I wonder how many #JustTheTippetJokes we can sneak into this very informative blog post... Fine, we'll be serious for just a second. One of the more popular questions asked inside the walls of 239 Flies, in a very quiet mumbled voice... actually you know what, back it up like a Mack truck. FIRST AND FOREMOST THERE ARE NO STUPID QUESTIONS, EVER! You are not expected to know every aspect and every detail of all things fly fishing related. It is ok to be a fly fisherman, and it is ok to not be a world class fly fisherman. You don't have to be on the cover, or be the lusty bearded centerfold of Obscure Bullshit Quarterly Magazine to ask a question in our fly shop. Its always a party, everyones invited, and we're always down the obscure-est of the bullshit. Ask it, Say it with your chest! Now to some actual information:
More times than not we'll get an angler or aspiring angler in the shop inquiring about what leader they should be fishing. This answer not so obviously varies depending on the situation. Without getting into the carbon fibers of the details and keeping things as simple as we can, we generally recommend a 9' or 10' tapered with self tied bite tippet. Wether you're new to fly fishing and not trying to muddy the waters with too much info, or you're a seasoned badass that was born with a sun faded, tarpon scale buff on (I'd love see the look on that OBGYN's face), just keep it simple. If you're retired or born hood rich and you've got the time to tie your own leaders, go right ahead. It is my opinion that tying your own leaders does not make you a better fisherman, it makes you a proficient knot tyer. Feel free to add that to your resumé underneath basket weaver and petroleum transfer technician and specialist. Tapered leaders will help with the transfer of energy from the fly line to the fly. They'll help give you that glorious loop and deliver that fly straight and not a bowl of monofilament spaghetti in wherever that bowl crashes down. We generally recommend a 16 or 20lb tapered mono leader for 6, 7, and 8 weight rods. Depending on water clarity and pressure on the fishery, I'd tell you to fish a 25lb fluoro bite tippet on the beach, or 30lb to 40lb fluoro in the back country. If your fishing for dinosaurs like depicted above, we carry specific leaders for tarpon that have a built in shock absorbing section. This is particularly handy when a 100lb + fish eats, jumps, and you lose your shit like a shit collector with amnesia! Let go of the line... you're not stopping that freight train with your non dominate hand and some string. Rather than type out every possible scenario and double batter them in sarcasm, I'll make a handy cheat sheet guide like this one:
- 6wt - 16 lb tapered w/ 25 lb bite tippet
- 7wt - 20 lb tapered w/ 30 lb bite tippet
- 8wt - 20 lb tapered w/ 30 lb bite tippet
- 9wt - 25 lb tapered w/ 40 lb bite tippet
- 10wt - 30lb tapered w/ 40 lb bite tippet or Pro Tarpon Leader
- 11wt - 40lb tapered w/ 50-60 lb bite tippet or Pro Tarpon Leader
- 12wt - 40lb tapered w/ 60-80 lb bite tippet or Pro Tarpon Leader
A small note on bite tippets, we almost always use fluorocarbon bite tippets except when throwing top water flies. Fluorocarbon sinks, mono floats, scale accordingly. If you're fishing clear water, go light on the pound test. If you're fishing cloudy or stained water, beef it up... Pics of the fish, or didn't happen bro! No ones faulting you for not landing that fish on dental floss. Also, we tagged the 9' leaders in the links above, if they're out of stock in your number you can use the 10' or a weight class up, no big deal. Salt water isn't as technical as you make it, and fish really aren't that smart.
We also carry different brands than the rio tagged above. Cortland makes a fine product too.
To keep everything neat and organized, we recommend this handy Fishpond USA saltwater tippet stack. It'll fit more than a few spools for easy reloading and attaches to your boujee fishpond boat bag. Add a zinger and a nipper and you won't have to unzip anything or do more than open a hatch.
We hope you found this helpful. If theres any other questions we can answer for you, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 2399083513.
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*Angler Patrick Rhea (@livitfilms) Photo Nick Shirghio (@nickshirghiophotography)