A leader is a critical component of your fly fishing set up and can make all the difference in how your system performs. If you have the perfect fly line, and perfect balanced rod and reel, without a good leader set up, you can still have a hard time making a nice presentation.
The reason for this is a lack of consistent energy transfering to the fly. Ideally you need to have a continuous decreasing diameter of mono from the fly line to the fly. This helps to transfer energy smoothly all the way to the fly laying the fly and leader out straight when presented. This is critical in sight fishing in the salt.
It helps to have a leader with a butt section that is the same diameter and consistency of the fly line. This helps to act as a continuous front taper of the fly line. There are all kinds of different salt water leader formulas that are out there but my favorite high performance salt water leader is made of stiff, hard mono and is hand tied with all sections being of equal length. The hard mono is stiff and helps to form tight loops and to roll out the fly straight in strong winds.
I will be giving salt water leader break downs on future posts, so stay tuned.