One of my favorite quotes that you often hear me say is “conditions dictate as to how we fish. “This is the time of year that conditions change dramatically. With that being the case one thing that needs to change is your leader composition. The shorter leaders that you could get a way with earlier in the season, now become a hindrance. Not enough people put a lot of thought into their leader. This time of year, it is totally possible to fish to short of a leader. I see it all the time. With this hotter weather, we are having. Spring creeks like Fall river, and shallow to medium depth still waters. Will require longer leaders. The longer your leader the better. Also, the longer the taper the better. Right now, I am fishing clients on the swing with 16’ to 18’ feet of leader. As we approach the fall months and Indian summer that will be extended out to 20 feet. I like to use 24 to 30 inches plus of tippet. Maybe more, it depends on the size of tippet. The longer the tippet the more stretch you will get. Lessening the chance for break offs. By adding a piece of soft led to the tippet knot you can help keep the fly from drifting. It can easily be formed around the knot by rolling it in your fingers and forming a taper.
I know you are saying that’s a lot of leaders to have to cast.
However, that long of a leader is for fishing not for making pretty casts. Besides, when you are swinging you can straighten it out once it is on the water. But that’s all coming in another blog.
For you indicator guys, you should be starting out with a minimum of 12 feet of leader not counting your tippet. If you have to put your indicator clear up to your fly line. To achieve the depth you are trying to reach, you need a longer leader. Think about it. Getting that fly line to close to the fish is like dragging a rope over the top of them. Even if the fish are down deep you want to keep the line as far away from the fish as possible. Now for the 94,000-dollar question, and one I hear all the time. How do you keep the weeds off of your leader? Well, don’t cast into them.