Poly leaders


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I find that the rio ones are heavier than the airflo equivalents.


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up to ma tits in water on the ayr
Can anyone compare Airflo and Rio poly leaders? Are they any different in their ability to turn flies over?

Yes mate there is a difference,the rio versi leader is almost 2x the weight of the equivalent airflo polyleaders and as such has the ability to turnover larger flies easier with a line that has suitable front taper,
Let me explain

I have rio AFS Heads that have a fine front taper for better presentation the down side is the leaders that was included in the kit were in my view to heavy for the front taper,the slower sink ones were ok i.e. intermediate and slow sink but the heavier fast sink and super fast in combination with a heavy fly too much for the front taper of the line to turn over easily,the airflo polys were much more suited to the front taper of these lines and even the super fast polyleaders were a joy to cast.

Now i also use the Airflo rage lines,these have a more aggressive front taper and although the lighter polyleader cast well enough, the versi leaders being heavier in their make up are far nicer to cast and the heaviest leaders in combination with a heavy fly were much nicer to use so both have their uses but in my veiw are very different,happy casting:)


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Gods County
I have been a long time user of Polyleaders.My particular go to ones are the Airflo.I've never had a problem with them in any way at all.I so far have turned over any weight of fly I've ever put on them(up to 3" copper),I find them robust, accurate in breaking strain and cheaper than the Versi Leaders by some way.
I do own and have tried Versi Leaders,however I and a few friends found them of far lower breaking strain than they were supposed to be in fact we all experienced them at times breaking for almost no reason at all.As a consequence I don't trust them and no longer use them.
The weight issue also made a difference in casting, especially the heavier LSR 16 and 24 were much more difficult to cast and turn over compared to the Airflo ones.
These issues may well have been resolved, that I don't know.But so far I've not had any problems with any of the Airflo Poly Leaders in any length.


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I was one of the ones that Rennie referred to with breakages on the Rio versi-leaders, quite a few broke at a very low strain on the rear loop.

I since believe that this was a bad batch & suspect that they were over-cooked when the loops were formed; I have used others since without a problem.

My thoughts are that if you are using a light weight line (say a #7 or possibly an 8), especially if it has a fine tip, then stick to the Airflo ones as they are lighter & easier to turn over with this.

If you are using a mid weight line then maybe use the Rio ones up to fast sinking & the Airflo ones in super fast & extra super fast densities as these are quite a bit heavier in grams than the slower ones.

If you are using heavier lines, say 10-11s or upwards (especially sinking lines) or 570 grain Rage heads or heavier, or lighter Skagit heads, then the Rio ones may be a better match precisely because of their extra weight.

One point though, Airflo make the extra strong ones on a 40 lb core, this is a bit stiffer & turns weighted flies over better than the standard one; also it means that if you are using a strong tipper with heavy tubes, say 25 lb Seaguar, then there is a better chance that the tippet knot will break before the leader loops or knot (if you use a tippet ring as I do) if you have to pull for a break when snagged. Far easier to replace the tippet than the leader.

A personal thing of mine, when using heavy tubes I don't believe the tapered leader does much for turnover, rather the momentum of the tube keeps it going & straightens the leader out. The tapered leader does however mean that the tip sinks more slowly than the rear (washing lines). For sinking lines & faster rated poly tips I still like the Michael Evans ones which are parallel & sink faster at the tip than the tapered ones do. Also they have a 30lb core as opposed to the standard 24 lb one on the others. You can cut a 10 footer (they have coated loops at each end) & add tippet rings to the cut end & have say a 6 foot one & a 3 foot 8 inch one -allowing a couple of inches loss in each for the tippet ring knots, but with practice you can half this.

Just remember though, all poly or versi leaders are just that - leaders, they are not sink tips. They will let you fish a fly a bit deeper in a flow off a floating line or to fine tune the depth with a sinking line; but they won't get you down in a good flow in February or November if fished off a floating line. I think many people expect too much of them in this regard & they are definitely something to use in conjunction with, not in lieu of, a full sinking line.

I wouldn't want to be without them though.

Regards, Tyke.