Build a Leader Stretcher

Keep heavy tarpon leaders kink-free

Knot connecting bite tippet and leader slips into kerf to maintain tension on the bite tippet.Steve Sanford

When using 60- to 100-pound bite tippets on casting or fly tackle for tarpon, rig the leaders and attach the lures or flies ahead of time. Placed in this stretcher for a day or two, with the hook in the bungee and the leader knot in the slot, they’ll lose their memory and lie straight when you pull them off to fish them.


  • Two pieces 1-by-4 or equivalent Starboard for end rails. Length is up
  • to you but must be in increments of 3 inches.
  • Two sections 1-inch dowel, 18 inches long, for spreaders.
  • 6-inch pieces of 1⁄8-inch bungee cord, one for each lure slot.
  • Four 2-inch wood screws for securing spreaders between end rails.
Alternate slots and holes opposite each other in the end rails so they line up when the frame is assembled.Steve Sanford


1. Mark the top of end rails every 3 inches. Drill a 1⁄4-inch hole in the center of the rail at the marks, and cut a 1⁄2-inch saw kerf on top of the rail between the marks. Be sure to stagger the holes and the kerfs so they sit opposite each other when the frame is assembled.

2. Fasten the sections of dowel between the end rails, with a screw, 1 1⁄2 inches from the ends of each rail. If desired, dowels may be countersunk into each rail for extra stability.

3. Form loops with all 6-inch pieces of bungee cord, knotting both ends together with an overhand knot. Poke every loop through a 1⁄4-inch hole, leaving equal 2-inch bungee loops on the inside of the frame.