Big Flies Short Leaders

Mike Visintainer - 05/31/16

Gypsy King by Michael Visintainer

A shorter solution

Often, a 9' tapered leader will work perfect for the average fishing situation. We live in the west though and find ourselves fishing stoneflies, chernobyls, hoppers, and big dry/dropper rigs most of the time. Fishing large dry flies, or two-fly rigs, can be challenging for a couple reasons. These styles of flies are more wind resistant and harder to turnover.

If you fish big dry / dropper rigs, or flies like chubby chernobyls, a shorter leader can make the experience much more enjoyable. Just by using a 7.5' leader you do two things:

  1. Improved turnover
  2. Improved accuracy
Big Foam Fly Patterns

If you don't have a shorter leaders with you, clip some tippet off the front end and/or a small piece off the butt section. You don't have to get too crazy with this. The leader still needs a solid butt section, mid, and tippet section so you don't want to change the formula of the leader a ton. Cutting 6" off each section can help tremendously. It doesn't need to be an exact science, you could cut back a little more if you so choose to.

This theory can also help with nymphing rigs. Two nymph rigs can cast a little easier when you shorten things up. Now that's not always a good idea, some water types you need the longer leader to help get the fly deeper. When that's not necessary though a shorter leader allows you to add a piece of tippet to the end which also provides a nice place for you split shot to rest against and not slide into the fly.

If you find yourself struggling wind resistant flies, try the shorter leader. Remember though, this is not gospel, there are times when a longer leader is necessary even with big flies just for stealth advantages. Play around with it and see how some small tweaks can work for you.

Fly Fishing Rigging Tip - Big Flies... Shorter Leaders