Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tackle Tip: Mason Leader System for Baby Tarpon

Mason Hard Mono in 30#, 25#, and 20# - the foundation of this leader system

Many of our customers ask what leader system to use while fishing for baby Tarpon. There are a variety of options on the market and we have tried them all. After years of pursuing baby Tarpon in the Yucatan, we have learned what leader materials and system performs best in the conditions you may experience - summer heat, wind, and/or gin clear water. This leader system has proven effective for baby Tarpon up to 35 pounds.

For the tapered portion of this leader system, we like Mason Hard Type Nylon (mono) in test ratings of 30#, 25#, and 20# (class section). Connected to the 20# class section, we prefer shock tippet materials of Jinkai 50# (for shallow water) or Rio Flouroflex 44# or 52# (for fishing deeper rios/channels). Here is the suggested length of each section:

Mangrove Tarpon Leader (short version = total length about 8 1/2 feet)
Butt Section: 3 feet of 30# Mason
Taper Section: 2 1/2 feet of 25# Mason
Class Section: 18" of 20# Mason
Shock Tippet: 18" - 24" of Jinkai or Rio FlouroFlex

Flats Tarpon Leader (long version = total length about 11 feet)
Butt Section: 4 1/2 feet of 30# Mason
Taper Section: 3 1/2 feet of 25# Mason
Class Section: 18" of 20# Mason
Shock Tippet: 24" - 30" of 50# Jinkai

Leader Knots: All Mason sections are connected with 3 turn blood knots and the shock tippet can be connected with an albright, slim beauty, or improved blood knot. Also, a super clean method to seat these knots is to apply Loon UV Knot Sense (while indoors or in the shade!) to each knot while tightening - once each knot is seated, expose the knots to UV light (sun or UV light). This provides a clean and smooth knot connection that minimizes snagging on turtlegrass or other debris.

Here are the primary benefits of this leader system:
  • Turnover Efficiency: Mason leader material is STIFF! Even in the blistering summer heat, this material stays stiff and, therefore, provides excellent turnover of your fly, even with longer leader lengths. TURNOVER = better ACCURACY!
  • Stealth: This leader does not have sections of twisted leader material which can refract light and spook wary clearwater Tarpon. The small connecting knots and relatively longer leader length allows for stealthy presentations of your fly.
  • Simple!: This system can be easily tied on the water and uses basic knots.
Disclaimer: this is not a leader that meets IGFA specifications, so don't use this system if you are pursuing an IGFA record!

We encourage you to give this baby Tarpon leader system a try! Good fishing to you all!

50# Jinkai Mono is our choice for shock tippet while purusing shallow water baby Tarpon on the flats or in lagoons

Rio Flouroflex (flourocarbon) is an excellent choice for shock tippet when fishing deeper channels or rios amongst the mangroves (NOTE: flourocarbon sinks faster than mono)