I love the challenge that winter and early spring bring with spooky trout in low water conditions, as this is when fluorocarbon leader and tippet becomes the key to success on a productive rig. Being a full time guide I am constantly changing leaders and tippet daily to ensure a fresh strong connection that will hold up against actively feeding targets.
I start by connecting the leader to a butt section of 20 lb red amnesia. I am a fan of this butt section for turning over rigs with short casts and using the red color for a strike indicator, or tracking device, to know where my flies are without an indicator. Using a 9ft 5-6-x Fluorocarbon leader I attach it the butt section using a nail knot. After completing the nail knot I apply a small amount of UV knot sealer to create a firm coating around the knot preventing it from getting caught in the guides at the tip of the rod during or at the end of the fight. Then following the leader down to the same diameter of 4x, I cut the extending smaller tapering leader off using three feet 4-5x Fluorocarbon tippet to complete the leader connected by a triple surgeons knot. My secret for performing the fast and effect knot is what I call the “x” factor performed in the attached video. This technique allows you to have control of every step in the knot without it unraveling or blowing away in rough windy weather.
This rig will give you more strength with a heavier straight fluorocarbon tippet that is thinner in diameter and less visible than a tapering leader and preventing drag when it is drifting through the water. I then attach an 18-inch piece of 6-7x tippet using another triple surgeon knot to the end of the built leader. The triple surgeons knot is stronger than a double when connecting two-pieces of fluorocarbon which is abrasion resistant. At the end of the first piece of tippet I use a clinch knot to the eye of the first fly, with a second piece of 6-7x tippet attached to the bend of the fly using another clinch knot. I complete the rig by attaching a trailing fly using another clinch knot. If I attach a piece of split shot it is one inch above the triple surgeons not at the end of the leader.
This rig gives my clients and myself a better chance in the excitement of the winter or spring sight fishing game!