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In another week or so I will be ready for my first spey cast. I was wondering what leader lenght should I be using? Should I be using a braided leader like Airflo or a tapered mono leader? I have much to learn and appreciate your help. I will be heading up to Salmon River NY in mid March so if anyone has some rigging ideas for up there it would help also.

Thanks
 

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Couple of general thoughts on leaders

2 cents stuff here.

Floating lines:
Leader should be AT LEAST as long as the rod; an additional foot or two is better. Remember, the leader/fly is the 'anchor' for your spey cast.

As to materials, if you tie your own (like I do) two or three short runs of Mason's HARD leader (20 or 25# depending upon the rod/line you're using. Match the .xxx to the end of the fly line. Many of them are .023) down to Mason's 17, then a short run of 15 then (most of us "down here" in So. Oregon) just use Maxima main line for the tippet material. Reason for using main line vs. 'leader material' is the "l-m" is too soft and the fly(s) will have a tendency to wrap up on the leader. You can redefine the term wind knot!

Tips/sinking heads:

3-5 foot max in length. 18"-24" of 15-17# Mason's, then straight to your tippet material. The tip/head will provide the 'anchor' and a long leader will allow the fly to "float up," which kinda defeats the purpose of using a sinking head or sinking leader.
 

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Junkyard Spey
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This worked for me

Steelheadmike, As usual Fred has some good info. Also you might consider using the 10' poly leaders with some 10# or 12# Maxima (2'-4') for a tippit. The poly leaders work great.
If you want to tie your own leaders, here are 2 formulas that I got off the "Steelhead Site". They purportedly came from Mike Maxwell. I have used the floating one with good results on a 14' St. Croix 9/10 rod with a 9/10/11 Windcutter with flies up to size #2

1. butt= 48" of 40# transition= 24" of 30# taper= 8" of 25# taper= 8" of 20# taper= 8" of 15# tippet= 24" of 8#-10# this is what he uses for floating lines.

2. butt= 24" of 30# transition= 12" of 25# taper= 6" of 20# tippet= 18" of 10#-15# he uses these for sinking lines.
Good luck with your new outfit!
 
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