Fri 10 Jul 2009
Maxima Flourocarbon Leader
In the past when I tried flourocarbon leader I didn’t think it lived up to the hype. It cost more, was more brittle, thicker diameter, so it didn’t get down as quickly and knots broke. The only good things I could say were that it did have more abrasion resistance than regular mono leader and it did not stretch. Now, stretch is something that has its uses, for example, on bites, it absorbs the shock and thus does not break, just stretches a bit. Thus regular leader is cheaper and has its advantages. I use Maxima Perfection in 6, 10, 15 and 20 pound test, the latter for loading my levelwind reels (though more recently I used a 35 pound braided line as my backing, with a 20 foot mono leader and it looks good. I’ll let you know after a full season of testing, if it still looks good).
So I asked Maxima to send me some 6, 10 and 15 pound of their newish flourocarbon. I have to say that I am a believer. The non-stretch puts you right on the fish. The abrasion resistance means the leader lasts a whole lot longer before it needs to be changed, or breaks – losing the fish and fly/lure. It is thinner in diameter than conventional mono leader, so fish don’t see it and it drops with a fly quicker because it does not have the drag of thicker diameter line. And, it is not as brittle as less pricey versions. This means that it holds a knot better than a conventional flourocarbon; however, having said this, I would add that, the Maxima in higher test such as 15 pound and above, I found did not slip down and bind on an Improved Clinch knot as well as Perfection, a non-flourocarbon. Thus, while it was less brittle than cheaper fluorocarbon, the higher test did not like to do knots that are made from winding one line around a straight, standing section. In some cases you can avoid such knots, for example, use a Palomar when tying to a lure, or use figure eight knots rather than blood knots to join two sections of stepped down leader.
So, now, in my opinion, I will use the newish Maxima fluorocarbon rather than conventional mono. It really is a better product.
Splicing Spey Lines – Or Single Hand FlylinesYes, Yes, this is not, technically, an accessory article. You just need to know this.
Spey fly lines are pricey. Unlike simple short trout lines that come in around $25, some Spey lines crowd the $200 mark with tax. Little wonder fishermen are reluctant to purchase them because you can end up with a line that does not match your rod. This happens frequently because there is still no accepted industry standard for saying: a line with X grains in the head is a 7-weight and so on.
Many Spey lines have changeable tips. These are the expensive ones because the tips – a floating, ‘slime line’, intermediate and heavy sink – make the one line serve the place of as many as four fly lines; do note, however, you can convert cheaper single Spey lines to accept tips.
While there are many ways to join two lines together, keep two things in mind: the smaller the loop the less it will hinge; joints need to be smooth so that errant casts do not end up wound around the top joint.
First, take the unsettling step of cutting off the front taper of the line that comes without tips. You need to cut the fly line where it will match up with the tips in your pouch. Over the years one ends up with many, I have two pouches that contain 15 to 20 tips from previous and current lines, from opaque floater to 15 feet of Lead Core 13 – makes a terrible splat on the cast, if it turns over at all.
The place to cut is where the front taper joins the belly of the flyline, that is, where the front taper becomes its largest. I do not use those braided loops anymore because they grind over the rod tip line guide, and because unless they are completely pushed on to the exposed ends, they result in hinging, even though the tip and line may be well matched in other respects. And of course there are shrink-wrap plastics, stretchy plastic sleeves and etc.
I have tried many methods to join flylines and tips over the years, but keep coming back to the simplest, i.e., a loop of less than half an inch in the tag end of line or tip, then secure it with one nail-less nail knot. You can make two knots, but in my experience, one seldom gives way. Coat the knot with cement and, if you wish, wind fly-tying thread around the joint for visibility and smoothness.
When you attach looped ends, get into the practice of putting the top, or in this case, main fly line loop, through the bottom loop, in this case a fly line tip, and then put the tag end of the tip through the loop in the fly line. You will lose fewer tips and leaders when you go to snug them and find that you have just undone the knot and flung the line into the water. Very annoying.
Once you are casting, you can determine whether the tip and line match, that is, are of similar weight. When a tip ‘over-lines’ the
Spey line, you will have trouble getting the line out of the water in preparation for the cast, because the muscle of the rod is too light to lift it. When a tip ‘under-lines’ a rod, it will not turn over and present the fly nicely. Instead, because it has not loaded the rod, the cast dies.
Rio’s Compensator from previous Spey lines, 15 – 20’, can sometimes solve the problems of unmatched tips and fly lines. It comes with two loops, and is added between the line and tip and serves as a ‘taper’.
Get in to the mix and match approach to enhance your casting. It will make you a better angler, and more successful. This is because many anglers use one tip all day even though it doesn’t match the conditions – a Type 12 Loop tip for instance, in low-water summer time flow. They do this because they view changing as a pain. Take the opposite approach and change up a number of times in the day to match the water in front of you. You will understand more about fishing and catch more fish..