Video Tuesday Tip: How to Tie Your Own 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, ratios, and materials online or in a book, and then build your own!

8 thoughts on “Video Tuesday Tip: How to Tie Your Own Tapered Leader”

  1. How much allowance do you make for tying the knot, trimming free ends at knots, etc., or do you bother? For example, the 1st butt section has a loop knot and a blood knot; each depleting the 4 foot length slightly. This is progressive, with each additional section reducing the section slightly. Thus the 10 foot leader actually is 9′- ?”
    I suppose this really doesn’t affect the performance. I notice your final tippet section is approximately 6″ longer than the 12″ you would expect. Is this to make up for the losses in the other sections?

    1. I have tied my own leaders for years. I was introduced to it by a friend who tied his own leaders.
      After we had been doing it for a number of years, always apart from each other I had the chance to ask your question of my friend. I had set the number at 3 inches of tag end for each piece I connected. When I ask the friend, he said he used 1 inch as his allowance for the needed extra.
      We used and caught fish with our tied leaders and neither seemed to be functioning better or different than the other.
      I would say try and experiment. Set what seems right for you and then be consistent.

  2. Aloha Don
    What we do here in Hawaii when chasing Bonefish, we measure a extra 3 inches onto each section so we keep the 10 or 11 feet leaders close to the chosen length.

    Most Formulas are “Ball park” measurements, I use 4′ #30 to 3′ #20 2′ #15 and 3′ #12 Flouracarbon leaders due to the coral and other jagged edge stuff in our waters. as I change 2 or 3 shrimps and Squibs I just clip and tie a loop knot before changing leaders.

    Since our Bone fish are so skittish a 3 foot tippet(Flouracarbon) is common as not to spook them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *