The choice of the leader depends on the taste of the fisherman who will use it, there are three types: knotted, conical and braided. The leader is of paramount importance to the fly fisherman because it is the one that projects and subjects our fly and therefore must be at all times balanced and proportioned for the type of fishing that we wish to practice. This will depend a lot of our success.


The knotted leader is the one usually made by the fisherman by tying pieces of fishing thread in different diameters ranging from high to low. This will start with a piece of fishing thread of 50 or 45 in diameter and will end in a 20 or a 12 in diameter depending on the fly or the technique of fishing that employs. This is perhaps one of the most used leader and, once obtained the coils of thread of different diameters, the most economic of all.

Its construction is quite easy. It will begin with a fishing line of 50 or 45 in diameter to progressively descend from numbering until we reach the terminal of the line bass that we will finalize in a thread much thinner than at the beginning where we will tie our fly when we use it in fishing action. We will start with a 50 gauge thread about 50cm or so. At the beginning of this if we use connectors for our fishing line we will make a loop to tie it without damaging the leader to the connector. The best knot to make a loop that is completely straight with the rest of the fishing thread is the PERFECT LOOP.

Then tie another piece of nylon to the previous, this time 40% of the same length or slightly lower, with a barrel knot or surgeon (there are others also, but these are the most used and work perfectly) to continue tying with 30% of the same length or slightly lower than the previous one. We continue to attach another piece of tippet, this time a 25% also of the same length or slightly lower, continuing with a 20-hundredths of 50cm and tying this one 18 hundredths or a 17 hundredths also of the same length to finish with th end of the leader that in this case will be 15 hundredths of a meter and a half in length, where later in fishing action we tie our fly. This bass will have a total length of 4.5 meters, enough to fish with dry fly or nymph.

Summing up: 15% 18% + 150cm 25% + 50cm 50% + 50cm 50% + 50cm 50% + 50cm 50% + 50cm Total length 450cm, 4.5mts.

This leader stretches perfectly and fall down delicately on the water, could be called in this case pilot leader or standard leader.

If we want to fish with a very fine fishing leader in the ending for example a 12% we must make a modification in the previous bass. The 12% of final diameter and 150cm of length will not pose easily in water tied to a thin tippet of 15% of the same length. We will simply carry 300cm of fine wire in the ending and the fishing wire diameters of the remaining leader will not have enough power to easily stretch our leader in the water and therefore we will have poor or complicated submissions to stretch these 300cm of leader end. Therefore we must shorten the 15 h so that it is only a decreasing extension of the previous 18% tippet. We will shorten therefore 15% and leave only about 30 cm of this to tie 150cm of the 12% that will be our leader end.

This we have only seen is a good example in the construction of a knotted bass. There are many variants depending on the tastes and needs of each fisherman. For example if we want a very balanced and very long leader we can tie the fishing tippet lowering by 5 in diameter, that is to say first 50% then 45% then 40% continuing with 35% and 30% finally finish the leader in the same way as the one outlined above. This leader would have a total length of 550 cm or 5.5 m. This length can also be achieved (without making as many knots) by simply lengthening to 70 cm in the knotted sections instead of the previous 50 cm.

The major defect of knotted leader is precisely the knots, which are many, and in rivers populated with aquatic vegetation, tend to stick bits of grass or algae in the conjunctions between diameters of fishing line.

Leader can be INCREASING or DECREASING. They are DECREASING those leaders that the lengths of tied tippet tend to decrease as the leader progresses to finally end with the final stretch of tippet with which one wishes to fish. They are like the one we just saw and made. This decreasing leader is the most used by most fishermen to fly and the one that more easily projects, stretches and delicate presentation in the water, well if the dry fly or nymph is fished.

The INCREASING leader is the leader that is designed to make very delicate fly presentation and especially suitable for fishing semi stopped or standing waters or calm and crystal clear waters where discretion and some elusive and unwanted fish that are difficult to catch. These are very long leaders.
To make it we can do it starting the same as the leader previously explained starting with 70cm of 50%, then 70cm of 40% and continuing with 70cm of 30%. From here is where we will INCREASE our leader. We will next tie 80cm from 25% then 90cm from 20% continuing with 100cm from 18% to finish with 200cm from 15%. This will give a total length of 670cm this is 6.7 m total length.

For the construction and making our leader you must use a tippet that does not twist too much for our leader to stretch and lay down with ease. The most widely used and common of all and the world is the MAXIMA monofilament that is tremendously known, but there are other brands like STROFT that also fulfill to perfection.

~ Carles Vivé