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Leaders and Tippets
by Greg Leche
Leaders and Tippets are an essential role in fly fishing. Your standard leader is usually 9-12 feet in length. But certain situations will call for longer or shorter leaders. For example when fishing Chironomids using the floating line technique. Leaders up to 30 feet may be used. Sinking lines on the other hand call for much shorter leaders. An example of this would be fishing leech patterns down deep. A leader anywhere from 2-6 feet will do just fine. The reason for the short leader is so that your fly line is at the same depth as your fly. With a longer leader, your fly would ride up, thus not being in the zone where active trout may be feeding.
Never tie a straight piece of mono as your leader on a floating line. Especially if you are going to use a long leader. Always use a tapered leader. These leaders are available at all fishing tackle stores and cost about $4 each. You can also make your own tapered leaders by starting with a 3 ft. butt section of 20lb test, followed by 2 ft. of 15lb and then 2 ft of 8 lb and then 3 ft of 4 or 6lb line.
Use a nail knot to connect the butt section to your fly line. You then add what is called a tippet. A tippet is roughly 1-3 feet long. When changing flies you are only losing a bit of the tippet and not your leader. When your tippet is to short, add a new one. A tippet is best tied to your leader by using a double surgeons knot or a blood knot.
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