Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Saltwater Leaders

There is often a lot of debate among saltwater fly fishers when it comes to leaders and how to construct a good connection between your fly line and your fly. Of course choosing a leader depends on what species you're targeting, water depth and clarity.

Most folks say that using a 4 section system is the best way to help your fly turn over however, i have found it unnecessary to use 4 sections.....i've whittled it down to 2 sections and sometimes even one...."get out and practice" is what i say.

Most of the time, i'll use a 9 foot leader made of either Triplefish or Trilene Big Game or a shorter 6 foot leader if the conditions are windy. i don't like fluorocarbon because it tends to drag the fly down too fast even though it's quite a bit tougher than regular monofiliment. One rule of thumb to sure to use the same brand of lines when putting together a leader.....the sections tend to hold together better and greatly reduces the chance of slippage.

When targeting redfish in the backcountry or on the flats, i'll use a 9 foot single strand of 25 lb Trilene Big Game. If there are oyster bars present, i might bump it up to 30 lb of the same material.

If going for snook anywhere, i'll employ a 7 foot section of the 25 lb Big Game and a 2 foot section of 30 lb for a bite tippet to defend against the razor sharp gill rakers that snook like to use against unsuspecting anglers.

For bonefish on the clear flats in the Keys, i prefer a 4 foot section of 25 lb Big Game and a 5 foot section of 10 lb Big Game. These fish can be quite spooky hence the need for a lighter leader, but you can't use material that's too light because they can break you off on a coral head or mangrove prop root.

Barracuda require a 6 or 8 inch section of wire bite tippet. For this, i prefer Surflon Micro Ultra nylon coated knottable stainless leader wire. These saltwater snotrockets are seldom leader shy and their sharp teeth make wire necessary when targeting this fierce predator.

There are many options and preferences when it comes to saltwater leader systems and it's best to use what works for you. One thing that we can agree on 100%....there is no need for a 1 lb tippet that you might use in a trout stream.....these are tough fish that require tough leader material and sound knots if you hope to land any of the saltwater game fish that inhabit the tropics.

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