I was searching for leader help on here and found this post. If I understand correctly, the butt section should be 65 to 70% of the flyline diameter, then step down to no more than 65% of the butt section size for the mid section and finally step down to 65% of the mid section for the tippet in a 3 part leader. Now, there are various ways to go down to a certain tippet size say 6 pound test as a tippet by adding more step downs, ie making the mid section two pieces stepping down 65% and making it a 4 part leader using the Charles Ritz formula presented on the link Tom Jindra has supplied...is this correct?
Then I checked the link Norm Frechette posted of global fly fisher leadercalc and used the 2007 version. I plugged in several different configurations and it automatically configured several variations but you need to know how to convert a certain weight for your tippet size. If I read it correctly a 4x tippet is approximately 6.6 pounds...is this correct? This program seemed a bit cumbersome trying to make it come out the way I wanted it, and that may have been the problem...trying to make it come out the way I wanted it, causing me the problem. Plus, how would this affect the calculation if I wanted to throw a dropper rig off the back?
Fishing in Central Florida in the dishpan lakes we have, the weeds are pretty thick and we know how gills like to dive into them when hooked. This makes me leary of going lighter than 6 lb as many gills are good sized because of the longer growing season here (plus the occasional bass picking up the fly). A size 10 is the smallest fly I throw, mostly size 6 and 8 are my preference. This also helps keep the juvenile gills off the hook. If I were to throw a size 6 floater or popper and a size 8-10 dropper, how much if any will this change the dynamics of the leader set-up or am I over complicating and over thinking this? Additionally, how long is the ideal leader for panfishing, I am guessing 7.5 to 9 ft. Even this may be an error in thinking on my part. My thought is a 9ft leader for a single fly whether floating or sinking and a 7.5 ft to the floater or popper adding up to 1.5 ft for the dropper making it up to 9 ft total length. This is using a 7.5 ft 4 weight rod with floating line, water depths up to 6 feet during the drought times like now. Water clarity is stained to clear. During deeper water level times a longer dropper may be in order.
I may be completely wrong and if so, any help would be greatly appreciated. I have read as many things as I could get my hands on about panfishing but many here have probably read more, learned from friends and practiced the theory and come up with a better understanding or better way to make an effective leader for panfish.