I suspect that knotting ones own nylon leaders nowadays, is a little like carrying carthorse food in the boot of your car for a long trip. We have simply moved on. We have knotless tapered leaders, and they are great.
Correct. We do.
But I am an eternal fiddler of the piscatorial type. And none of the tapered leaders I have bought come with an explanation as to what taper they were designed on. None of them come with a boiled butt, or a switch in material from nylon to fluoro-carbon somewhere along their length. Tying your own tapered leaders gives you all these options. It is also fun to do, and keeps one out of mischief late at night.
To start with, I must point you to a fantastic application I found on the web, called “Leadercalc” (Globalflyfisher). This is a real gem. It gives you almost every leader formula ever published, all in a spread-sheet which will adapt the formula to the length and strength you specify, (or exclude it if your specs preclude that particular formula).
Once you have a formula you would like to try, you can begin experimenting with nylons of differing hardness along the leader’s length. You can also boil the butt sections for periods of time relative to the thickness of the material (the thicker it is, the more time you should boil it). This by the way, apart from making the escapade take on a mythical air about it, is a great way of softening the nylon. In other words it puts some stretch into it, and allows it to lay flat on the water. It might sound like a lot of work, but I think you will find it most worthwhile. And yes, it does make a big difference.