Published Feb 12. 2023 - 1 year ago
Updated or edited Apr 7. 2023

LederCalc 2023

The online leader calculator has had an overhaul, and has been updated with several new leader formulas and a bunch of new features

LederCalc, our online tool designed to make it easy to find suitable leader formulas, has been a constant top performer when it comes to page visits on the site since it aired in 2016. Before that is was an almost equally popular spreadsheet, which you could download, but the web based version has elevated the tool to new heights.

The basic concept is pretty simple: the system contains a large number of formulas for hand tied, sectioned leaders, and can calculate different variations based on desired length, the rod weight used and the tippet you want to use. The leaders are also divided into categories, so you can select based on the purpose.

Right now the tool is closing in on a dizzying 3,000 different leader recipes, and I'm still expanding it with new formulas. If you yourself have a failsafe, useful or interesting (or all three) formula, let me know, and I can include it.

Modern nymph leaders
Modern nymph leaders
Martin Joergensen

2023 Updates

In the end of 2022 I was approached by Serge T, a GFF reader, who urged me to add some Euro nymphing leaders to the tool, and even offered to help gather some suitable formulas. Not long after, Serge sent me a spreadsheet with a handful of new leaders, which with a bit of work could be added to the database.
Merci Serge!

I soon realized that these leaders are something else! The concept of Euro nymphing is fairly complex, and to define it as one single method using one single type of leader would be to oversimplify things. The fishing style is also known as Czech or Spanish or Polish nymphing, tight line nymphing, high sticking and many other names. They generally all have one thing in common, and that is that the fly is fished with direct contact to the rod, meaning a stretched line or leader from the tip top to the fly. You typically lop out the fly on a fairly short line and follow the drift of the fly with no loose line between the rod and the fly, but with constant and direct contact. You make short drifts and lift the fly back upstream and repeat. It's an extremely efficient way of fishing, and often used by competition anglers.

The methods can be performed with a normal fly line and leader, but special leaders have been developed for the purpose, often referred to as "mono rigs" because they essentially are replacing the tip of the fly line and the normal leader with mono - one piece or (mostly) several. These rigs come in a large number of variations, and the addition to them to LeaderCalc meant that some new features and functions had to be introduced.

Martin Joergensen


Some of these new nymphing leaders use a lot of different materials. Each part is made up of its own kin of mono, and some of the originators put emphasis on this. I know that there are already leaders in the system, which call for stiffer and limper materials in certain sections, but the mono rigs take this to new levels. Some require Maxima in several variations, Amnesia, Stren, fluorocarbon and all kinds of special materials, and I found it suitable to add the option to indicate material for the individual sections. That called for a number of things in the tool: colors to indicate the material, legends to explain them and materials mentioned next to the measures for each section in the formula. When no special materials are needed, things are as before; various blue shades.


Another thing about these leaders is that some of them are off the charts - literally! They are extremely long. The longest leader used to be 19 feet or less then 6 meters long - which I'd consider long - but now there are leaders up to 33 feet or more than 10 meters! This meant that the small drawings in the tool, which were all to the same scale, broke the mold and extended beyond the width of the page. So they stuck out and some even "broke" and were shown in two decks. That wasn't good, and I had to add a function that could scale down the longest leaders to fit the box for the drawing.
This also meant that they were out of scale and incomparable to the rest of the shorter leaders, and rather than shrinking them all, I decided to add a scale below the leaders, so that you can now visually see their length in feet or centimeters.

... some of them are off the charts - literally!


Last but not least the new leaders also added the need for indicating "extras" as I have called them. Again this has been in the system already, but only as text mentioning optional tags for droppers, split shots and indicators. But with the advent of sighters, barrel indicators, tippet rings and even more tags and indicators, I felt the need to indicate in the system where these extras were supposed to be tied in on the leader.
So I added some symbols, which show you the possible positions of these extras, and now a drawing can suddenly become much more complex - but also much more useful.

In conclusion

A useful and popular tool has hopefully become even more useful, and will hopefully keep on being popular. The science of leader design makes it a swamp of information, and particularly a beginner might find it quite daunting to start making their own leaders. This tool enables you to find the proper leader and find some that have been proven to work. The number is still increasing, and if you yourself have a suggestion for a leader, please let me know and I'd be happy to add it.
I have also made a page with instructions on how to use the LeaderCalc 2023 tool, and a bit about how to make and use the leaders. For some people things might be obvious, but for others a hand held tour through the process may be welcome.

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Serge's picture

Fantastic Job Martin...

You did a fantastic job Martin. Thanks for adding this section on LeaderCalc. Bravo!


Martin Joergensen's picture

My pleasure!...


It's a great addition to the tool. Thanks for helping.



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