Fulling Mill Masterclass Tapered Leaders review

Fulling Mill Masterclass Tapered Leaders are fine, strong and reliable and greatly improve presentation and fly turnover.

Fulling Mill Masterclass Tapered Leaders review
© Fly and Lure
Fulling Mill Masterclass Tapered Leaders review
Picture copyright © Fly and Lure
Fulling Mill Masterclass Tapered Leaders review
Tippet and leaders Estimated reading time 5 - 8 minutes

What are Fulling Mill Masterclass Tapered Leaders?

Fulling Mill's Masterclass Tapered Leaders are premium monofilament leaders made from the same high-end copolymer material used in its excellent Masterclass Copolymer tippet material. Tapered leaders, as the name suggests, taper down from a thick butt section which attaches to your fly line to a very fine tippet part, to which you can attach your fly or extra tippet.

The leaders come neatly coiled and are easy to unravel.

Why use a tapered leader?

Back in the day, people used to construct their own leaders by knotting together numerous different lengths and diameters of line to create one than tapered down from a thick button section to a thin tippet section. The idea is that the energy from the tip of the fly line gets transferred better through the line if it has a closer diameter, which turns over the fly at the end of the cast far more effectively, especially when fishing dries.

These days, most people just use a level leader, but there are big benefits to a tapered, knotless one like this. Turnover and presentation are much improved.

Tapered leaders can give much better presentation.

What sizes are available?

Masterclass Tapered Leaders are sold individually in paper packets and are available in either 9' or 12' lengths. The diameters of the lines differ slightly according to the leader length, so they do have subtly different qualities.

X rating Breaking strain Length Butt diameter Tip diameter
2X 8lb 12' 0.58mm 0.23mm
3X 6lb 12' 0.52mm 0.20mm
4X 5lb 12' 0.58mm 0.18mm
5X 4lb 12' 0.58mm 0.15mm
6X 3lb 12' 0.52mm 0.13mm
7X 2lb 12' 0.52mm 0.11mm
0X 12lb 9' 0.65mm 0.28mm
1X 10lb 9' 0.65mm 0.25mm
2X 8lb 9' 0.63mm 0.23mm
3X 6lb 9' 0.60mm 0.20mm
4X 5lb 9' 0.57mm 0.18mm
5X 4lb 9' 0.55mm 0.15mm
6X 3lb 9' 0.53mm 0.13mm
7X 2lb 9' 0.53mm 0.11mm
There's one leader per packet.

What are they like to use?

We've now been through about five or six of the Masterclass Tapered Leaders and have used them in both the finer diameters when fishing dries on the rivers and in the larger diameters on larger stillwaters and reservoirs. For stillwater trout, we've found the 9' 0X and 1X to be the best option, while for the river trout and grayling the 4X to 6X is best.

These can be nail-knotted straight onto the fly line and then extended with extra tippet to get the desired length. We use ours with either Riverge Tippet rings or Stroft Leader Rings. By attaching one of these to the end of the leader you can extend the tippet and attach a dropper, without needing to tie further knots in the leader, which reduce its length and shorten its lifespan. When used in this way we can get many trips from a single leader.

The leaders perform well. They're easy to unravel from the packets and most coiling quickly disappears after a gentle stretch or rub. They knot well with no pig-tailing when you use plenty of saliva and are easily extended with either additional copolymer or with fluorocarbon. We've had few breakages when fishing with them and they've performed really well.

The shorter 9' tapered leaders are great on stillwaters and are easily extended to your desired length.

How much do they cost?

Fulling Mill sent us ours to review but they cost £4.25 each. This is a little more than usual, but they are made from very good quality line and work really well, so it's not bad value, really. Using the tippet ring approach we've got a good half dozen trips from a single leader, which is probably more than we'd get with a bit of level leader.

More information: Fulling Mill

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