Skip to main content

A break in the fishing for a scholastic discussion on leaders. Tom Rosenbauer from Orvis [L] and George Daniel. A good leader system ‘is’ the strategy.

A leader majorly impacts casting and fly

By Skip Clement

Over time most experienced fly fishers know that the leader is your friend or enemy. No fly rod, fly line, or reel can make a lousy leader system cast any fly well. No matter how much you spend on a fly rod or how well you can cast, a poorly configured leader can make casting a nightmare. A bad leader system can make casting to and catching a hot fish impossible.

To become a good angler learn how to build leader systems that complement the fly and prey.

We were going after tarpon

The best way to avoid a bad day casting at hot fish is to have a professional guide at your side. They will not let you fish with an ‘effed-up’ leader. For example, on a trip to Belize some years ago, my friend and I arrived at the dock rigged and ready for backwater bonefish, which are usually small 2-pounders that are always willing. Still, our guide, Pedro, said no and replaced our leaders with his preference: a shorter, stronger butt, mid-section, and tippet at +/- 7 feet. It allowed for casting the larger flies. We were going after tarpon.

Leader materials are cheap, and no manufacturer of fly rods, reels, or fly lines will occupy valuable ad space selling low-dollar leader materials versus ad space for $1,000 fly rods. Fly shops are in the same boat.

Illustration by Thom Glace – [top to bottom] rainbow trout, brown trout, and brook trout. Used with permission.

Mad River Outfitters

There is a series run by Brian Flechsig of Mad River Outfitters in Ohio that does a great job clearing the fly fishing kennel of bull sh*t and brings valuable information to both the newbie and experienced with taking it to the bank videos on the subject of leaders. You should find this interesting and very valuable.

Mad River Outfitters:

Brian Flechsig
833 Bethel Road
Columbus, Ohio 43214
+1 (614) 451-0363

Featured Image: Bonefish image from Dr. Aaron Adams, BTT Director of Science & Conservation, paper on Bonefish and Tides (photos: Justin Lewis, BTT Bahamas Initiative Manager).


Author Skip

More posts by Skip

Leave a Reply