a loop (double overhand knot) to the leader and the tippet section. Then I run the tippet through the loop of the leader making a loop-to-loop connection. The leader and the tippet are both 8 pound test copolymer. When I get hung I expect it to break at the fly, but it does not.

 

 

Please help.........................I am getting frustrated. :angry:

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Jonn,

A proper leader is heaviest where it(ie the butt section section) attaches to the flyline.The butt section than tapers down becoming finer as it approaches the weakest part of the leader,ie the tippet section.A tapered eader with a heavy butt section turns the fly over better than if there were a drastic difference in the diameter of the leader and the flyline.The tippet section being the weakest, it will break typically at its weakest point ,the knot.Instead of making a leader buy knotless tapered leaders.You can attach them to the flyline in 2 ways.1)attach a very heavy piece of mono several inches long to the flyline with a nail knot. Put a loop in it and attach it to the leader loop to loop.2)buy a line to leader loop connector which attaches to the flyline and to which the leader attaches loop to loop.

Assuming no flyshop is in your area you would learn a lot by browsing thru a flyfishing catalog from either Cabelas or Feathercraft.I suggest you order one.

 

 

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From what I have read and talked to experienced fly fishermen, a tapered leader is not what I want when fishing subsurface of bottom flies as the tapered leader hinders the fly sink rate to some extent. I understand what you said, but tapered leaders seem to be what I want when fishing topwater flies. I need to know how you would connect the leader to tippet if using a straight mono leader and tippet.

 

I have already have almost every good fly fishing catalog.

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From what I have read and talked to experienced fly fishermen, a tapered leader is not what I want when fishing subsurface of bottom flies as the tapered leader hinders the fly sink rate to some extent. I understand what you said, but tapered leaders seem to be what I want when fishing topwater flies. I need to know how you would connect the leader to tippet if using a straight mono leader and tippet.

 

I have already have almost every good fly fishing catalog.

The only time you should ever use a level leader rather than a tapered one is with a sinking flyline where only a 4-5' piece of tippet is used as a leader.When a leader of 7'+ is used it must be tapered to facilitate good casting and it will not significantly hinder a weighted fly's sink rate.Making the tippet longer will allow for fishing deeper together with increeasing weight if necessary as an alternative to a sinking line straight leader.Anyone telling you differently re. leaders is misinformed himself.By the way what are you talking about re the leader vs tippet since in your post you said both are the same lb test?Gotta go. Am late for the Dupage

Glad to see you have catalogs.

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Ron:

 

Thanks for the info. I just wanted to know what type of knot would you use to attach tippet to the leader? I guess I did not explain myself very well on my first post.

 

Interesting that you said that a tapered leader will not hinder sink rate on a fly. I guess I will have to try to go back to tapered leaders. I stayed away due to the price compared to straight monofilament. In addition, I have seen accomplished fly casters turn over flys without a tapered leader.

 

I will keep you posted and I would like to hear other fly fisherman's opinion concerning the knot used to connect leader to tippet and the idea of using a tapered leader when fishing subsurface.

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Jonn

 

I've used loop to loop connections all year with minimal problems, in fact its often hard to break off due to the stretch in the fly line. Are you connecting them the right way? My first time around, I did not and the leader cut into my fly line to leader connection on my 5 weight. They need to connect in a figure 8 if you hadn't been doing so.

 

Hope this helps.......

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Jonn,

 

I've had a similar problem to yours this year. I have been using leftover 4 or 6 lb flouro blend spools for leader material under the same assumption that "if I'm fishing subsurface what difference does a thick butt section make to me?" I make a loop in the leader with a double surgeons knot and make a loop to loop connection to a short thick piece of monofilament that is nail knotted to my leader. I had one day where I kept snagging trees on my back cast (Ok, it was the same tree, but I think it was moving, and that's a totally different problem) The leader broke just below my surgeons knot each time. Not once did I break off at the fly. I've been thinking I need to find a better knot to make my loop or starting using a tapered leader, so the loop has more backbone.

 

Josh

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Jonn,Josh,

The cost of a few good tapered leaders over the course of a fishing season is way too trivial to skrimp on for the superior results they offer don't you think?I don't understand why any flyfisherman let alone an experienced one would opt for a non tapered leader unless he was content to cast at only short(40' or less)distance.If you want to extend the life of the leader use a loop-loop to connect the tapered butt section of the leader to the tippet section.When the tippet gets short enuf to need replacement remove it by cutting off its loop while leaving the butt section's loop intact.You then add 3-4' of tippet and have in effect a new leader for just the cost of a few pennies worth of tippet material.Being thicker and stronger the butt loop will last thru any # of tippet changes before it needs to be retied.On the other hand using either a blood knot (which is more difficult to tie) or a dubl surgeon's knot (as opposed to a dubl surgeon's loop)will shorten the butt section every time you change tippets thereby shortening the life of the leader.For warmwater species using a floating line leaders are typically 7.5'(ok for most surface fishing)- 9'(best for subsurface to get the fly deeper) in total length including the tippet section.I use 9' the best all around length.

If your guys' leaders broke on the leader itself rather than the loops themselves breaking you may not have had the sections properly joined at the loops but may have inadvertently gotten the tippet tangled in the knot of the butt section that is formed when its loop is formed causing that knot to cut into the tippet.

PS There were too many leaves blowing onto the water to bother with fishing the Dupe.I made about 20 casts catching 1 dink and about 10 leaves before calling it quits.A better choice would've been a bigger river like the Fox where the leaves are less concentrated.

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There is too much to read through on the above posts.

 

Here is what I do.

 

I purchase and attach the Cortland loop connectors to both ends of my fly line. After heating the shrink tubing, hold it flat and straight and apply a drop of super glue. I've never had one come off.

 

Instead of a double surgeon, try a triple surgeon's knot. Make sure the knot is wet (as should be the case for all knots) before seating it.

 

Tippet to fly knot - the 16/20 knot for everything but streamers. I won't use anything else. 99%+ breaking strength of line test rating.

 

Mark

 

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well I'll put my .02 in too. I use the cortland loop on the end of the fly line, then a loop to loop leader to fly line, then a blood knot tippet to my leader. not saying it better than anyone elses, but I fish 90% subsurface and have no probs. it works for me. I also cheat and use the little tool/jig for tying blood knots and it works great.

 

Joe

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ronk, your right there. tapered leaders are a must for me. turns the fly over nicely

 

John, now your cook'in. I'm sure you'll be happy with that set up now.

 

Joe

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As someone new to fly fishing, I need an explanation. What is the value in turnig over a sub-surface fly. I thought it was only important for top waters to turn over. Are there other advantages to the tapered leader as far as casting goes?

 

Jonn, I also was doing my loop to loop wrong, but my breakoffs were always at the loop knot, not the loop. My loops were still attached to the fly line, but the rest of my leader was gone.

 

 

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I will agree that tapered leaders are needed to develop casting skills. I will also state that a welded loop, similar to those on Rio lines also helps with the "turnover" process. The loop is stiffer than the tip of the line without it and gets the leader butt section moving much quicker.

 

As for accomplished fly fishers throwing straight mono as their leader, I think that would apply only if you are using sink tips or Deep Water Express heads and then you would only need 4' or so. You can't turn a fly over effectively with straight mono. I've fished all over the place and with some, if I may use this term, "big names" in our sport and all of them used factory tapered or hand tied tapered leaders, without exception. With this in mind, even furled leaders are tapered, albeit a bit more difficult to cast than a mono leader, require more line speed but lay down the fly more gently due to the wind resistance.

 

Also, why would one want to blood knot a tippet section to the leader? I'm not saying this is wrong, but it seems like alot of work to tie in this way when a double or triple surgeons knot is just a good, has a smaller profile with less wind resistance. I want the smallest possible knots used the closer I get to the fly. I typically fish for large salmon and steelhead using a loop to loop connection at the line/leader and a double or triple surgeons knot at the leader/tippet and have had the line break (not at the knot(s)) due to fraying. The line test I use is no different than what I know a number of you use, no more than 10 lb at the tippet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Guest rich mc

i like the tip on the triple surgeons knot. i normally nail knot the leader to the fly line and use a tapered leader with a foot and a half of tippet or more . tied with a double surgeons knot. a loop knot to the streamer fly is essential. rich

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mark, I tie a tippet to my leader to prevent the magical shrinking leader. as you change flies you take off length. this way it minimizes that and adds life to my leader.

 

josh, I like my leader to be inline w/ my line. as the fly turns over it seems to help keep the leader straight and fully extended, thats all. just seems to work for me.

 

Joe

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QUOTE (Josh B @ Nov 5 2008, 01:41 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
As someone new to fly fishing, I need an explanation. What is the value in turnig over a sub-surface fly. I thought it was only important for top waters to turn over. Are there other advantages to the tapered leader as far as casting goes?

 

Jonn, I also was doing my loop to loop wrong, but my breakoffs were always at the loop knot, not the loop. My loops were still attached to the fly line, but the rest of my leader was gone.

Josh,

Withhout a good turnover placing the fly at the end of the cast the fly will collapse onto the leader or even the flyline where it of course doesn't belong and where it will usually tangle.Casting distance wiil suffer and accuracy will be impossible if you can't control where the fly will land. The only exception is a specialized cast called a "pile cast"used in trout fishing to deal with drag in extreme conditions. To get a sinking fly down and to avoid drag mend the flyline either with a mend while it is still airborne with a reach cast,wiggle cast etc. or as soon as it touches down.

The term "turnover" refers to the unrolling of the loop formed by the flyline at the end of the forward cast which carries the fly to its destination.A tapered leader will more efficiently transfer the energy of that loop to the fly.

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The term "turnover" refers to the unrolling of the loop formed by the flyline at the end of the forward cast which carries the fly to its destination.A tapered leader will more efficiently transfer the energy of that loop to the fly.

 

Thanks Ron. I'm starting to understand now.

 

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Jonn,

Thought you had a Rio Clouser line? It would have had a welded loop on the end of the line for a loop-to-loop line/leader connection.

 

Anyway, On all my line that do not have a welded loop made on the line, I make a "whipped loop" on the end of the flyline so I have a loop-to-loop connection to the leader. Then a double surgeons knot from leader to tippet. Never had any problems with breakage, and the whipped loop on the fly line floats much better than any other type of connection.

 

Here's a handy guide to a lot of knots, including the whipped loop, from the "man" himself, Lefty Kreh:

http://www.flyfisherman.com/skills/lkknots/

 

Brian

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I always use a double uni knot to rebuild the middle or to add the tippet. Duncan loop (single uni) to tie on the fly. Also retie onto the butt of factory tapered leaders & get more the one seasons use out of one tapered leader with no problems.

 

I do a Knots for Flyfishing Workshop at Bass Pro in Bolingbrook and have a handout that covers the pros and cons of the knots people are talking about along with what cause knots to fail and why some are better than others. If you want a simple test tie your knot to one hook and tie the other end with the comparison knot on an identical hook and pull the two hooks until one fails. Do this 10-12 times to acocunt for the occasional improperly tied knot. The other thing is to try tieing a knot without lubricating it with water against one that is. It's amazing how the little heat generated during the tie will cause a non-lubricated knot to fail. The other thing to do is take an 8 or 10 pound test mono and try to break it by pulling on each end in your bare hand... yes you can wrap the line around your fingers. Then tie a simple overhand knot in the line and repeat the test. I've had experienced anglers jaws drop when they saw how little it took to break the line this way. All the more reason to change leaders or tippets when you nick them or get a "wind knot" (read that as a bad casting knot) in your leader.

 

I've come down to using a nail knot to form a loop in the end of my flyline and then a perfection loop in the butt section of the leader (a weak knot, but strong enough based on the line strength at the butt). A loop to loop connection making sure they form a square knot is then used to join the two together. I then use a double-uni for the leader to tippet connection. A blood knot and surgeons knot will slip if the difference between the two lines being connected is too great (0.002" for blood knot and slightly more for the surgeons). The double-uni does not have this limitation and can be clipped close with no tag ends. The knots I use for the fly are an Orvis Knot since it has a positive "POP" when you secure it. This lets you know you've tied it properly. It's also easy to tie once you see it tied properly (it's tough to discern how to tie it from the Orvis picture, but I've made a drawing that makes it pretty clear to follow). The Orvis knot has never failed me in a head to head test with any other knot. The other knot that I use for flies when I need a loop connection is Lefty's Non-Slip Mono Loop. I've landed some big fish both fresh and saltwater with these setups and never had a failure. The only problem that I see is that the failures I do see are usually due to compromises in tippet when the line has been nicked on rocks, etc. or I forget to lubricate my knot. The line usually never breaks at the fly. If you WANT the line to break at the fly every time I would suggest that you use a very weak knot at the fly like the clinch or improved clinch knot (two of the weakest knots out there-the improved clinch has been shown to actually fail before the standard clinch knot). I personally want to get the most out of my terminal tackle and want to know that I've done everything I can to optimize it. I'll take an occasional loss due to the line breaking mid tippet rather than knowing that my fly will break off at about 60-70% of the actual strength of my tippet. But, to each his own. Tie what you're comfortable with, but if you want the best knots, learn to tie the knots that have the highest knot strength and that you are comfortable tieing since the poorest knot tied properly is better than the best knot tied poorly.

 

If you want the handout either drop in on my workshop in the spring or drop me a PM. But I have to warn you it has a lot of pictures and is a pretty big file.

 

FWIW

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