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How long should a leader be for fly fishing Knowing the exact length of a leader that would be perfect for fly fishing is something that has constantly challenged anglers. If you go fishing with a wrong leader length, you'll probably be forced to start from scratch when the wind kicks up. But let's begin with the basics of what a leader is and why it is an important tool in fly fishing.
The leader and its importance
A leader connects the fly to your fly line. It acts as the medium that transfers energy from the fly line to the fly when you are casting. It relieves energy from the fly line and makes a proper set up for the fly during the cast. The leader helps you present your fly as though it was alive and in case of dry flies, it helps present them as realistic floats.
The perfect length of a leader
Leaders come in different lengths with different diameters in body, butt, and tippet (these are parts of a leader). If you're planning to fish toothy predators like the pickerel or the northern pike, consider using a tippet with cut resistant material. If fishing delicate dry flies consider using a finely tapered leader. Leaders typically range from 6 to 12 feet. The length you choose for your leader should suit the type of fishing you are planning to carry out.
The short leader
Anytime you want to fish in small water, tight paces, or windy conditions, shorter leaders are the most suitable. A 6-foot leader, for example, is quite short according to fly fishing standards but it has a special place in an area of an angler. Fishing in the tiny brush-choked streams would never be successful without these 6-foot leaders that make it easier for you to cast and control. When fishing for the panfish and the large-mouthed bass a 6-foot leader is even too long. A 7.5-foot leader is also considered short. It is suitable for catching trout in small streams that are not more than 20 feet. This leader is also easier to cast in windy conditions than 9 feet or longer leaders.
The long leader
The use of longer leaders in fly fishing becomes successful when done in extremely clear water or for spooky fish. Leaders that are 12 to 15 feet long are challenging to cast but they are far much advantageous when placing your fly further away into the deep away from the thick fly line. Longer leaders suitable when fishing the gin-clear shallows of the alpine lakes or the technical spring creeks. If you find your leader is short for this activity, you can always increase the length by adding tippet. The standards leader
The standard length leader (9 feet) has been found to work best for most fishermen in both fresh and saltwater scenarios. For one reason, this leader is not too long that it's challenging to cast, yet it is long enough to obtain drag-free drifts and good presentations. Another good thing about it is that you can easily add extra lengths of tippet when the water gets crystal clear or when the fish are extra spooky and you can easily chop down some few feet when you need to cast in windy conditions.
Conclusion The suitable length of a leader depends on your fishing conditions. Depending on your condition, be ready to adjust the length accordingly.
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