Leaders for Fly Fishing
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Leaders for Fly Fishing

Leaders for Fly Fishing

Leaders for Fly Fishing - click to enlarge

Leaders for Fly Fishing

Leaders for Fly Fishing

Leaders, for fly fishing and for use with bait at times are made of metal or of silkworm gut, depending on what use is to be made of them. Those for trout, bass and salmon are always made of silkworm gut.

This is really a product of the silkworm. Most of it comes from Murcia, Spain, but some comes from Italy. It is made from the substance that the silk is made from, but it is taken from the body of the worm before he spins his cocoon from which we make silk. This raw product is found in a little sack and sack and contents are drawn out into a thread a foot or more in length, and allowed to harden. The sack is then removed and a strand of silkworm gut remains; a hard, semi-transparent and very strong substance. It goes through a bleaching and polishing process before it is ready for use, and some of it is drawn through holes in metal plates, like wire, to make it an even thickness and of equal strength. Nearly all of the fine, light-weight gut is drawn this way. Undrawn gut is not treated this way.

The leaders are made by tying these pieces together into lengths of three, six, or nine feet, with loops at the ends for attaching line and snelled hook. There are single gut leaders for light fishing and double gut leaders for heavier work. The double or treble gut leaders are generally twisted. If more than one thickness of gut is used it is better twisted as twisting equalizes the strain. Six and nine-foot leaders are now made mostly of three-foot lengths looped together and the loops make good places to attach dropper flies without tying additional loops to the leader. The loops are shoved open, the end of the snell passed through, and the loops drawn tight again. There must be a knot on the end of the snell.

Single gut leaders only are used for trout fishing and unless the fish are very large the lighter weight will answer, is really best, especially for lake fishing. For streams where there is always more or less motion to the water a heavier leader may be used, and as the leader is subjected to a greater strain in stream fishing it must be strong. It should be of even thickness from end to end, though for lake fishing they are sometimes tapered so that they fall more lightly on the water. Some leader makers, in order to get longer spaces between knots, use the light, inferior ends. As the strength of a chain is gauged by the strength of its weakest link, so also a leader is just as strong as its weakest spot; and of course there should be no weak spots. It should be round and transparent, of equal thickness throughout, and without kinks, frayed or split spots or blemishes of any kind.

For salmon the heaviest nine-foot single leaders should be used. For bass the leader should be three or six feet, heavy single, or light twisted double gut. An amateur needs a stronger leader than an expert.

Gut leaders are sometimes stained to a bluish or yellowish color, but it is doubtful whether this makes them any better or less conspicuous and many anglers believe that the coloring weakens the gut.

Brooks, Lake. The Science of Fishing. Columbus, OH: A.R. Harding, 1912. Print.

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