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SUBJECT: # 2235: Texas Gulf Coast Redfish Leaders

Submitted by H2Outlaw ( from TEXAS on 2/18/02 4:29:00 PM

I would like to start tying my own saltwater leaders but was confused about which material to use. Some say use Mason, while others say use Maxxima, while others say I can use any type of monofilament available. Could I make a quality saltwater tapered leader out of Ande mono? I use baitcasters on a regular basis as well, so I have lots of spools of Ande line laying around the house. I read that it is best to stick with the same type of mono from butt section all the way to the tippett. What do you guys think? Thanks for the responses!

  1. 2/18/02 8:52:00 PM Submitted by from NEW YORK says Leader material
    Personally, I like a hard nylon like Mason for the butt section and any intermediate sections. Then use fluoro for the tippet and shock leader (if any). Sometimes I go with hard nylon also for the shock if I'm after very toothy fish like blues (I't rather take my chances with a bite off than use wire if I can help it).

    OTOH, I have friends who use pink Ande and do very well too. Also, I've had good success using clear Big Game as leader material.

  2. 2/18/02 10:19:00 PM Submitted by Fresh2Salt from TEXAS says Leader Material...
    A buddy of mine uses Ande to tie his own leader material. So far he seems to be pretty happy with the results. What wt. flyrod do you use?


  3. 2/18/02 10:27:00 PM Submitted by H2Outlaw ( from TEXAS says Fly Rod
    I use an 8 wt. when chasing those big reds. Thanks for the info fellas.

  4. 2/20/02 1:45:00 PM Submitted by Salty Techsan from TEXAS says longrods
    for those rare nice days when the wind isn't bad, I think the ideal setup for the tejas coast is a 9' 7wt throwing an #8 WF line. When the wind is up a knot or two, I'll throw abn 8wt rod and 9wt line.

    I really haven't found that leader is all that crucial for down here. As long as you have a stiff butt section to plop over those weighted flies and well tied knots, just about anything should work. I prefer a 10lb floro for the tippet, that stuff all but dissappears in the flats.

    My .02 ST

  5. 2/21/02 9:06:00 AM Submitted by Chris ( from TEXAS says Ande
    I use Ande for the butt and intermediate. For the tippet, it all depends on how I am fishing and what type of line I am using. Ande for Floating and flourocarbon for intermediate and sinking lines. Longer section for sinking flys, shorter for suspending flys. Tight loops and lines.....

  6. 2/21/02 4:42:00 PM Submitted by Backcountry from TEXAS says Leader material…
    Redfish rigs - My favorite fly leader material is Berkley Trilene. I use a variation of Lefty Kreh’s basic tapered saltwater leader. I finish it off with a piece of 15# Sufix TriTanium as the shock tippet. I use 7 & 8 wt rods. But to answer your question about Ande, sure. The trick is this, after you build your leaders, you’ll need to place them on a stretcher. If you don’t have or want to mess with a leader stretcher, try this. Put your whole fly rig together including attaching your new leader. Tie the leader shock tippet to the end of the rod. Put a little drag on, put the neoprene cover on, tighten a little and let it set. I have a rod rack on my wall with the leaders under slight tension ready to be walked out the door the next morning. Oh, I forgot something about leader construction. The best article I’ve seen about building a fly leader was in the Saltwater Sportsman February 1996 issue. The name of the article was “Building a Fly Leader” by Bob Stearns. Later, Jon

  7. 2/22/02 1:48:00 AM Submitted by H2Outlaw ( from TEXAS says Backcountry
    Just curious if you'd be interested in sharing Lefty's leader recipe with me. I'm a constant tinkerer and always looking for more ways to complicate my life even further. I've found that redfish don't seem to be too leader shy even in the super-shallow water. A 15# tippet is usually what I use as well, but lately I've been experimenting with 12# and even 10# tippets. Also, I tried to find the article you referenced above, but the SWS website only goes back to '98. Maybe you could provide a brief summary of some of the leaders that were written about. Thanks Backcountry!

  8. 2/23/02 1:26:00 AM Submitted by Backcountry from TEXAS says Here you go H2Outlaw....
    Here is my typical inshore saltwater leader. 3.5ft (40#) – 2.5ft (30#) – 2ft (20#) – 2ft (15# or 12#) = 9 to 10 ft. Now this is what I usually start the day with. When the winds picks up, I’ll sometime shorten the last two sections for a shorter leader. The article is a “technical” article about leader design. It really gets into line diameters, turn-over theory, etc. It was “over-kill” for what I needed for reds, but I learned a lot. Now I think that was the article I learned this important connection. It had described a method of connecting the leader to the fly line that I now use. It’s a very small system of loop-to-loop connections that tighten down. First, it’s a very aerodynamic connection. Secondly, when I’m out on the water, I can quickly cut and attach another leader if I need to. Jon

  9. 2/24/02 11:26:00 AM Submitted by Cpt. Graham ( from NORTH CAROLINA says leaders
    I have a leader on each flyrod and build new ones as the need arrises for the most part. I really like Seagar "Grand Max" for tippets because the diameter is very small for the poundage. Clear fly line is as important as the length of the leader in the winter when the water is so clear.The big thing is to test your knots with your hands and not the fish. Flourocarbon is slippery.

  10. 2/24/02 5:29:00 PM Submitted by Flats Cat ( from TEXAS says tippets
    I've talked with lots of excellent fly fisherman about tippet/leader construction. Over the years I've come to believe that it isn't the "stiffness" of the material that you should be concerned with. The diameter of the material is more relevant to how well a fly turns over than how stiff the material is. Conversely to the above views, I think that Mason hard (at least the 30 - 40 lb. material) is too stiff to use as a butt section for say a 7 wt. line. I'm sure people may protest, but I find that such a large diameter, inflexable material just stands the fly up as the line lays down. Cortland fly lines also subscribes to this theory - their new butt section material is much more limber but with a larger diameter than it used to be. It is more important to have a well balanced and evenly tapered succession of diameters. Within the step downs, you don't want to mix stiff butt sections with intermediate stiffness middles and soft tippets ( like flourocardons).

    Whatever you do, be consistent. Try to use the same brand of material throughout to ensure an even consistency of tippet diameter. Brand A's 12 lb tippet is often a larger diameter than brand B's 20 lb.

  11. 2/25/02 1:02:00 PM Submitted by RKevinB from TEXAS says Great thread
    Lots of good info here. Especially for a new long-rodder like me. Almost started a new thread to ask almost the same original question as here, but did a search & found this. I was sure it was a question that had been asked before. Anyway, thanks for the info.


  12. 2/25/02 10:03:00 PM Submitted by Bobar57 ( from FLORIDA says Leader construction
    Hi,I'm new to this Forum. I just wanted to say that I agree with Flats Cat,stiffness in a leader,specially in the butt section will impair proper casting and presentation,more importance should be given to diameter of the leader sections and to stick to a particular brand and type of mono for the leader in question.I've tried Ande,Maxima,Umpqua,all of them without problems.One test I perform to see if the butt section of the leader will do OK with the particular fly line in use is to tie a quick and lousy nail knot and then hold close in between both hands the fly line and the leader at the junction and wave around,"play with it",you can fell the smooth transfer of the "wave" if they are properly matched.I mainly fish for bonefish and my formula is a permanent butt section attached to the fly line(via a nail knot) in my #8 rig(5 ft 50lbs Umpqua,3 ft 30 lbs)ending in a uniknot loop that allow me to chance the tippet section(vary in between 2 to 3 ft lenght and 10 to 15 lbs strengh).In my #6 rig I do the same but the but section is 40 lbs and 20 lbs . One thing worth mentioning,I had tried fluorocarbon tippets and besides the slipping problem,they don't seems to make much difference in visibility in the water as claimed,geeezz,I can see it from outside the water,I guess the fish can see it better than me.Just my two cents. Robert

  13. 2/26/02 2:44:00 PM Submitted by Backcountry from TEXAS says Recap about leaders and knots
    First of all, I also don’t use the Hard Type Mason or the Fluorocarbon leader material. They may work for some, however I’ve learned to live without them and still manage to do just fine. Here in Texas you will not find a lot of “knot” experts. People use a few basic knots and that’s it. Very rarely do I run into people that can tie a Bimini Twist or even know how to snell a hook. 15 years ago, I found the “art” of knot tying very advanced (at least to me) in the Florida Keys. I brought that back with me but found most fishermen here in TX not interested in learning the complexity of good knot tying. At one time I knew 37 knots off the top of my head. Did I impress anyone – NO. It was just the opposite, most felt that I learned 35 knots too many. Hell, tying shock leaders directly to the line (without a barrel swivel) is still a fairly new concept down here. And I’m even talking “Fishing Guides”. I have to say, spending a lot of time learning the “art” of knot tying has diffidently improved me as a fisherman and as a fishing guide. Jon

  14. 2/27/02 2:55:00 AM Submitted by H2Outlaw ( from TEXAS says Thanks Everyone!
    Thanks to all who have contributed to this interesting thread. I know I've learned quite a few things here. And a big thank you to Jon Fails for the leader recipe. Now it's time to put this newfound knowledge to work this spring!

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