Tapered leader for steelhead: RioMax Plus Leader vs. Maxima

Product Review: RioMax Plus Leader

Check out the photos below. First one shows the leader and fly I fished this year, luring and releasing a beautiful 32”wild summer steelhead.

RioMax  Muddler

Also, note the second photo, showing the dreaded wind knot that was in the leader as I was playing my precious steelhead.

RioMax  Wind Knot

Fact is, fully 25% of the summer steelhead I have caught this summer using RioMax have had wind knots in them, with no fish broken off. How large a sample size. Ha ha, I ain’t tellin’. Point is, I believe that this leader is good stuff. My bias is that #12 RioMax (at .011) is a little smaller diameter than #10 Maxima Ultragreen (at .012), but is stronger. If so that is a terrifying possibility, because we all know that single strands of #10 Maxima are used for parachute cord by Navy Seals.

I have found that the RioMax ties well (I like to use a Uni-Loop-knot for most of my steelhead and salmon flies), is plenty tough, and is more supple than my old standby Maxima. As a result of my happy experience, I have switched over completely to using RioMax for my steelhead fishing. Next up, Chinook season. I will probably go with #12 fishing salmon, whereas I typically use #10 RioMax for summer steelhead and #6 for Sea-Run cutthroat.

For any of you readers who are not familiar with the term wind knot, see below.

Wind Knot
This is an unintended knot of questionable source in one’s fly leader. Traditional belief holds that the “wind” tied the knot in the leader, thus absolving the caster of any responsibility for the presence of the knot. These pesky little things can cost a fly angler the one steelhead or salmon they might hook each 3.7 years, so wind knots are dastardly things. A wind knot can be as elegant as an overhand knot or as complex as a triple-obverse-anticlockwise-multipicative-nutronium knot (see Birds Nest).

Any and all wind knots should be united or cut-out of a leader upon detection. New research suggests that Pogies may be responsible for 57% of all wind knots. Spey Casters find wind knots in their leaders on about every third cast.
JN

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