Peninsula Fly Fishers

Leader Design

by Bob Schwehr

February 2007

This month I have been reading up on Fly Fishing. It kindles the expectations for bass fishing in March. I don’t know about you, but leaders for Bass Bugs and Streamers have been a mystery. Streamers will work with 4-6 feet of 10# test flourocarbon, it is true.

Fishing with Tom Kilfoil at Kelsey last spring proved to me that just a little bit of effort can result in leaders that turn over incredibly better.

I learned of the fluorocarbon that Cabelas sells under their brand from Rodney Chun. I have been reloading tippet spools with it, and have found it yields fine results.

So I thought I would pass along my notes, for those who might be interested in making up some leaders.

The lengths can be tied with surgeon’s knots (as Tom Kilfoil recommends), Uni-knots back to back, or blood knots… your choice.

Tie a loop at the head end.

By the way… these are notes of mine, and the accuracy could be off a bit… give them a try.


For bass poppers, Tom Kilfoil recommended:

30# mono @ 36-40”
17# mono @ 18-20”
10# mono @ 18”
I found this was great to cast poppers with my 8 wt.

Barrie Foster recommended:

25# Mono @ 6 feet
12# Mono @ 6 feet
5-7x tippet of what ever length

General Bass Leaders, recommended by Clouser and Kreh in their bass fishing video…

40# Mono @ 36”
30# Mono @ 18”
25# Mono @ 10”
20# Mono @ 10”
12# Mono @ 10”

I made some for myself, but have not tried them yet.


Indicator fishing…. I read about this somewhere I can’t recall.

25-30# Mono @ 6 feet (attach indicator here) 5x-6x Tippet from the indicator down… tied with a loop so it can hinge. This lets the fly go straight down more easily.


General Leader design from Gary LaFontaine book “Caddis Flies”, I think. Sorry, I have not mic’d out the strength of mono yet.

.018 Mono @ 36”
.016 Mono @ 28”
.014 Mono @ 18”
.012 Mono @ 18”
,010 Mono @ 10”
.008 Mono @ 18”
So, hope this saves you some time, and Happy Fishing.
Tight Lines.
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