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> > Leaders- super long, slack, George Harvey style etc.

RogueratJune 6th, 2018, 11:45 am
Posts: 432
Due to terminal curiosity I've done some research and fabrication of the above mentioned leaders. I ran across an article in AA detailing LONG leaders of 18-24' or so, for spooky trout and, using the formulas given, tied some which work OK. These things are long, no mistaking that, and a cast that's nearly half leader and the tip of a WF line took some getting used to.
I'm also curious about the George Harvey 'slack' leader types and wonder if any TN's have used or are familiar with these. The premise is that a slack leader lands 'piled up' which gives the fly time to drift naturally before current pulls the leader and fly into an unnatural velocity.
I've done furled leaders (love/hate on these...when they work they're great but don't get them into a tree or whatever), segmented/tied leaders of Maxima and other mono's, and knotless types.
Anyway, I sort of hope this sparks some discussion since I tend to have problems with knotless, tapered leaders due to them curling up and defying attempts to straighten them by any known means.

tight lines,


'Less is more...'

Ludwig Mies Vande Rohe
TimCatJune 6th, 2018, 4:38 pm
Alanson, MI

Posts: 121
I've experimented with tying my own leaders. One of my concoctions was a ~16 ft leader that started off with 30lb test line that made its way to 5x tippet. I think I used 5 different pieces tied with Albright knots at the 2 pieces at the butt section and blood knots on down. I could turn hoppers over easily with my old fiberglass 6 weight (rip ... trunk door mishap). I can't remember the exact formula but I think it started off with 30lb-2ft, 20lb-2ft, and 8lb-3-4ft. It was basically a super-long butt section that made the leader work. I had good days on those for sure, but I never really felt the need to keep tying them, especially because I rarely fish streams that require casts of more than 30ft.

I think there's definitely some merit to the slack method, but I've never personally tried it (other than pile casts). I've heard/read of some brits tying like 10ft of tippet on to their leaders for fishing on Stillwater, but they're probably mainly using soft hackles and nymphs, so it's kinda like always doing a pile cast essentially. I personally wouldn't even try piling a bunch of leader on the water for dries on the strand I fish, but maybe that could work really well on riffles and choppy water.

How's it working out for you so far?
"If I'm not going to catch anything, then I 'd rather not catch anything on flies" - Bob Lawless
Jmd123June 6th, 2018, 5:06 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2304
My rivers are too small for anything that long! As Brandon said above, a good long thick butt section is going to be key in energy transfer down the leader to the tippet. I think a really long tippet section would be horrible to cast, especially with anything involving weight. For my trout waters, I rarely go much over 9 feet, and typically use 3x unless it's bright and sunny in late summer, then I'll put on 4X and maybe even 5x for someplace like the Pine River.

I think for loooong casts on big waters though a long leader might work out OK, when you are already booming a lot of line out there so there's enough power to extend the leader. For really large, picky fish feeding on tiny flies, this might be the ticket. Better have a good drag, though, that's a LOT of leader hanging out there to be frayed and nicked on the rocks, etc. - not to mention many knots - so you better play them carefully!

Tight lines, guys, whatever you do! I got my line tightened pretty hard today, see my post...

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
RogueratJune 7th, 2018, 4:45 am
Posts: 432
I worked up the super long leaders to fish the Muskegon R, where often a long(er) cast is needed to reach risers nearer midstream. There could be any number of cross-currents and ebbs/flows in the water between me and the fish which would make for a crazy drift so the longer leader/longer tippet was an experiment to allow longer drift before things got pulled out of shape. A quick flick to mend upstream and dropping the rod tip will create the Pile cast Brandon mentions.

On the Rogue and smaller water- 40-50' across at best- I stick with the normal leader and tippet combinations.

Brandon- when conditions are OK they work pretty well. Any cross winds and things can fall apart since the cast goes wherever the wind wants to take it. Double-hauls and sidearm casting (under the wind) are pretty iffy too. The Mo' gets plenty of thermals as it is and casting can be a challenge.

Tight lines, all


"Less is more...'

Ludwig Mies Vande Rohe
TimCatJune 7th, 2018, 8:42 am
Alanson, MI

Posts: 121
Yeah rogue, I could see that definitely benefiting for long casts across different current speeds. Probably pretty tough to make a 50 ft wiggle cast!
"If I'm not going to catch anything, then I 'd rather not catch anything on flies" - Bob Lawless
IdryflyJune 9th, 2018, 4:25 am
Posts: 6Ive been focusing on the Upper Delaware so far this season and as my name implies I pretty much am only interested in targeting rising fish with dries/emergers. My leader set up is generally a tapered mono leader cut a bit back with a tippet ring and 5 to 6 feet of 6x fluoro. My leaders generally run between 13 to 16 feet.....and it has served me very well so far. I also cast mostly down and across and also stop the rod abruptly....putting a slight shock which drops the fly and tippet down with slack in it. as an fyi....cortland's new ultra premium fluoro is unbelievable......i used to be a trouthunter guy but now will buy nothing but Cortland......having landed quite a few pigs i thought would break me off....yet no knot or tippet failure yet this season.
RogueratJune 9th, 2018, 10:16 am
Posts: 432
Still on this leader thing, a rainy afternoon and researching tapers and lengths...curiosity run amok, I guess...
And I ran across something called the Uni Body Leader- 4 feet of butt material and 1 foot of 'taper,' then a ring and stepped down to a 4' level length of 1/2/3X, another ring then the tippet. Gary Borger has this formula on his website and I'm curious if any TN's have used one of these leaders.


'Less is more...'

Ludwig Mies Vande Rohe
MartinlfJune 9th, 2018, 10:59 am
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2836
Rogue, I think I played around with Borger leaders long, long ago. Gary is brilliant, so I don't doubt his leaders work. Idryfly, I use a similar leader on the Delaware, but have been using Stroft GTM monofilament for tippet. It's incredibly strong, and performs well for me.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell

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