Stagger Your Leader Taper

Stagger Your Taper

I make up steep-taper leaders for dry flies with a 3lb and 5lb tippet, but if I tie lengths of more than 10ft I get wind knots and tangles. How do I overcome these problems?
Paul Jones

Hywel Morgan replies: The problem you have when making up the longer lengths is the tippet material is not thick enough to carry the loop all the way to the fly. This can close up the loop, resulting in wind knots or a tangled mess.

Firstly, you could use stronger material at the butt end so that it gives you better turnover and you will need less of the 3lb at the tip. Why not taper 10lb then 8lb down to your 5lb and 3lb?

Personally, I prefer to use a shop-bought tapered leader so that there are no knots, which gives better transfer of power from the line down to the fly, and then I add on a length of 3lb on the end. This way you only have one knot in your cast so there is less chance of hook-ups when casting.

Reprinted with permission of Trout Fisherman magazine.