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Advanced Leader Size Charts

Please note: these charts are intended for use as reference by experienced anglers constructing their own tapered Leaders from scratch. We would recommend that beginners head over to our  Tippet & Leader product page where you can purchase knotless tapered Leaders in sizes 4X, 5X and 6X.

These charts are probably best used together with our article on making your own Leader & Tippet which includes some advice on knots also. If you need an explanation of the X system for line diameter then you’ll find that here

71/2 Foot Leaders

Each column in this table shows the length and the diameter of the different lengths of line material required to build your own seven and a half foot long Leader and Tippet, given in inches. Remember that Leaders are rated on the X scale based on the thinnest part of the line, so the column headings are the diameter of the end of the line closest to the fly: your Tippet.

For example: let’s say you want to build your own seven and a half foot line tapering to 0X (or 0.011 of a inch thickness). In the 0X column, start at the bottom and work your way up: you will need an 18 inch length of 0.0011 diameter line, then nine inches of 0.012 diameter, nine inches of 0.013 diameter, and so on all the way to the ‘butt’ of the line.

0X 1X 2X 3X 4X
24″ – .019″ 24″ – .019″ 24″ – .019″ 24″ – .019″ 24″ – .019″
16″ – .017″ 16″ – .017″ 16″ – .017″ 16″ – .017″ 16″ – .017″
14″ – .015″ 14″ – .015″ 14″ – .015″ 14″ – .015″ 14″ – .015″
9″ – .013″ 9″ – .013″ 9″ – .013″ 6″ – .013″ 6″ – .013″
9″ – .012″ 9″ – .012″ 9″ – .012″ 6″ – .011″ 6″ – .011″
18″ – .011″ 18″ – .010″ 18″ – .009″ 6″ – .009″ 6″ – .009″
      18″ – .009″ 18″ – .007″

9 Foot Leaders

The principle here is exactly the same as explained for seven and a half feet (above).

0X 1X 2X 3X 4X 5X*
36″ – .021″ 36″ – .021″ 36″ – .021″ 36″ – .021″ 36″ – .021″ 36″ – .021″
16″ – .019″ 16″ – .019″ 16″ – .019″ 16″ – .019″ 16″ – .019″ 16″ – .019″
12″ – .017″ 12″ – .017″ 12″ – .017″ 12″ – .017″ 12″ – .017″ 12″ – .017″
8″ – .015″ 8″ – .015″ 8″ – .015″ 6″ – .015″ 6″ – .015″ 6″ – .015″
8″ – .013″ 8″ – .013″ 8″ – .013″ 6″ – .013″ 6″ – .013″ 6″ – .013″
8″ – .012″ 8″ – .012″ 8″ – .011″ 6″ – .011″ 6″ – .011″ 6″ – .011″
20″ – .011″ 20″ – .010″ 20″ – .009″ 6″ – .009″ 6″ – .009″ 6″ – .009″
      20″ – .008″ 20″ – .007″ 6″ – .007″
          20″ – .006″

12 Foot Leaders

As explained above: do note that for these longer lines we do not recommend a Tippet thinner than 4X.

4X 5X 6X 7X*
36″ – .021″ 36″ – .021″ 36″ – .021″ 28″ – .021″
24 – .019″ 24 – .019″ 24 – .019″ 18″ – .019″
16″ – .017″ 16″ – .017″ 16″ – .017″ 16″ – .017″
12″ – .015″ 12″ – .015″ 12″ – .015″ 14″ – .015″
7″ – .013″ 7″ – .013″ 7″ – .013″ 12″ – .013″
7″ – .011″ 7″ – .011″ 7″ – .011″ 7″ – .011″
7″ – .009″ 7″ – .009″ 7″ – .009″ 7″ – .009″
7″ – .008″ 7″ – .008″ 7″ – .007″ 7″ – .007″
28″ – .007″ 28″ – .007″ 28″ – .005″ 7″ – .005″
      28″ – .004″

4X George Harvey Style Leader

George Harvey first fished from necessity, as a young boy helping to feed his family, catching fish using a home-made rod and reel. A pioneer and innovator, he was also a much-respected ambassador for fly fishing. He remained an active angler, thought leader and educator until very close to his death at the age of 96 in 2008. His style of Leader roughly follows the 60/20/20 formula explained here but uses slightly different materials.

The intention is to cast a line that does not sit straight, but instead lies on the water in a series of gentle curves and even loops. These curves mean that the Leader has built-in ‘give’ which allows the fly to drift and gradually straighten the line without the need to touch rod or reel: the curves simply straighten out on the water as the fly drags the whole line ever-straighter and more tense. All of this happens without any noticeable movement in the line.

Diameter Nylon Length
.017″ Hard 10″
.015″ Hard 20″
.013″ Hard 20″
.011″ Hard 20″
.009″ Soft 12″
.008″ Soft 18″
.007″ Soft 22″

5X George Harvey Style Leader

Diameter Nylon Length
.017″ Hard 10″
.015″ Hard 20″
.013″ Hard 20″
.009″ Hard 12″
.008″ Soft 12″
.007″ Soft 18″
.005″ Soft 22″ – 30″

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