Pre-made tapered fly fishing leaders are a great way to start out as you build on your fly fishing basics.
What is a Tapered Fly Fishing Leader?
A fly fishing leader is the nearly invisible line between the heavier fly fishing line and the fly. A tapered leader is designed to transfer energy to the fly and also help present the fly in a more lifelike manner.
They are tapered down in thickness, and vary in length from 7-1/2 to 15 feet long, with many different lengths to choose from.
Most tapered leaders are designed to go with a 5- or 6-weight line so if you are using a heavier or lighter fly line you may need to tie your own.
Check out our guide to hand tying your own leaders below.
If you have read our page on fly rods you will remember that we recommend a 5-weight rod as a good weight to go with as your first fly rod. This makes these tapered leaders a good fit.
Check out our fly rod buying guide below.Tie Your Own Leader Best Fly Rod Guide
Benefits of Knotless Tapered Leaders
There are many benefits to a pre-made leader.
• There is a good transfer of energy from the fly line to the fly.
• The perfection loop is already tied, making it a lot faster to change leaders.
• They are durable.
• There are no knots to tie.
Fly Fishing Leader Material
Most pre-made tapered fly fishing leaders are monofilament, which is a good choice, but more leaders are becoming available in fluorocarbon. Fluorocarbon is a new synthetic material that is nearly invisible in water. It is more expensive than monofilament and it is more resistant to abrasion. The jury is still out on whether it is worth the extra cost.
If you are new to trout fly fishing, monofilament should work just fine for everything you will be doing.
Which Length Leader Should You Use?
If fly fishing in small trout streams you would use a short leader about 6 feet long. If the streams were 15 to 20 feet wide you would use a leader from 7-1/2 to 9 feet long. If fly fishing lakes with floating lines, in low clear streams, or fishing very small flies you would use a 12-foot leader.
Always check your leader regularly. Wind knots and abrasion from the rubbing on rocks will weaken it. Your casting instructor will tell you that wind knots are more of a problem with your casting than with the wind.Fly Casting Guide