Building Leaders

In my last post, I mention that I have been building leaders.  This is something that I have been doing for a while.  As a novice angler, I spent a lot of time trying to work on my casting abilities and spent as much time on the water that I could.  In doing this, I went through many leaders, most of which ended up in a giant ball of knots.  This began to be a problem.  My biggest problem is that I could not afford to be buying leader after leader.  What was I to do?

A good friend of mine explained to me that he ties his own leader, and it is very simple.   He showed me how to tie a blood knot, perfection loop, and explained measuring.  For a tapered leader, you will be using different diameters of monofilament or fluorocarbon. For good connections and an even taper, it is best to measure your line with calipers and never attach two pieces of line that have more than four thousandths difference in diameter.  I have attached a link to Orvis’s knot animations to show you how to tie a blood knot and perfection loop.

Knot Animations

When measuring lines, I use an old pair of calipers.  You can get digital calipers that are easy to use at most hardware stores or lumber yards (Lowes, Menards, etc.).  I was given a recipe for the lengths and diameters to use for one leader that I used for the majority of my smallmouth fishing.  I have also included the charts that can be found on the Hook and Hackle Company’s website (

Hook and Hackle Leader Charts







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