Leader, tippet proportions to fly size | PostIndependent.com

Leader, tippet proportions to fly size

Will Sands
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Over the years, we have encountered many frustrated anglers who cannot figure out why fish continually refuse their flies.

Individuals often drop in, complaining that numerous fish would inspect their particular fly pattern and refuse it.

They tell us that they changed flies several times, that the fish would inspect the offering and, 95 percent of the time, swim off.

These annoying occurrences happen often while dry fly fishing or sight nymphing.

The fact that you are getting refusals lends us to believe that the “drift” is quite good.

All that is needed is a lighter tippet size in most circumstances.

Typically, if your fly is being refused at the last moment, the trout likes what is being seen from a distance.

However, with closer inspection, there are three major things that cause trout to refuse a fly. First is micro drag, second is using a fly that is one size too big or too small, and finally, the fisherman may be using too large a tippet.

Micro drag is a slight imperfection in your presentation caused by small subtleties during the drift. Usually, only the most selective fish notice micro drag.

Most anglers try different size flies most of the time in their efforts to figure out what will make the fish strike. However, when an angler changes flies and fish consistently refuse the offering, the problem can be attributed to too large a tippet diameter in most cases.

The simple solution is to drop down in tippet diameter. Sometimes dropping down by one size is enough, while other situations may require dropping down several sizes.

Tippet size is influenced by several factors, including the size of the fly, water clarity, water speed and temperament of your quarry.

Generally, the larger the fly, the larger the tippet can be.

Heavy, fast or discolored water usually enables you to use slightly heavier tippets than if conditions are low and clear.

You will also encounter fish that can be leader-shy on more heavily fished waters where the trout are more selective and cautious.

With these thoughts in mind, you need to adjust your tippet accordingly.

You may be able to fish a size 12 green drake tied to a 4X leader on a big freestone river like the Roaring Fork, while you will need to size down to a 6X leader when fishing that same fly on a tailwater like the Fryingpan.

– This report is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at (970) 927-4374 or taylorcreek.com.

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