For a beginning fly fisher, the wall of packaged leaders in a fly shop can be intimidating. How do you decide which length you need? In this video, Dave Lovell of Trouts Fly Fishing in Denver, Colorado, offers a quick breakdown.
One thing that Dave doesn’t mention is that, if you want to make your leaders last longer, you can add tippet to the leader as soon as it comes out of the package. That way, as you use up tippet by changing flies or cutting “wind knots,” you are not shortening the leader until it’s too thick at the end. So, if you want to fish a 9-foot 5X leader, for instance, you can buy a 7½-foot 4X leader and add 18 inches of 5X tippet to it. When the tippet starts getting short, you simply replace that part, leaving the leader intact.