At a Glance: Fly Leaders

FishUSA offers RIO, Scientific Anglers, Cortland, Maxima, and Orvis leaders. We stock leaders across an extensive array of lengths, butt, and tippet diameters for trout, steelhead, salmon, warm water, saltwater, dry fly, wet fly, and nymphing applications.

Fly leaders come in 7 1/2, 9, and 12-foot lengths and are knotless in design, tapering from a larger butt diameter to a smaller tippet diameter over the length of the leader. These leaders' make-up consists of either monofilament, copolymer, or fluorocarbon material. Mono leaders, made from nylon, are supple in nature and have a greater 'knotability" factor over fluoro leaders. Mono leader sections with their near neutral buoyancy also make them a terrific choice to fish dries or the types of fly that suspend just below the surface. Some trout anglers prefer the combined suppleness and strength of copolymer leaders for small or medium-sized flies to catch large fish. Fluoro leaders, however, are especially effective with line-shy fish in clear water because of their near invisibility. They are denser, sink faster, and have a higher abrasion resistance than mono, which is excellent for nymphing and fishing around heavy cover. For those fishing with Euro nymph fly rods, specialty leaders with colored sections can be seen easily as a “strike indicator."

Butt section diameters (the end that loops to the fly line) vary from .017 to .026 inches, depending upon fly line size, and from 0X (.011 in. diameter) to 7X (.004 in.) “tippet” diameter. Breaking strengths, butt and tip diameters, and length are determined by the fly line and species to be targeted, which are marked on the package and FishUSA product pages. As you tie on flies repeatedly and cut the tippet section of the leader over and over, you eventually wind up with a shorter leader. To prolong the life of your leader, get a spooled tippet (0X to 7X depending on leader design) and connect 18 to 24 in. of tippet material to the leader. Leader and tippet sized to match allow you to return to fishing with a longer leader.

We also offer Maxima monofilament and fluorocarbon leader spools for tying your knotted, tapered leaders.