A new leader – Part One.


New RIO Leaders and tippet.

Foul language that would have made Tarantino’s ears bleed flowed freely from me the first time I tied on a 2mm tippet ring.

The process was not helped by hair like tippet, short tempered old age pig-headedness and Mr. Magoo eyesight.

After giving up and seeking refuge in alcohol several times I decided that the smarterer course of action would be to Google up a video on how it’s done.

What I found was a very sensible man with a soothing English accent calmly explaining how it’s done. Yes, I was not even close, and thank you Simon Gawesworth.

The sanity saving RIO tippet ring video:

RIO 2mm tippet ring

A very close up of the 2mm ring. Don’t drop it stream side.

This whole problem started a couple weeks ago when RIO sent me a little care package of their new Powerflex Plus leaders, tippet and 2mm tippet rings to try. First thought was, thank you very much, but the Maxima stuff I’ve been using for at least 30 years for my trout fishing has been just fine and has proved more than worthy of my hound like loyalty.

Then again, thinking about how much fly lines have improved over that same period, maybe it’s time to try something new ?

I’d had a couple of sabbaticals to other leaders in the past, though they always ended up being brief because the small stream, particularly in NZ, soon sorts the help from the hype.

First impressions are that the new stuff is MUCH finer at the same breaking strain than I expected or can even believe possible – clearly the game has moved on over the years.

The 6x is 4 lbs and still thinner and more supple then my skinniest 2 lbs. Maxima and the 7x at 2.75 lbs. is like hair. (Not that I would know what hair’s like.)

In reality, the 5x at 6 lbs. would probably be fine enough for general small stream fishing anywhere.

Time will tell how tough it is, but surely, being this supple, the new stuff will have benefits in fly presentation, and as thin as it is, it must surely let a nymph sink faster ?

RIO Powerflex Plus 7x tippet

The 7x is very, very fine for 2.75 lbs.

In switching over, I first have to determine what leaders to use.

For my Perception 3 weight line, I’m going to start with the 7’6 5x leader with 2 – 4 feet of 6x tippet.

I’ve been using 9’ 4x Maxima leaders and cutting off a couple feet of butt section for small stream stuff and that’s largely worked well, though comparing the two different set-ups, I have to wonder how much drag the stiffer mono is giving me on the short total leader length I regularly use in the tight water.

I’ve had rare days on stream, when the fish were fussy and this could very well have slowed me down.

For the 4 weight, I’ll go up to 4x in 9 feet to allow for some larger hopper flies on longer tippets, and also the possibility of fishing big running water or the lake on an evening rise.

Again, with a little jump down to 5x tippet, this still feels fine enough for picky risers and at 6 lbs. should still be solid enough for bigger fish.

RIO 2mm Tippet rings.

Left on the swivel, these are fairly easy to tie on. Off of it ? Forget it.

The tippet rings, despite early frustrations, strike me as a good idea because I might try actually changing tippets occasionally to suit the water, rather than just blast through with the same old whatever.

I can also see them being useful for changing tippet diameters or even switching to one of the new, very fine fluorocarbon tippets for sinking a nymph in deep water, or going finer and longer for a fussy little dry without constantly shortening the leader through cutting bits off.

Lastly, adding a dry fly to make a quick dropper rig should be pretty easy, (he said with great confidence..).

The tippet spools are all inter-locking and are clearly marked on the retaining band so you can quickly find what you’re after if you use some sort of tippet stack. I’ve arranged them in my vest in pairs and now carry from 4x to 7x Powerflex Plus and 4X and 7X spools of Fluroflex Plus flurocarbon to test for nymphing.

The leaders, sold in twin packs, come with loops, and while I don’t use loop to loop connections on my light trout stuff, I can see them being very useful for people new to fly fishing and knots, or for someone who makes a lot of changes.

So with leaders, tippet, and rings now all rigged and ready, I’m going to give the new set-up a thorough work-out over the next few weeks and see how it goes.

I’ll be looking out for wear & tear, line twist and general strength as well as assessing the various tippet strengths over several types of water.

Stand by for part 2. Hopefully swearing will be kept to a minimum !

Continue to part two:

Meanwhile checkout more fly fishing gear reviews from twigwater.com:

Rio Leaders Page:

RIO Video’s pages:

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