Saturday, February 23, 2013
Rolling my own
And so to tapered leaders. I've been 'rolling my own' for a while now and although I wouldn't eschew altogether the shop bought jobs, the vast majority of the time I use the old school method of constructing various lengths of leader using different diameters of copolymer.
You might question what I could possibly gain from such a long-winded enterprise, when lovely knot-free versions are readily available for a just few quid apiece. Well the main benefit is that we can build a leader of whatever length and taper we require, thus tailoring it specifically to our needs. I have gradual tapers, wind-beating tapers, dry fly leaders, French nymph leaders - each tweaked to exactly the specification I personally require. Probably the biggest single advantage is the ability to create a longer leader than is generally available in the shops; commonly the latter are available at 9' and in my eyes that's just not long enough for most river dry fly work. Granted some manufacturers (Hardy and Rio to name a couple), have started producing 12' tapers, which is better.
Such a huge proportion of fly fishers recognise the importance of tying their own flies as a means to more accurately and delicately match the insects on their home waters. I wonder if a similar proportion attach as much significance to the presentation of their lovingly crafted patterns, and set about tailoring their leaders accordingly? Somehow I doubt it.
So I would argue that the flexibility afforded in tying your own leaders is a definite step forward. It is economical too - after the initial outlay in accrueing the neccessary spools of copolymer (I use Orvis Superstrength in diameters 0.58mm down to 0.17mm), a large number of leaders can be churned out before any single spool need replacing......and if you terminate the leader with one of those nifty little 2mm seamless rings, you only ever need to replace the tippet section without eating back up into the main body of the taper, meaning they will last as long as you like.
The image below shows a typical example - the recipe, the leader itself and the labelled-up storage baggie. I knocked four such up this afternoon and they will certainly last me a couple of seasons.
The formula and label come courtesy of a great little spreadsheet called 'Leadercalc2007'. I have mentioned it hereabouts before and still find it an invaluable resource for anyone interested in tying their own. If you feel the urge to spend a few hours practicing your blood knots, then the spreadsheet - along with tons of interesting blurb, can be found here:
Global Flyfisher - Leadercalc2007 download