Flexibility is one of a leader’s most desirable traits. When trying to provide a naturally drifting fly, the flexibility of the leader buffers the effects of turbulent currents. A stiff leader affects the natural drift of the fly more adversely than a flexible one. Flexibility is critical when fishing upon the surface film.
Try these materials to make a general-purpose leader:
: stiff German mono (Maxima) about four feet in length
Mid section : use a combination of stiff and flexible material like two feet of Maxima and two feet of Dai Riki
Tippet : about four feet of Dai Riki Velvet
This leader tapers from a stiff butt section to a very limp tippet section. Such a taper transfers the energy of the casting loop progressively to the fly. The leader’s long limp tippet protects it from unnatural current drag. (Current drag refers to the pull on a drifting fly and leader made by the current.)
Another leader for even more flexibility in difficult currents consists of the following materials:
: four feet of braided Dacron
Mid section : four feet of Dai Riki
Tippet section : four feet of Dai Riki Velvet
Because this entire leader is extremely flexible, it is useful for fishing difficult cross currents. The braided butt is very flexible and allows the fly to drift naturally. Its disadvantage arises when casting the leader in crossing winds: the butt and the remainder of the taper are easily blown off course. This leader’s flexibility nevertheless buffers and protects the naturally floating fly from the micro-turbulences of most currents. A cast with some slack laid into it (such as a serpentine cast) can make the leader more productive.
For extreme crosswind conditions, modify the pattern for the general purpose leader by using regular Dai Riki instead of Velvet. A heavier diameter tippet may be substituted for these extreme conditions. For some conditions, you may also want to use the stiff Maxima throughout the leader.
Leaders for strike indicator nymph fishing can be made as follows. Tie the butt section with a highly flexible and thin diameter leader so that it will hinge just below the strike indicator. Keep in mind that the current is always fastest at the surface and progressively decreases in velocity as it nears the stream’s bottom. The midsection is further tapered and so is the tippet.
A short section of 0X is useful to attach with a nail knot to the line. The strike indicator is placed on this upper 0X butt section. The length of this leader is varied by changing the length of its midsection. Changing the midsection allows you to adapt your fishing to various depths.
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