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I'm wondering what the various opinions are on leaders.  I have read about anglers who tie their own, following various formulas.  These folks maintain that self-made custom leaders greatly enhance their success.  On the other hand, I have also read other "experts" who say store bought leaders are just fine and it is not worth the trouble to create one's own.  As an "advanced beginner" flyfisher, is learning to make my own leaders something I should be concerned about? ???
 

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In my opinion you would be better served by tying some flies instead of your own leaders.  The technology now days is far superior then what is use to be, but that's just my opinion.

I also have to confess that until a couple of years ago I never used a weight forwad leader when throwing dry flies.  I was of the opinion that it really didn't matter much and that all leaders turn over the same.    I must say I was very wrong!  Give em a try!!
 

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I would agree. The new tapered leaders are great. I know some people don't like it but the loop to loop connections are great also. It means one less knot you need to know.
 

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My way of thinking about leaders is along the same lines of climbing ropes...the less connections and knots in a line, the better. not only is it usually stronger, but it catches less weeds and other unwanted stuff. im a tapered leader kind of guy. my favorites are made by Umpqua...

However, you gotta give the guys that tie thier own some credit....putting together a leader that turns over nicely cant be easy....
 

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The modern tapered leader is a relatively new thing. I wasn't a fly fisherman when they came out, but I believe that most books written even just 5 years ago don't cover tapered leaders. So... Take what you read with a grain of salt.

Modern leaders are so much better than hand made leaders.
 

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Im not sure about the exact time, but i have fished with tapered leaders for a long time...more than 20 years i am certain. so yes, take what you read with a grain of salt ;)

and yes, i think modern leaders are much better than hand mades ones too...
 

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I'm a tapered leader guy as well. I do tie extensions onto my tapered leaders, though. I'll usually lop off a foot to eighteen inches of the tapered leader and use a blood knot to retie the end using flourocarbon. It works great and I can always cut that piece off and retie it without having to redo the entire piece of leader.
 

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Now that i think about it there are times i tie my own leaders....if you can call them that. i do this for when i cast large flies to bass, pike, and saltwater stuff... then i just usually tie on a length of heavy mono. since streamers and poppers dont require a delicate presentation (and they dont "turn over" very well anyways) i find they work as well as heavy tapered leaders, not to mention level mono is much cheaper.

for pike---6 or 8 feet of 20 or 25 lb hard mono (use a loop knot or figure 8 knot to attach the fly)

for bass---5 feet of 16 lb mono with a 3 foot section of 12 or 14 lb mono.

for snook or other saltwater species in heavy cover---6 or 8 feet of 16 lb hard mono and a 18 inch section 20 lb hard mono that i attach to the fly with a loop knot.

for trout on sink tip line---a 4 ft section 8 or 10 lb mono
 

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I also use the tapered leader but have had the pretied loop come untied a couple of times, so I try to stay away from the leaders that have the pretied loop on the end. I use a surgeon loop it only takes a few seconds to tie and is very strong. My favorite leaders are Rio's.
 

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I like the tapered leaders as well. I push the leader into the fly line and secure it with super glue. Doesn't snag anything.
 

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I buy most leaders as does about everyone I fish with. However, we get our moneys worth. By this I mean, we build off the store bought leader and will constantly rebuild it until there's nothing but a butt section left. Personally though, If I'm through dries, I find a smoothly tapered store bought leader to be way more effective then a hinged leader with 5 surgeons knots in it. But thats just me. One other thing, floro is amazing for fishing subsurface cuz it sinks but worthless on the surface for that reason.
 
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