For starters you are using a very long leader. It has to be able to turn over properly, allow the nymphs to sink quick and help the angler detect strikes through the addition of sighter tippet.
And it needs to be long (typically Euro nymphing leader set ups – including tippet and sighter – can be between 20 and even 30ft).
Here below we’ve set out our preferred Euro nymphing leader formulas and the materials used to build them.
These are just our preference. While they are a great starting point for Euro nymphing rigs, don’t be afraid to experiment with different leader formulas.
Level vs tapered leaders for Euro Nymphing
The first thing to consider before building your Euro nymphing leader is whether you want it to be a tapered leader or not. There is still a significant debate in the Euro nymphing community about which is better.
We’ve summarised the pros and cons of each type below.
- Casts better
- More similar to a traditional leader in that respect
- Tapered line has a lower sink rate
- Less easy to cast
- Reduces distance you can fish
- Sink rate is higher and more uniform and results in a good drift
What Length Leader is Best for Euro Nymphing?
Euro nymphing leaders need to be much longer than traditional leaders to allow for drag free presentations close to the stream bed.
A long leader that you can hold off the water with little sag gives you every change to create a long drag-free drift.
This can easily be adjusted up or down as required.
Level Euro Nymphing leader formula
Tapered Euro Nymphing leader formula
Euro Leader Basics: Leader Building Materials
Maxima Chameleon is the most popular choice of mono line for Euro nymphing leader material. Maxima is relatively stiff, which is great from the point of view of being able to turn the leader over, but also to avoid ‘sag’ when you are fishing the rig.
Maxima has low line memory so doesn’t retain coils or kinks.
Euro nymphing techniques involve casting and fishing without much or any fly line out of the rod, so leaders tend to have relatively large diameter mono just to ensure good castability.
All the main companies – Rio, Orvis, Cortland and Umpqua for example – have sighter tippet you can buy. Choose the color scheme that works for you.
Tippet rings are great to use in Euro nymphing as you don’t eat into the sighter tippet as you change tippet. You buy tippet rings easily from most fly fishing tackle stores.
Euro nymphing typically used fluorocarbon tippet, although you can use mono if you wish.
Euro Nymphing Leader Construction: Step by Step
Create the main leader section
For the level leader this is as simple as snipping off a 12-18ft section of Maxima Chameleon mono leader material, or other stiff mono in your chosen diameter/strength.
For the tapered leader this means cutting the various sections to length and joining the them with double blood knots.
For the butt section, you can leave it if you are using a nail knot connection to the fly line, or you can create a loop if you are doing a loop connection to the fly line.
Add the Sighter Tippet
Use a blood knot or triple surgeon’s knot to attach the sighter tippet.
Add the tippet ring
Tie a tippet ring to the end of the sighter tippet. Be careful not to drop it as tippet rings can be hard to find if they spill on the floor.
Tie on the tippet and the nymphs
Now tie the tippet on to the tippet ring and tie on your nymphs. You can use a dropper for the top nymph or tie the bottom nymph off the hook of the top one.
Purchased Knotless Euro Leaders
There are wide range of Euro leaders – both tapered and level – that you can buy ready made that work fine. The downside is cost. Also, I like to use a leader that I have made because I know exactly how it will fish and how it will cast.
Rio has some good Euro leaders that work well.