Under-Hatch Leader Stretcher


I built a simple, inexpensive leader stretcher to optimize the storage space in one of the hatches on my flats boat. It's a handy way to keep fly shock leaders straight and ready for instant use. The frame is constructed of 3/4" aluminum angle stock. The stainless-steel screws used to assemble the stretcher also mount it to the hatch lid. The hook end has 1/4" holes that are suitable for use with 1/8" elastic shock cord or stretchable ribbon that has been knotted to form loops of the desired length. At the other end, I notched the cross member to hold the shock leaders by the knots that join them to the class tippet. This can be done with any saw that will cut aluminum, but be sure to de-burr the slots carefully with sandpaper. I added a strap of self-adhesive hook-and-loop fastener just beyond the notched end to keep the tightly coiled class tippets securely in place and free of tangles.

— Bob Stearns, Miami, Florida