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Hand-Tied Leaders for Saltwater Fishing

Posted on April 26 2010

See?  The knots are invisible!  Photo: Louis Cahill
See? The knots are invisible! Photo: Louis Cahill

Today we hear from Bruce Chard – legendary guide in the Florida Keys and teacher of our bonefishing schools at Andros South – about why he prefers hand-tied leaders for fishing on the saltwater flats.

Bruce Chard on Saltwater Leaders

I have seen a lot of leaders break in my days – unfortunately – but I must admit that most of the ones I have seen break have been knotless tapered leaders. I am not a professional mono-filament man but I do know that knotless tapered leaders are heated and run through an extruding machine to get the desired taper and design. To make this process easier the manufacturers use a relatively soft mono.

When fishing on the saltwater flats there is often a good amount of wind to deal with. In my experience a harder, stiffer mono leader is easier to roll out straight into the wind. It is vital for the leader to extend fully for a good presentation and to enable you to move the fly and have complete control right away.

This is why I choose to tie my own leaders with hard mono. I can then taper them as aggressively as I like for the type of fishing I will be doing. I also will then have the confidence that my fly will lay out straight and not collapse as often happens with soft mono knotless leaders.

You might have heard that the knots on knotted leaders spook fish.  If you believe that, I have a number of bridges to sell you!  Besides, learning to tie your own leaders will help build skills – knot tying, leader taper, even on-the-water decision making – that make you a better angler.

More on Gear for the Flats

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