View Full Version : Setting up salt fly leaders

06-24-2012, 06:04 PM
I have a DVD by Chico Fernandez he talks about a 60 20 20% leader formula. I have tons of green berkley big game is it ok to use it as leader material or is it not stiff enough? If it is not stiff enough what type and brand do you guys use? Also in the DVD he used a short piece of leade 4 inch or so and attach the leader with a loop to loop connection what test do you use for this connection the same as the longer but part of the leader. Lastly l need a formula for an eight weight and ten weight fishing the surf for stripers. Thanks for working through my confusing post. Charlie

06-25-2012, 08:53 AM

The formula that's worked best for me is as follows (I use the same on my 8 and 10):

About 3-4 feet of 50 lb Ande mono leader material, with a perfection loop on one end,

that's connected to a section about 18" long of 30 lb Orvis Mirage flourocarbon with a surgeon's knot,

connected to about 18" of 18 lb Mirage with another surgeon's knot. Fly gets a rapala loop or clinch knot, depending on what I'm looking for.

I like the flouro for the abrasion resistance. A nice fish can do some damage with their gill plates to leader very easily (saw this the other night firsthand).

You can go crazy trying to think about leader setups. I know people who use a 6' section of 40 lb with a 15lb tippet and do just fine. Some people even forgo the tippet, and just use straight 30.

What brand of fly line do you have? Does it have a welded loop on the business end? If not, nail knot that 4" section in with a perfection loop on the end. 50 lb should be fine. Just make sure your butt section is at least the same pound strength as that 4" section. Most of my lines have loops on them so I don't have to worry about it.

Two important things to remember:

1) The butt section of your leader should be close to the diameter of your fly line, at least where the loop is. That'll allow energy to transfer smoothly during the cast, allowing the leader to turn the fly over and preventing hinging.

2) Lengthen or shorten your leader depending on the size of the fly. Big, 3/0 mack patterns? Go with a stiff, 5' max leader. Tiny surf candies? Up it to about 7-8', and taper accordingly. Tie some up in advance so you don't have to fumble around in the surf.

good luck,


06-25-2012, 09:21 AM
Don't spend too much time agonizing over that DVD because setting up floating systems for tropical fishing and prowling beaches for SB, blues or false albacore is an entirely different game.

For the fishing you described, you'll be using (or should be) an intermediate line 90% and throwing a variety of fly sizes.

After 40 years of trying almost ever system imaginable, I've settled on 4-6 ft of 30-50#mono connected by a tiny 50# spro swivel to 3-5' of 12-20# flouro.

I generally use lighter butts for lighter lines. The tippet depends on conditions such as water clarity, fly size, weather, etc.

I use different leaders systems for floating lines and sinking heads.

06-28-2012, 10:37 AM
I wade and fly fish the beaches and estuaries on Boston's South Shore and the Cape. I use intermediate line, a nail knot to 50 pd leader mono and 8-9 feet of a stiffer mono. Soft lines lead to more wind knots for me. Anything less than 20 and I lose fish in the wash.

07-17-2012, 01:49 PM
Try a non-slip mono loop knot for the tippet to leader to butt connections. After losing a couple of really good fish when my perfection loops "popped" I have switched. It seems to be a better knot especially with flourocarbos.

07-18-2012, 02:11 AM
I fished with a guide in the Keys that used "Hard-Mono" for all but the tippet section of the leader. He liked it because it is really stiff and capable of cutting through the wind.

I'm not a serious fly fisherman, but around here, I pretty much just use straight mono and I've never had a problem. If I was presenting dry flies to trout, I'd worry a lot more about my leader. But, throwing streamers to bass and blues, I wouldn't worry too much about it.

Mr. Sandman
07-18-2012, 06:12 AM
Like was said above you can go nuts with fly line and leaders but the fact is in salt water up here you really don't need all that fancy stuff. You can do it if you want to but I just peel off a 6' of either floro or mono leader material and do a non-slip loop in the end that goes to the fly line (loop to loop connection) and a non-slip loop around the fly. When I want to change flies I cut it and retie

IMO Unless you are a fly purest just tie it up straight that stepping down process seems overkill to me but it does look cool. You can also buy tapered leaders but again they are costly.