What is a Hends Camou French Leader?
The Hends Camou French Leader is a long tapered monofilament leader for using while Euro nymphing, particularly in the French nymphing style. With these short-line nymphing techniques, you don't use a fly line and instead lob your weighted grayling bugs or Czech nymphs upstream with an overarm chuck and then guide them back downriver at the same speed as the water.
How do you use a French leader?
The French leader is simply attached to the end of your fly line via a loop to loop connection or nail knot. The fat bit of the line attaches to your fly line and then tapers down to a similar diameter to that of your tippet, giving you a smoothly tapered line which glides through the rings smoothly.
The thin end of the leader is then attached to either a French nymphing indicator of sighter (beaded ones are popular at the moment) or to a brightly coloured section of indicator tippet, such as the Rio Two-Tone Indicator Tippet. A tippet ring is usually used at the joint. This part of the line is basically there to help you keep your eyes in contact with the line, which is surprisingly tricky on a swiftly flowing river.
What sizes and colours are available?
The original Hends Camou French Leader was a sort of camouflaged brown and green colour, hence the name. It worked really well and was very popular. However, there's now a really bright version on sale and, so I am reliably informed, this is the one all of the professionals now favour. It's highly visible so helps you keep track of your flies far more easily than with the camouflaged version.
The leaders are available in lengths of 3.5m, 4.5m and 9m and diameters of 3X, 4X and 5X in the original camouflage colour, plus bright pink, bright orange and bright yellow. The pink one is our favourite for extreme visibility in running water.
What are Hends French Leaders like to use?
These are made from nice, soft monofilament and don't get too coily so they perform much better than regular mono line, I think. We've been using the regular Camou Leader for a few seasons but, on expert advice, switched to the new brightly coloured version.
The pink one, in particular, seems to be highly visible and makes nymphing so much easier, especially if your eyesight isn't the best. They work well and are very strong - we've never snapped one and have even landed an accidental salmon while fishing with one.
How much do they cost?
These typically sell for around £5.95 per leader. That's not bad value for money, I guess, given that you'll comfortably get a whole season out of one if you look after it.