Conejo Valley Fly Fishers

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Massive List of leader Formulas

Date: Thu, 2 Nov 1995 13:37:58 -0500

Reply-To: "Edward C. Goodwin"

Sender: Fly Fishing Digest

From: "Edward C. Goodwin"

Given the recent requests for leader formulas, I am reposting the

monster list of leader formulas gleaned from members of FLYFISH,

commercial sources and books. I've used many of these for nymphing,

bass bugging and saltwater fishing with success but I haven't really tried any

out for classic dry fly fishing. Generally I use a blood knot to join

sections while building a leader at home and use the double surgeon's knot to

rebuild tippets and the transition taper at streamside. In larger diameter

sections, the double surgeon's tends to introduce a kink as the two lines exit

the knot at an angle. I use eithor spit or "Knot +" to moisten the knots

before pulling tight. I also prefer to dab a bit of aquaseal over the knots

to smooth them out (I'm told that pliobond also works well, IMHO though I've

tried GOOP I think that it sucks for this purpose).

 

SHORT GENERAL PURPOSE LEADERS ==================================================

 

6' panfish for #3-4 weight lines 0x 1x 2x 3x 4x 5x 6x 7x

.023 .021 .019 .017 .015 .013 .012 .011 .010 .009 .008 .007 .006 .005 .004

25 20 7 7 7 16

6' for sink tip (A) 0x 1x 2x 3x 4x 5x 6x 7x

.023 .021 .019 .017 .015 .013 .012 .011 .010 .009 .008 .007 .006 .005 .004

0x 14 14 12 12 8 12

1x 12 12 10 10 8 8 12

2x 12 12 10 10 8 8 12

3x 12 12 10 10 8 8 12

6' for sink tip (B) 0x 1x 2x 3x 4x 5x 6x 7x

.023 .021 .019 .017 .015 .013 .012 .011 .010 .009 .008 .007 .006 .005 .004

0x 18 15 12 9 18

1x 18 15 12 9 18

2x 18 15 12 9 18

3x 18 15 12 9 18

4x 18 15 12 9 18

5x 18 15 12 9 18

LIGHT LINE LEADERS (#3-4) ======================================================

7.5' for #3-4 lines 0x 1x 2x 3x 4x 5x 6x 7x

.023 .021 .019 .017 .015 .013 .012 .011 .010 .009 .008 .007 .006 .005 .004

0x 24 16 14 9 9 18

1x 24 16 14 9 9 18

2x 24 16 14 9 9 18

3x 22 18 14 6 6 6 18

4x 22 18 14 6 6 6 18

5x 16 14 14 12 6 6 22

6x 16 14 14 12 6 6 22

9' for #3-4 lines 0x 1x 2x 3x 4x 5x 6x 7x

.023 .021 .019 .017 .015 .013 .012 .011 .010 .009 .008 .007 .006 .005 .004

4x 36 16 12 6 6 6 26

5x 28 14 12 10 6 6 6 26

6x 28 14 12 10 6 6 6 26

12' for #3-4 lines 0x 1x 2x 3x 4x 5x 6x 7x

.023 .021 .019 .017 .015 .013 .012 .011 .010 .009 .008 .007 .006 .005 .004

5x 36 24 16 12 8 8 8 32

6x 36 24 16 12 8 8 8 32

7x 36 24 16 12 8 8 8 32

MEDIUM LINE LEADERS (#5-9) ====================================================

7.5' for #6-9 lines 0x 1x 2x 3x 4x 5x 6x 7x

.023 .021 .019 .017 .015 .013 .012 .011 .010 .009 .008 .007 .006 .005 .004

0x 12 12 16 14 9 9 18

1x 12 12 16 14 9 9 18

2x 12 12 16 14 9 9 18

3x 12 12 16 14 6 6 6 18

4x 12 12 16 14 6 6 6 18

9' for #6-9 lines 0x 1x 2x 3x 4x 5x 6x 7x

.023 .021 .019 .017 .015 .013 .012 .011 .010 .009 .008 .007 .006 .005 .004

0x 36 16 12 8 8 8 20

1x 36 16 12 8 8 8 20

2x 36 16 12 8 8 8 20

3x 36 16 12 6 6 6 6 20

4x 36 16 12 6 6 6 6 20

5x 28 14 12 10 6 6 6 6 20

12' for #6-9 lines 0x 1x 2x 3x 4x 5x 6x 7x

.023 .021 .019 .017 .015 .013 .012 .011 .010 .009 .008 .007 .006 .005 .004

3x 36 25 17 14 8 8 8 28

4x 36 24 16 12 7 7 7 7 28

5x 36 24 16 15 7 7 7 7 28

6x 36 24 16 12 7 7 7 7 28

7x 28 18 16 14 12 7 7 7 7 28

Dave Whitlock's Floating Line Nymph and Midge

Leader=============================

10' 5x 40/20/40 Formula

0x 1x 2x 3x 4x 5x

.023 .021 .018 .016 .014 .013 .012 .011 .010 .009 .008 .007 .006 .005 .004

24 12 12 6 6 6 6 12 36

Kaufmanns's Streamborn's

Formulas===================================================

9' Trout Leaders 0x 1x 2x 3x 4x 5x 6x 7x

.023 .021 .019 .017 .015 .013 .012 .011 .010 .009 .008 .007 .006 .005 .004

3X 28 22 8 8 8 8 10 25

4X 28 22 8 8 8 8 10 25

5X 27 21 8 8 8 6 6 8 25

6X 27 21 8 8 8 6 6 8 25

10' Steelhead Leaders Floating Lines 0x 1x 2x 3x 4x 5x 6x 7x

.024 .022 .020 .017 .015 .013 .012 .011 .010 .009 .008 .007 .006 .005 .004

02X 35 26 10 10 10 30

01X 28 22 10 10 10 10 30

1X 28 22 8 8 8 8 10 30

4' Steelhead Leaders for Sinking Lines 0x 1x 2x 3x 4x 5x 6x 7x

.024 .022 .020 .017 .015 .013 .012 .011 .010 .009 .008 .007 .006 .005 .004

01X 14 10 6 6 12

1X 14 10 6 6 12

Trey Coombs' Steelhead

Leader====================================================

The .020 butt section can be 5' or 6' long and the .015 and .013

sections can vary from 12" to 18"

10' Steelhead Leaders 0x 1x 2x 3x 4x 5x 6x 7x

.024 .022 .020 .017 .015 .013 .012 .011 .010 .009 .008 .007 .006 .005 .004

02X 72 12 18 18

1X 60 12 12 12 12

Richard Caccavale's (Hblad124@uconnvm.uconn.edu) Formulas ===================

"Here is the foolproof leader formula that I promised to post. This is

the best 9' leader I have found. After straightening, it really will turn over

by by casting it with your hand (try it!). If you need a longer leader, don't

tie on an additional tippet, refigure the formula with like proportions or it

will not turn over well. Enjoy"

9'Foolproof Leaders

. .018 .016 .014 .012 .010 .009 .008 .007 .006 .005 .004

1x 41 35 6 6 20

2x 41 29 6 6 6 20

3x 41 29 6 6 6 20

4x 34 30 6 6 6 6 20

5x 54 12 6 6 6 6 20

6x 48 12 6 6 6 6 6 20

7x 48 12 6 6 6 6 6 20

George Harvey/Joe Humphrey's Slack Line Leaders=================================

George Harvey and Joe Humphrey are noted for insisting that drag-free

dry fly presentation is the critical ingredient for angling success. With a

slack line cast these leaders are designed to leave a series of gentle waves

in your tippet allowing a micro-drag-free float for the most finicky trout.

The tippet section is adjusted for each and every fly tied on to compensate

for differences in weight and air resistance. The leader and fly should turn

over and leave "S" waves on the surface; if the tippet turns over straight it

is too short while if it piles up then it is too long. Use "hard" nylon for

the .017 to .009" sections in 5X and 6X ( .011 in 4X leaders). Maxima is a

good, hard nylon though there are reports of inconsistent diameters. Note

that recently the consensus is that a supple but section is fine so long as

there is a smooth transition of energy (bend) from flyline to leader

0x 1x 2x 3x 4x 5x 6x 7x

.023 .021 .019 .017 .015 .013 .011 .010 .009 .008 .007 .006 .005 .004

4X 10 20 20 20 12 18 22 (to 30" at most)

5X 10 20 20 20 12 12 18 22

6X 10 20 20 20 12 12 18 22

Harry Murray's Smallmouth Bass Leaders==========================================

9' Leaders for Normal Conditions 0x 1x 2x 3x 4x 5x 6x 7x

.023 .021 .019 .017 .015 .013 .012 .011 .010 .009 .008 .007 .006 .005 .004

0X 40 20 8 8 8 24

1X 36 16 8 8 8 8 24

2X 36 16 8 8 8 8 24

3X 36 18 6 6 6 6 6 24

4X 36 18 6 6 6 6 6 24

12' Leaders for Low Water Conditions 0x 1x 2x 3x 4x 5x 6x 7x

.023 .021 .019 .017 .015 .013 .012 .011 .010 .009 .008 .007 .006 .005 .004

0X 48 36 20 8 8 24

1X 48 36 18 6 6 6 24

2X 48 36 18 6 6 6 24

3X 48 36 12 6 6 6 6 24

4X 48 36 12 6 6 6 6 24

6' Leaders for Sinking Lines 0x 1x 2x 3x 4x 5x 6x 7x

.023 .021 .019 .017 .015 .013 .012 .011 .010 .009 .008 .007 .006 .005 .004

0X 36 12 6 6 12

1X 30 12 6 6 6 12

2X 30 12 6 6 6 12

BASS BUG LEADERS

Rather than 'x' ratings like the other leaders, these are classed as Extra

Heavy (XH), Heavy (HV), Medium (MD), Light (LT), and Extra Light (XL).

7.5' bass bug leader 0x 1x 2x 3x 4x 5x 6x 7x

.023 .021 .019 .017 .015 .013 .012 .011 .010 .009 .008 .007 .006 .005 .004

EH 36 34 20

HV 36 34 20

MD 26 23 21 20

LT 26 22 12 10 20

XL 18 16 14 12 10 20

9' bass bug leader 0x 1x 2x 3x 4x 5x 6x 7x

.023 .021 .019 .017 .015 .013 .012 .011 .010 .009 .008 .007 .006 .005 .004

EH 46 42 20

HV 46 42 20

MD 40 26 22 20

LT 32 28 16 12 20

XL 22 20 18 16 12 20

12' bass bug leader 0x 1x 2x 3x 4x 5x 6x 7x

.023 .021 .019 .017 .015 .013 .012 .011 .010 .009 .008 .007 .006 .005 .004

EH 61 56 27

HV 61 56 27

MD 53 34 30 27

LT 43 37 21 16 27

XL 29 27 24 21 16 27

Here's the match up between leader and hook size.

Leader Size Hook Size

Extra Heavy - 5/0 - 4/0 - 3/0

Heavy - 3/0 - 2/0 - 1/0

Medium - 1/0 - 1 - 2 - 4

Light - 4 - 6 - 8

Extra Light - 8 - 10 - 12

Dave Whitlock's Bass and Salmon Fly Leader===================================

10' 70/10/20 formula (0X) 0x 2x 3x 4x 5x 6x 7x

.023 .021 .020 .019 .018 .016 .014 .012 .011 .009 .008 .007 .006 .005 .004

36 24 18 4 4 4 12 24

SALTWATER LEADERS:

30 # Ande tournament butt section 36" (Some people prefer Mason)

16 # Ande tournament 36"

Most folks that would fish 16 - 20 lb. class will use bimini twist, spider

hitch, other "shock" or wire tooth leader. This goes on the 16 mono.

Otherwise: Tippet (any class) 18" only

Lou Tabory's Inshore Leaders==================================================

He likes a long, heavy butt section to turn over even large flies (as a

tapered leader may collapse). The butt is joined to the .019 section with a 4

turn surgeon knot and a surgeon's loop is tied to the end. For a straight

tippet without a shock leader, a Bimini twist or spider hitch is formed and a

surgeon's loop is tied in the doubled line which is then connected loop to

loop with your leader. For a shock leader, tie a Bimini twist or spider hitch

into both ends of the tippet and form a surgeon's loop for connection to your

leader. Use a surgeon's knot or double blood knot for monos of 20 to 50# test

or coated wire to join the tippet with the shock tippet. For 80-120# test or

solid wire use an Albright or Huffnagle knot to connect the shock section with

the tippet.

.024 .022 .019 tippet

for 8-10 weight 48 36 24

for 11-13 weight 48 36 24

Dave Whitlock's "Simple, Three Section, Large Flyline, Large Fly for Bass

Bugs, Large Swimming Flies and Saltwater

I've used these formulas a lot lately and have been very happy. I've

used something called "leader control material" an inexpensive, tough and

stretchy nylon (I think) for the butt and transition (available from

Feathercraft). The diameters of this stuff is really .024 (30#) and .019

(25#) but I haven't lost any sleep over the differences. I really like these

leaders when I'm using droppers to fish 3 flies... on a shooting head...into

the wind. It also seems to work fine for big poppers. I tie a perfection

loop or double surgeons loop at the end of the middle section and use a loop

to loop to attach the tippet (anything from .009 to .015 depending on the

situation.

.021 .018 .012

3.0 19 7 10

6.0 39 14 19

7.5' 48 18 24

9' 58 22 28

 

Enjoy!

Ed.

 

+-

Edward C. Goodwin Ph.D. ecg@po.cwru.edu

Department of Genetics, SHM I-166 ecg@po.cwru.edu@cunynm (bitnet)

Yale University School of Medicine "Facts do not cease to exist

333 Cedar Street because they are ignored."