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By ben_beyer
I've been doing some Freshwater fly fishing and I'm hoping to cast at a few Redfish this year as I expand to Saltwater. I have some size 2 spoons I tied myself and a couple flies I picked up at the Houston Fishing Show primarily in size 2 (1 fly is size 4).

Would 16 lbs. leaders cut down to 7.5' or hand tied using a recipe/formula be a good all around setup or do I need to go smaller or bigger?

My fly rod is a TFO Mini Mag 6-8wt.
I used to have a 6/8 weight Minimag. Gave it to a teenager. I used generally 8 weight line with that rod with a short to medium head. Leaders I tied using 30-40# fluorocarbon or hard nylon monofilament, something a little smaller in diameter to the fly line. 5-6 feet of that butt, stepped down in ~2’ mid sections of slightly smaller diameter material to 3’ of 15-20# tippet. This all using floating fly line and flies the size you mentioned. Leader might be 10-12’ feet all added up. Blood knot was my knot of choice and perfection loop to the welded loop in fly line.

There’s a million ways to do these things and as long as you can control how and where the fly lands, anything should work. Shorter, stiffer leaders tend to help turn over heavier and bulkier patterns better. Go shorter and make sure leader butt is stiff enough if you are getting the fly to turn over like you want. No one casts exactly like another so you might have to experiment to get the right formula. 6/2/2 is pretty standard, 6 feet of butt, 2’ of mid, 2-3 feet of tippet. Could go 5/2/2/3, could go 4/3/1.5/ 2.5.

I cast and get a feel for whatever leader I tie up. If I get it too long, I can’t control the fly very well. That length varies with the rod, fly, wind. 14’ leaders might work with smaller flies and certain rods, but that’s pushing it on length and isn’t necessary. Getting much below 7.5-8’ total length sort of gets risky with the floating fly line possibly spooking fish. Somewhere in between is where I’m at with floating fly line out in the saltwater.
I bought the MiniMag because I walways wanted one and I thought it might be better form the kayak. I plan on getting both a Mangrove and Axiom II-X in 8wt in the future and see how those work. I also plan on getting out with some guides on a skiff too.

For the MiniMag I had planned on going with the Scientific Anglers Redfish Warm fly line in 9wt based on some other information I found about the rod.

I'll start getting some tippet together and see about tying up some of my own leaders. I appreciate the comments of materials because it's about being able to transfer the energy from the fly line to the fly and of course I want to make sure my leaders are long enough to not spook the fish.
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By Ron Mc
If you're sight-fishing reds in skinny grass, my favorite (9'rod) is an 84" furled mono leader with 5' of 12x fluoro tippet looped on.
The furled mono floats high, looks like natural flotsam, and helps keep your fly line tip from swamping, and the fluoro tippet drops your fly to the zone.

deeper than knee-deep, I'm going to a slime line on baitfish imitations, anyway, and total leader + tippet on a sinking line is 5' to 6'

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