Odds 'n' Sods of Information and Opinion

Leaders on sinkers

It’s a simple thing, but I’m surprised more people don’t use the technique - putting long leaders on sinking lines. As long as the fly sinks as fast or faster than the sinking line, then the leader can be any length you like. The fly will always run at or below the level of the line.

When I got into fly fishing in 1969, I bought a level floater and a level sinking line for my fishing. I was bothered by the idea of that thick brown sinking line being dragged through the water and over the fish, so through instinct more than anything else, I started with long leaders in the 8’ to 10’ range. Usually they were level mono pulled off of one of my spinning reels. My flies were store bought streamers like the Black Ghost and they sank like rocks so I never had an issue getting the fly down. My first fish on a fly, a smallie, came on this exact rig.

The long leader separates the dark fly line from the fly and prevents the line from appearing as a threat to the fish. I’ve watched fish be pushed out of a run by a low swinging line, so yes it happens. Some fish don’t seem to care about the line and that’s fine, but I prefer to give the fish as few reasons as possible to reject my fly. If putting a few extra feet of leader helps that cause, I’ll do it.