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Discussion Starter #1
I have no confidence in my leader formula for Summer run steelhead. I am using a 131/2' 7/8 wt rod built by Bob Miesner, or a Sage 9140. The line on the 7/8 is a Rio Mid-Spey and the Sage sports an AirFlo 8/9 Long Delta. I have been steelhead fly fishing for about 4 years. My home rivers are the Ronde and the Clearwater. For better or worse, I build my own leaders. My usual formula for Summer run steelhead on the Clearwater is Maxima Camelian 7' of 25lb, 2' 20lb, 2' of 15lb, 2' of 12lb, and the tippit is 2'-3' of Seagar florocarbon smaller in diameter than the 12lb Maxima, or I'll use 10lb Maxima. If I use a type III sink tip, looking for a little depth, the leader will be about 6' in length, and I'll apply the 60/40 rule. If using a type VI, I'll simply go with a 4'-5' single piece of Seagar 141/2lb. I am seeking confirmation or alternatives. Your thoughts?
 

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You leaders for sink tips sound ok..

My only thoughts are on your floating line leader.. 7 feet seems excessive for a butt section and you may be losing some energy through it.. here is what i'd suggest

12 inch permanent butt section 40lb maxima
3feet of 30 lb
3 feet of 25 lb
then the rest of the leader tied as you described.

same length just a little taper to facilitate good turn over.
 

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super subject!

but!,,i don't see the ten pound tippet unless the water's colored or the fish are stacked,really stacked!,or thin fast water,you're swinging of course?:)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hammer: I don't understand what you are suggesting, regarding the 10lb tippit. Clearwater fish can go to 40' and plus 20 lb. On the G. Ronde, I'd go 8 lb. What are your recommending for tippit?

By the way, thanks fellows.
 

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Steelhead are cool!
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Dangr,

Roballen2's formula sounds good if you want to
tie your own leaders. I am lazy I guess I just
buy a 12ft bonefish tapered leader in 10-12#
test and then I tie on a 2'-3' tippet of 8#
tippet for the 10# leader and 10# tippet for
the 12# leader. The salt water leaders are
great. They are made from hard mono and they
turn over great. One thing with using fluoro is
to make sure your tippet is close to the same
diameter as your leader. I know longer use fluoro.
I don't think its necessary when you are swinging
a fly.

Kevin
 

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i could

talk for a half hour on what MY beliefe's are on tippets,and leader materials,i use the `i'm dialed' formula,in other words if i'm getting bit every cast,,then i'm,well,`dialed in',certainly there's always big fish `about' in any steelhead river,but,why limit yourself to the big fish mentality,i love 6 pnd. max. grn for tippet,i know i can catch a lot more fish with 4 or even two pound tippet,but,we're getting extreem now,i know very little really about any other river than my own,but the Rogue runs clear most of the year,even Max. clear will cut down the numbers brought to hand,camalieon is only suitable for a butt,if used as a mid. or taper,short strikes occur,if at all,i use all three colrs of Maxima to tye leaders with because of my two'handedness used to use only grn. with single handers,well,obviously i'm getting on a half hour here!!!,call the Redshed Flyshop,get some 6 and four pound wheels of grn. Max. from Mike,then go forth!,i've mistakenly snagged salmon in the back here and wished the 6 pound tippet would `pulease let go!',for ten!? minutes before finally giving me the rod back,i'll reimburse you if you don;t think your catch numbers go up,of course your rod design plays a part ,as well as,blah,blah,blah--2+2-2=/3#*@4%^,,,,heehahahaheheheee;)
 

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Junkyard Spey
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Hey Dangr...

I don't see much wrong with your leader. Maybe a little shorter butt as Rob suggest. I use the 60/20/20 on my 14' (168") rod starting with 40# Maxima Chameleon or Clear for the leader and UltraGreen 10# for the tippet.
Why don't you have any confidence in your leader? If it is not turning over just change the dimension a little until it does. Other than that it seems fine to me but confidence is a BIG part of the deal so maybe a change is in order. The Airflo floating poly leaders work very well. Also the Rio 15' knotless turn over nicely. If you get up toward Peck stop in and I'll give you one of my leaders for a test run.

Hammer, On the Clearwater the tippet sizes you suggest are for trout fishing. :whoa: Take care, MJC
 

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I'd agree with all the above, save for one..

thing. Unless you're using a wted. fly, I'd keep the total leader length down to the three foot range when using tips or sinking leaders. Too much leader here allows the fly to 'float up;' which is exactly what your trying to prevent.

Just my .o2 cents
 

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must not be

clear water,what MJC,,are you gettin' scared!,a REAL long rod will allow the use of fine tippets,,as i've said before;the rod should be an extension of the line,seems the `cuestick' rods demand a heavy leader?, a parabolic action allows for finnesing the offering,playing fish,the fish are all the same here,they bite!,and they bite the same size bugs all the way up to,,what?33 or 35 inches,,that's the game here,if you catch a `biggie',i call them `granders',a 34 inch summer well,,,you've done something,these fish have been up and down the river 4-5 times,truely a veteran!,obviously 4 pound isn't going to cut it here,but,i'm talking out of turn here anyway,,,secrets,,so many secrets,,like;what knot are you using to secure the fly to the tippet,,the sizes of the leader sections you use reflect greatly on the overall strength of the leader, don't `step to far' in diameters,ever wonder how many refusals you're getting???,think about it!,myself i cannot AFFORD TO FISH if i'm not getting bit,licked, or swiped at on evey cast,when DO you get steelhead were you're at dangr?if it's late in the season and the fish are ready to move onto the redds,i use twenty pound mainline pulling plugs,but,,,it's the time of year and the aggressive nature of the fish,,,,,,if you're fishing very thin water and the presentation is such that the fish does not see the leader, well,; fiddy pound should work,,,trout sizes!hahahahaheheheheeeeeoooie!boy!haaha ;),,also my `lil' scotty',Sharpe's of Aberdeen 14 will throw an 18 ft leader tapered to 2 pound beutifully and if i handed it to you,,and got the net,you'd never know how finessful you were
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hammer,

If I am using a fly w/turned up or down eye, I use a double turl knot. If the eye is straight, I'll use a Trilene knot. I make a standard perfection loop to connect leader to line. I use a double surgeon's knot, rather than a blood knot, to connect my leader lengths. On occation, I will use a loop knot to connect to the fly. When doing that, I never use flouro, and will plus up the # by one weight. But, who am I? I only know what I've read. On the Clearwater, with motor boats in the water, I may go 24 hours or so between fish. Less, if no boats. I do believe you fellows have offered me some quality food for thought at both ends of the leader, and I appreciate that.
 

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Junkyard Spey
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Hey Hammer...

Well, I'm gitting "bit" enough to keep me more than interested. The CND Expert is definately not a pool cue. You can use what ever size tippet you like. I release most all of my fish and I like to get them in. Once the fish is hooked the game is over for me so I like a heavier tippet so I can put the rod to the fish and finish the battle as quick as possible. I feel it is better for the fish.

The Clearwater is very clear most of the time. These fish aren't leader shy and for me 10# is on the light side.

Bring the light stuff when you come for a visit. I've got a lot more to replenish your stock after you "git tore up":devil:
Take care, MJC
 

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perfection loop!

is this an `overhand' knot,,are you doing `loop to loop'? didn't make the transition with me to the two-handers ,worked fine on singles,i usually just tie the leader butt to the flyline,wich has an overhand knot,or been turned back on itself and finished with thread/goop,i also use double sturgeon knots to build leaders,my take;,floro sucks,as does Max. clear when pulling the knots tight,or any knots!,,extra care is needed,,,,,camalion needs to be checked over after fishing a wee bit,as it's soooo stiff,of course the big diameter's i'm using IS for butts,i use trilene knots for ALL my fishing plugs,flies ,you name it,after all the header was `confidence',,heck!,just cast right behind the boats,,usually this will hide a heavy leader and result in a fish on!heheheeehaaaaha!;)
 

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MJC!

what a hot thread huh!!!,,,believe me i'm dying to go!,,as far as `getting tore up' thats' tonight!!!,,i use 8- ten -12 pound tippets sure,but,,if it's reeeeeel clear,well,,,
 

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Clearwater

Hammer

Just pick me up in Prineville on your way to the Clearwater next fall. I have an abundance of 6X that has sat in the sun to long. We can give it to Mike to use.:smokin:

Skilly
 

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Junkyard Spey
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Hey Skilly...

By all means, bring me all that sun bleached 6X. I will stain it in coffee grounds and sell it to Hammer (at an inflated price) as the latest thing.
"Maxima Finesse Tippet"-Especially formulated to fish for 1/2 pounders with an 18 ftr.:hehe: :hehe: :hehe:
 

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yes!

remember,,we're allowed three flies here ,so,,ask JDJones about the ol' hammer,,,multiple hookups DO happen,,tonight i used a finesse setup;river went up a ft. over night,,,; 18 ft. of leadcore tied to my chopped DT 12 ,4ft. of ten pound tippet,, and red armature wire wrapped leadeyed comets,,yeah,,finesse,,doesn't ten pound tippet qualify for finesse:hehe:
 

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I really don't want to get scolded on this site for recommending a product, but I just can't help it.

I used to tie my own leaders until I came across Gary Selig on the York in Gaspe 3 years ago. I traded a couple of flies for one of his hand tied models that used the new (at the time) Stroft material for the mid section and a flourocarbon butt. Politely, I suggested he fish through the pool (Petite Saumon, Sector 1) first and I'd follow through. I don't know whether it was the Stroft, the formula, or the vodoo magic he put on them but I swear I got another 15' to the deep green hole on the far side and garnered a 15 pounder (100 footer with a rookie caster). Ever since I get a few new 13 and 13 1/2 footers every year. Call it my loyalty to Gary or his desire to create the best Spey leaders out there, but I swear by them. They'll kick over 2/0 speys as well as present the smaller stuff well.

Also, the Floroucarbob butt and Stroft mid-section really sticks to the water you can really drive that V loop into the water at a shallow angle and it won't skip off the water and unload your back cast.

I'm off to Gaspe next week and have 4 new 13 foot beauties in my bag already. I use them on my 13 foot Scott as well as my 15' Winston and they're sheer magic. If Gary actually had an Internet connection (Luddite) I'm sure he'd share the formula on this site. As it is you can email me and I can share his contact info.

Dana, I'm really sorry for putting an endorsement out there, but hey, it's not his day job and they really are damn good.

-Chris
 

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Junkyard Spey
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Hey Hammer...

doesn't ten pound tippet qualify for finesse
Hey, I thought it did but this morning you kept talking about 4# & 6#. If I remember right you were even talking about some 2# on your 14' Sharps.
When you hook a Clearwater "Grander" with your finesse setup and it heads for Portland your will be saying ##@X*&%**@!!!!, I got to head up to Poppy's and get me some 10#.

I hope you do make it overhere sometime. You can use whatever tippet you want. I'll stand on the bank and laugh or cry whichever may be required. I want to see you throw a "Lap Dancer" with some light stuff on your "BIG STICK". Take care, MJC
 

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Skagiteer
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Dear Dangr,

I couldn't resist this one. First of all, I don't get too carried away about leaders, I don't have an exact formula or overall length. But there are a few rules and reasons I go by that I'll be glad to share.

In regards to the type of material, I use only Maxima Ultra green, I've tried them all and the only stronger material out there is Maxima chamelion but I don't like the color (Maxima clear is just plain crap). As for mixing materials in the same leader, such as, a leader of chamelion and a tippet of ultra green or fluorocarbon, it's a bad idea. The stiffer material will always cut through the softer material under pressure. That goes with mixing any two different materials because they will all have a different stiffness value. If you must mix it up, the double surgeon knot is better than the blood knot, it is also better for joining two materials that are of greatly varying diameters. I don't do either of those things and so mostly use the blood knot.

Several years ago I completely abandoned using the loop to loop connection and now I always tie the butt section directly to the fly line with an albright knot. The albright is a lot stronger than a perfection loop, let alone TWO perfection loops (or any other loop knot). One knot is better than two and I've found that the butt section lasts just as long or longer than the loop. As for the butt section I use 25lb, I just haven't found it necessary to go any heavier. It seems to do just fine even when I'm casting one of those lead eyed, lead wrapped articulated rabbit strip monsters (of course I'm not usually trying to cast something like that on a floating line). It also cuts down on the number of spools of leader material I have to buy and carry and the number of knots I have to tie. I use about a six foot butt on my floater and about 18in to 2ft on my sink tips, I by no means break out a measuring tape. I then step down in increments 20lb, 15lb, 12lb, 10lb, 8lb.

As for deciding on a tippet, the clarity of the water and size of the fish are definitely considerations. Far more important consideration's are size and strength of your rod and size and weight of the fly. For 10wts I don't go below 12lb, 9wts - 10lb, 7 and 8wts - 8lb, 6lb for fives and sixes. Here I'll admit I have a double standard, I'll occasionally drop one size below those parameters for my personal fishing, I have more confidence in my own ability to protect a tippet than I do with most of those that I guide and I don't mind nearly as much if I were to break a fish off. When I'm guiding, the bottom line is when I'm looking for just one fish a day, I don't want anything to go wrong once it's hooked. Another consideration for tippet is geographic location, a thirty inch fish here on the coast is quite a different beast than a thirty incher on the Ronde. I don't ever consider steelhead to be tippet shy. If they are, then they probably have been caught recently and I'm not looking for used fish. I only consider the water clarity when deciding on the leader length, not tippet size. The final and perhaps most important factor when deciding a tippet is how much you muscle your fish and how quick your reflexes are.

For floating lines I like a 9' - 14' leader, usually between 10' - 12'. The butt section is 6' - 8'. For sink tips a 3' - 6' leader with a butt of 18" - 30". For the intermediate tips I like the floating line leaders.

I prefer the weakest "link in the chain" to be the knot that the fly is tied on with. That way when I do have to break the fly off all I have to do is tie on a new one and I'm back in the game. For that reason I never use the trilene knot, it is much stronger than either the blood knot or double surgeon, it rarely breaks when using a hand tied leader. For up eyed hooks I use the double turle and for straight eyed, down eyed and articulated flies I use either a simple clinch (not improved) or Lefty's loop.

Dangr, I'm with you, I wouldn't have any confidence in your leaders either.

Okay, so maybe I do get a little carried away about leaders.
 

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Junkyard Spey
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Hey Scott...

Okay, so maybe I do get a little carried away about leaders.
Everything I've ever read that you wrote you got carried away but I always really enjoy reading your stuff and sometimes I even learn something. You should post more often.
 
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