Tapered Leaders For Salmon & Trout Fly Fishing
What Are Tapered Leaders?
Tapered leaders are used to help present the fly perfectly. For fly fishing the tapered leader has a thick butt section attached to the flyline and thin point where the fly is attached. With its continuous taper energy is transferred down the flyline through the leader giving a perfect turnover of the fly for presentation gently to the hungry fish below.
Essential Fly Tapered Leaders
The normal Essential Fly transparent tapered leaders have always been a backbone of our fishing, again adding Strof tippet material according to water colour. When going for really fussy Rainbows, those large beauties that spook at the slightest thing we use transparent tapered leaders, extending these to 20 feet with single buzzers or cdc emergers on! As the trout buzzers emerge 365 days per year we have always found this a deadly technique on most waters. When the trout circle they do not get spooked by other flies or coloured lines or indicators. Indeed my local small fishery is one where the trout are extremely wary, often they will not take a cdc emerger or dry fly until they have "rushed" the fly and made it start to sink! Using a long leader
Preparing the Tapered Leader
One of the most important lessons for us was leader preparation at the river or lakeside. Today you will never find us without a tub of Dick Walker's Ledasink which removes the surface tension on monofilament to allow them to sink but most importantly to reduce flash and glint. Before we cast with any leader you will find us running the entire length of the leader through the tub of Ledasink at least twice, then we run the line through my handkerchief. The result is that the chemicals always present on line is removed. If you cannot afford it then use some mud from the banks with water!
On rivers we use a Stroft tippet on a tapered leader which is 0.12mm diameter which is 1.8kg or 3.6lb breaking strain. we rarely go smaller and do not go larger on rivers, typically this is virtually invisible to a trout and larger diameter decreases our catch rates, smaller and it does not increase and we tend to get more breakoffs. We will not use larger than a #5 rod for the rivers. On Reservoirs and lakes it is a very different issue because the fish are frequently larger, we still try and use a #5 although may step up to a #7 or #8 in extremes. For a #7 or #8 we will step up to at most 0.18mm diameter which has 3.6kg or 7.5lb breaking strain unless we are after really large trout!
Knotting Fluorocarbon and Stroft
Key with fluorocarbon and Stroft is to moisten the knots as they are being tied. Because of the manufacturing process and materials these become frail under heat, believe it or not the simple act of pulling a knot tight creates heat and can weaken a knot. Tied to manufacturers recommended knots (shown on the packaging) simply put the knot in your mouth and moisten with your tongue as it is pulled tight. This dissipates the heat and leaves the knot much stronger.