If you get into fly fishing for searun browntrout, you will ask yourself many questions. One of these questions might be answered in this article: What does the optimal leader and tippet look like?
First of all, it has to be said that this article only describes our personal experiences, other fly fishermen may also have different preferences.
We start with the length of the leader. We like to fish roughly 1.5 times the rod length, about 3-4m. Exactly how long the leader has to be depends on personal preferences, for some casting styles a slightly shorter leader is better, but sometimes a longer leader also ensures that the fly runs a little deeper or shy fish react better, which leads to increased catches.
Theoretically, you can use a continuous leader of the same strength. However, it has proven useful to fish with a tapered leader, that is, with a thick and a thin end. The thick end is either looped into the fly line, here the Perfection Loop has proven itself, or knotted, for example with the help of a nail knot. We only use lines that either have a ready-made loop at the end of the fly line or are “weldable”, which is why you can make a loop here yourself. If you want to deal with this, the best thing to do is google “weld fly line”, there are enough search results that describe this process.
On the one hand, you can knot these tapered leaders yourself by tying leader material in different thicknesses together. But since drawn, i.e. knotless, tapered leaders are available at fair prices, we would always prefer them. We have been relying on products from Stroft for years, especially the 9-foot and 12-foot long leaders with a 0.25mm or 0.27mm tip. To ensure that these leaders do not shorten each time a fly is changed and you have to use a new leader after a certain period of time, we urgently recommend using a tip set, which means, for example, “leader extension”. In more detail, we knot an extension to these tapered leaders. We rely on fluorocarbon, in contrast to monofilament material, this sinks and is classified as more abrasion-resistant. How thick this FC should be depends on a few factors, for most situations we would recommend a tip thickness of 0.25mm-0.30mm.
In order to connect this tippet with the drawn leader, there are now three possibilities:
Loop-to-Loop: here you make a perfection loop in both ends and loop them together. The advantage here is that you can change your tippet relatively quickly. A disadvantage to be mentioned here is that the leaders themselves press minimally into one another, which has not yet led to any problems for us, nonetheless a bit of mistrust remains. In addition, these two loops are a little more bulky than the remaining variants.
Blood knot: The blood knot is THE connecting knot in fly fishing. It is hardly bulky and has a high load-bearing capacity. The disadvantage, however, is that this requires a little more effort to tie, which can be nerve-wracking, especially in freezing temperatures.
Connection by means of tippet rings: Various brands offer those rings. These are small rings in which both ends of the leader and tippet can easily be tied using a clinch knot. For us the best method, because the load-bearing capacity is retained, the clinch knot is lightning-fast even with cold hands and there are no real disadvantages.
We hope this article sheds some light into the dark. To summarize the more detailed text, here is the leader variant that has proven itself for us in fly fishing for sea trout for years: 12 foot tapered leader with a 0.25 tip, shorten this a little and use a leader ring and approximately 0.25-027mm thick and approximately 1-1.2m long fluocarbon – your tippet is ready!