Here’s a handy tip from RiverBum.com.
Don’t have the time or the inclination to make your own leaders? Then do what Club member Rodney Adams recommends – buy pre-made ones. It’s easier. Some even have a loop on the end.
When building your own you generally construct the leader stepping down to your final diameter. You might go a couple of feet of 1X, down to 3X, down to 5X and then to 6X. A lot of guys will skip a diameter in the thicker range and then step one down as they get closer to their final desired diameter.
But there’s a common mistake that many anglers make when using tapered leaders. They tie the fly directly to the leader. Why is this a problem, well it’s not if you never change your fly. But we do…. don’t we? Some of us more than we should!
Every time you change your fly, your tapered leader gets a little bit shorter… and thicker. What was once fine 6X at the end after several changes is a 4X rope in the water. If you just throw on some tippet, you could be way out of balance.
The easy way around this is to simply just tie on some tippet to the end of your leader and then your first fly. The tippet will shorten with each fly change. No big deal. As you get closer to your surgeon’s knot and the tippet gets too short, just replace the tippet. You set up will stay in balance, you won’t be checking a rope by the end of the day, and your leader will last longer!