Developing leaders

bass fishing Jim Hendrick

Improving your saltwater fly leaders for coastal fishing – PI

People ask me a lot about leaders for bass fishing with the fly.

One aspect mentioned frequently is the experience that people have of their fly not landing properly, people most often describe the problem as ‘the leader lands in a heap of line and doesn’t ‘turn over’ properly’ especially when casting at the coast. Even when casting is good poor turnover can happen when your leader doesn’t function correctly. The solution to this problem often lies in the ‘taper’ the construction and the materials used in your leader.

The energy that’s moving along your fly line when you are making nice loops moves evenly along the progressive tapers of the line towards the end. Suddenly when the unrolling loop meets the different material of the beginning of the leader, depending on its composition, this is where the problem of poor turnover often starts. A change in diameter of the end of your fly line to a material with a considerably less diameter means energy is not dispersed along the leader evenly or in a smooth transition towards the fly.

A one-piece leader of 3 metres of say 9Kgs BS may work in gentle conditions, not very effectively mind, but toughen up the circumstances by adding wind and the leader is likely to collapse continuously. Your loop formation, your accuracy, distance, presentation and fishing will suffer as a consequence of poor leader construction.

There are a number of solutions to improving your saltwater leader turnover

  1. Build your own multi piece tapered leaders – next post!
  2. Purchase purpose built tapered SW leaders
  3. Purchase purpose built tapered SW poly leaders (adding depth control)
  4. Purchase or build your own furled leaders

Adding a taper to your leader is essential for achieving improved turnover when you’re fly casting into wind on the open coast – it helps you catch fish in many ways.

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