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Long Leader Basics


Every fly fisher has a floating line of some sort in his or her kit bag.  Floating lines are a pleasure to cast and are perhaps the most versatile of all presentation tools.  In stillwaters anglers can cover a variety of depths simply by varying the overall length of their leader.  The dry line long leader method, as many know it is ideal for water 20 feet or less.  To begin, nail knot a stiff 2-foot butt section to the end of the fly line.  From there blood knot on a 9 or 15-foot leader tapered down to 3X or 4X.  If the budget allows and the setup is aimed at a submerged presentation fluorocarbon is ideal.  With the butt section and leader in place simply add tippet to reach the overall finished leader length.  What length one might ask?  A simple rule of thumb to follow is the overall leader length should be 25% longer than the water is deep.  For example, working a chironomid pupa in 15 feet of water would require a 19-foot leader.  Personally I use floating lines and long leaders almost to a fault.  This set up allows for the slow methodical retrieves necessary to be successful in stillwaters.  It is an ideal presentation method for just about all situations, chironomids, mayflies, and damsels even leeches.

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