The Harvey Slackline Dry Fly Leader

Last summer and this summer, during “dries or die” periods, I’ve been fishing with a home-made Harvey Slackline leader.

When I’m fishing dries, I tend to use that leader with my H2 #4. The leader is designed to have its back 1/3 collapse in a pile. That gives longer drifts.

My leader of choice is 9′ and terminates with 6x tippet, either mono or fluorocarbon. I grease up the leader, until the last 6″ or so, with Mucilin Green.

I’ve thrown leaders 12′ or longer, but I find them unwieldy. So, the Slackline is great. I easily can cast a 9′ leader.

I particularly like to throw flies downstream of me. With the Slackline and some slack or parachute casts, I can get a good and long drift down to rising fish and have them see the fly first, not the leader. At some pressured stretches, I cannot buy a take while fishing upstream. But, when I change positions and cast to fish below me, my luck can change.

I also have other dry fly leaders on hand with me on the water. It is fun to play around with different leaders that you make yourself. But, the Slackline is my workhorse. The fly turns over well, falls gently and the drifts can be true and longer. I can throw a #10 Elk Hair Caddis or a #30 CDC Midge Emerger. The rod and that leader can cast both.

I use the very stiff Maxima Chameleon for the leader butt and the less visible Ultragreen for most of the leader (link to all sorts of Maxima products here). I use plain ol’ 6x tippet at the end. The segments are all tied via blood knots.

Here is the leader formula I use, which is from LeaderCalc:

  • 9″ of 0.0170″ Maxima Chameleon, 20#
  • 17″ of 0.0150″ Maxima Ultragreen, 15#
  • 17″ of 0.0130″ Maxima Ultragreen, 12#
  • 17″ of 0.0100″ Maxima Ultragreen, 8#
  • 10″ of 0.0090″ Maxima Ultragreen, 6#
  • 17″ of 0.0070″ Maxima Ultragreen, 4#
  • 21″ of 0.0050″ regular tippet, 6X

5 thoughts on “The Harvey Slackline Dry Fly Leader

  1. Used to tie them up, but really like the knotless Froghair version. Knots are a PIA when landing a really nice fish! Just as important is a epoxy leader attachment IMO.

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