A lot of anglers, including myself, sometimes get confused on which size leaders to tie onto their fly line. Rather than using standard numbers that most anglers are able to understand, such as pound test, fly leaders come in ratings, or #X, depending on the pound test they are able to handle. When it comes to fly fishing for bass, there are only a few sizes that you need to concern yourself with, and the size that you choose greatly depends on where you’re going to be fishing, as well as the type of structure you are going to have your flies around. Take a look at the 4 main sizes that I keep with me when I head out to the water. When you’re ready to purchase, you can pick up all of the sizes by clicking here, for $7.95.
1X – 1X leaders are built to handle big fish. On average, 1X leaders are rated to withstand 13.5 pounds of pressure, which can be either the fish on a completely tightened drag, or the fish and your drag pressure. If you are going to be fishing around heavy cover, you are going to want to make sure that you have a 1X leader tied on to prevent breaking off and losing your flies, or injuring fish that may still have the flies stuck in their mouths.
2X – A 2X leader is what I typically use when I’m fishing around weed beds, or lily pads for largemouth bass. These leaders are designed to withstand between 11 and 12 pounds of force. For most fishing situations, you are either not going to encounter fish that big, or you, when coupled with your drag, are not going to be applying that much pressure to get them to come up to the surface. This size of leader is great for flipping over heavy bass bugs while still maintaining lifelike movements.
3X – 3X leaders are better when you are going after big panfish and smaller bass. The leaders are designed to withstand between 8 and 9 pounds of force, which is still more than most drags on your fly reel will be able to provide. If you are downsizing your flies, or you know that there are only smaller fish in the waters, lighten up your drag and tie on a 3X leader.
4X – 4X leaders have the smallest diameter out of all the different sizes covered here, and are not designed for catching large fish, such as heavy largemouth and smallmouth bass. Rather, these leaders are designed around the same diameter, and strength as 6 pound test line. If you are fishing in clear, open waters with smaller flies, and the fish are on the smaller end, you can get away tying on a 4X leader.
Remember, when you’re ready to purchase, you can pick up all of the sizes by clicking here, for $7.95. Until next time, tight lines from BassFlyFishing.net!