Fly Fishing for Coastal Gamefish
Q. Do you have a specific leader that you use for each different gamefish?
A. To some extent, yes, but where I am fishing and the fishing conditions are also major factors in my leader selection. My standard bonefish leader is 9’ with a 12 pound tippet, but I’ll lengthen the leader and maybe go down as far as 8 pound test when fishing in calm conditions in shallow water. Interestingly, I used this same leader system when fishing for striped bass on the shallow sand flats of Cape Cod during summer, when the fish could be pretty spooky. But when fishing along the surf or during the fall feeding frenzies by stripers and bluefish, I often shortened the leader to six to eight feet with 20 pound tippet. I fish a 9 foot leader when sight fishing for snook along Florida’s beaches, but may change to a single, six-foot piece of 30 pound test mono leader when casting along mangroves for snook. For tailing redfish I usually use a six foot leader with 15 or 20 pound tippet. The redfish are usually so involved in feeding that a long leader is not necessary, and a short leader is easier to cast accurately.
The Fisherman's Coast approach focuses on how coastal gamefish interact with their habitats and prey. The more you know about the gamefish you pursue with a fly rod, the more often you'll be in the right place at the right time with the right fly making the right presentation. It's about catching more fish.
Our sister site Tribal Bonefish is all about conservation through responsible fishing. Tribal Bonefish shows you how to become a better steward of our coasts to protect our fisheries today, and ensure future generations get a chance to experience these fisheries.