Well, There's Your Problem
I've been tying my own tapered leaders for a long time
now. I use the blood knot to piece together the different
lengths of leader material. I guess I started doing this
(instead of buying tapered knotless leaders) to save some
By Chris Chin, Bay Comeau, Quebec, Canada
Later, I learned how to adjust my leaders to better suit
specific casting and fishing conditions, as well as
different casting styles.
Drop into any fly fishing discussion on hand tied leaders
and the question will often come up, "Doesn't the knot make
a weak spot in the leader?"
Hmm,...a true source of anxiety.
You see, I make all our leaders...for the family, to give
away to visitors as well as for clients. Several friends
have gone back to level leaders of 20 or 30 lb mono after
losing salmon in the past (when one of their knots failed).
I'm always a bit concerned about leaders failing, especially
This past season, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet
Angela and Carl Lions. We were on the tail end of the Atlantic
salmon season so they had high hopes of hitting the second part
of sea run trout season (the juvenile trout that come into the
river in hordes starting in September). Since the salmon season
wasn't closed yet, there was still a fighting chance to connect
to a salmon too.
After a first day of trout fishing and a long second day of
dropping in and out of various trout holes, we settled into
the #23 for a mix of adult and juvenile trout as well as
Carl would be casting over salmon, while Angela tried for
trout. I strung up a salmon rod for him. We were a bit
rushed to get down into the pool, so I left the old leader
on the line and quickly attached a new 8 lb tippet. This
particular leader had already landed a half a dozen salmon
Carl set up quickly at the head of the run while I waded
down to the tail with Angela. We had just started to get
her casts out and over to the pod of bruisers in the seam
when I looked up to see Carl's rod fully loaded over...fly
line pointed straight out 40 feet to a thrashing boil of
very unhappy salmon!
I waded out of the pool as quickly as I could and sprinted
up the beach. Carl was new to big fish and had a severely
tight line. I looked down for an instant in order to scramble
over a few boulders. When I looked up again, all I saw was
Carl's fly line lobbing back towards him...he had broken off.
A sinking feeling of dread dove directly into my heart.
Had the leader given up the ghost?
As I walked the last several yards to Carl, I could see
him inspecting the fly. Oh well, ... if the fly was still
there, at least the leader must still be intact.
Carl holds up the #14 double salmon fly (actually an
bomination of a Doc Sprately)...I can see that BOTH
hook points have been broken off.
I quietly mention "Well there's Yer problem."
The hook still had a bend, ...enough to hold the salmon
for several minutes.
Quality salmon hooks are very strong and aren't prone
to being straightened out. They are a bit "brittle" though.
A wayward back cast into the rocks can easily bust off the
points of a hook.
Just a little reminder to inspect your fly often and to
"Keepeth thy back cast uppeth." ~ Christopher Chin - Bay Comeau, Quebec
Chris Chin is originally from Kamloops,
British Columbia. He has been fly fishing
on and off ever since he was 10 years old.
Chris became serious about the sport within
the last 10 years.
"I'm a forest engineer by day and part time
guide on the Ste-Marguerite River here in
central Quebec. I've been fishing this river
for about 10 years now and started guiding
about 5 years ago when the local guide's
association sort of stopped functioning."
Chris guides mostly for sea run brook trout
and about 30% of the time for Atlantic Salmon.
"I often don't even charge service fees, as
I'm more interested in promoting the river
than making cash. I like to get new comers
to realize that salmon fishing is REALLY for
anyone who cares to try it. Tradition around
here makes some of the old clan see Salmon
fishing as a sport for the rich. Today our
shore lunches are less on the cucumber sandwich
side and more toward chicken pot pie and Jack
Chris is 42 years old as of this writing. He
is of Chinese origin although his parents were
born and raised in Jamaica. He has a girlfriend,
Renée. "She and her 12 year old son Vincent
started fly fishing with me in October 2002."
To learn more about the Ste-Marguerite River,
Our Man In Canada Archives