Video: How to Tie Your Own 10-foot 4X Tapered Leader

Tim Flagler of Tightline Productions knows about more than fly tying. Although we love posting his step-by-step tying videos every Wednesday, we are equally excited about this lesson on building a tapered trout leader.

Sure, the vast majority of anglers buy knotless, tapered leaders, creating your own is a skill every fly fisher should master. Aside from the fact that you can create custom leaders to match specific fly-fishing situations, knowing how to knot up your own will come in handy should you ever find yourself without a knotless leader—say you dropped you boat bag in the river, for example.

In his tried-and-true style, Tim explains every step in the process and shows you exactly how to proceed. Like all his videos, this one contains skills that you can extrapolate to other leaders. Look up the dimensions, rations, and materials online or in a book, and then build your own!

7 thoughts on “Video: How to Tie Your Own 10-foot 4X Tapered Leader”

  1. Very nice! I still build my own leaders for nymphing and prefer them over store bought leaders. The challenge I have when using Maxima is that the diameter shown on the spool might vary up or down by as much as .003 of an inch. Which means you might think you are stepping down in size but in reality you may be joining two pieces of leader material that are the same diameter. So you just need to be careful. I wish Orvis would re-introduce it’s leader building kit, but I doubt if that will ever happen.

  2. I think it would be great if Orvis did bring the leader kits back, including a kit for Mirage leader/tippet material. A kit in Mirage would be ideal because it is my understanding that fluorocarbon has an indefinite shelf life.

  3. 10 foot 4x leader is the most useful in my opinion. Add a couple feet of 6x and you have a decent 12 footer. Cut it back to 2 or 3 x for a good streamer leader. I tie a couple dozen 9 and 10 foot 4x leaders every season.

  4. I use 7 1/2 ft 3x Rio flouro. and then put on a tippet ring and then add my tippet. If I want a longer leader I start with 9 ft and then add a tippet ring. It works well for my and particularly nymphing. Also you could start with a 4x leader and go down to a 6x with a tippet ring. I have found the less knots the less weeks you pick up. Also I don’t like to jump down more than .002 per transitional piece for the tippet.

  5. Excellent video and I have seen it many times before… I started fly fishing 15 yrs ago and never really jumped in the water. Now I am back fishing,tying and tying my own leaders. I don’t see how anyone can get the superior performance from a store bought tapered leader… I tried and was never satisfied.. I bought my reels of line and worked off formulas on the web then branched out to meet my own casting needs.. No one cast the same and I believe that difference needs specific leaders… I never was a nymph fisherman and quite recently started.. It was the hardest leader to get down path for my casting using a 6 wt rod with a 2 nymph rig…Once I adjusted the leaders my nymph fishing has become enjoyable and productive…Building your own leaders really helps..

  6. Way too complicated! Use 3 leader sizes(eg.30#,15 or 20#, & 4-6# test Maxima).
    Biggest takeaway is to use stiff heavy butt of ~60%. Avoid loops and excessive number of knots in order to minimize trash accumulation by bulkiness of knots.
    Blood knot everything.

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