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Old 12-20-2010, 02:10 PM
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Default The End of The Line; Discussions on Furlled & Knotted Leaders.

This thread will host discussions on leader construction and uses.
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Old 12-20-2010, 02:43 PM
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Default Re: The End of The Line; Discussions on Furlled & Knotted Leaders.

I'm wondering what benefits those who make their own leaders see vs. using a standered tapered leader? Does it make you feel similar to catching a fish on a fly you tied yourself ? I have fished some pretty technical tailwaters this past year and I really like a standard tapered leader with alot of tippet added. My normal set up for dries is 15 feet in length minimum. Even when I can get away with a 9 foot leader I still go long....per Paul Weamer's guide to the upper Delaware its kind of like sharpening your game for later in the season....even though you can get away with a shorter leader earlier in the season (and a shorter leader is easier to cast) ...you may need to go long later in the season. I've tried some store bought furled leaders - I personally didn't realize an advantage.
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Old 12-20-2010, 04:15 PM
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Default Re: The End of The Line; Discussions on Furlled & Knotted Leaders.

Hi Walter,

I have to agree with you that todays knottiness tapered leaders are very good. I use them almost exclusively myself. When I was young the leaders on the market were not as good and there was not such diversity in what was offered. My first kits were Mason hard leader material that were sold by The Orvis Co. and when Maxima material came on the scene I could build stiff leaders that would turn over like a dream and tip them with soft pliable Maxima. This used to be the ticket for custom leaders.

By tying them you can actually create leaders that are quite simple and will work for your own circumstance that you may face on a favorite stream. It is like a mini course in physics because you gain an understanding of how the energy of the fly line is transmitted best to the fly itself. I used to fish nymphs using three at a time and being able to design leaders with two droppers at a chosen pair of blood knots. This was so superior to using snelled flies and surgeons loops in the line that it alone made tying leaders worth while.

Now days I still make one up now and then for small stream fishing. You can build a perfect 6' 6" taper that will sit a little dry right where you want it with minimal back cast space.

Ard
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Old 12-21-2010, 11:56 AM
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Default Re: The End of The Line; Discussions on Furlled & Knotted Leaders.

Alright, I'll toss in my experience with leaders. Just like all those commercials out in TV land, I'll add the disclamer, "Individual results may vary."

I grew up in a tiny town in Oklahoma, deep in the heart of bass fishin' country. The only time I ever saw anybody fishing with a fly rod, it was on TV. Needless to say, I was fascinated by the beauty of it. There were no fly shops around, and the internet didn't exist, so I had few options. I went to a local store and stumbled upon an "all in one" fly rod kit. It had a rod, line, and reel. No backing, no leaders, and no flies. I pieced it together and found a way to tie on a few feet of 10# monofilament for a leader. I made a couple flies using hooks out of my tackle box and the goodies in mom's sewing kit. Believe it or not, it worked. Not very well, but it worked. I remember taking that rig out to the local fishing hole and hearing the locals comment that I was "teasing the fish with that sissy rod." But I was not to be deterred.

I met my first real flyfisherman at least 10 years later. He taught me about this magical thing called a tapered leader.

Fast forward a few more years and we have the internet. It's a wealth of knowledge. That's where I learned how to make knotted, twisted, and furled leaders. That's also how I bought my first knotless tapered leaders. For many years, I used knotless tapered leaders. Being a bass fisherman by nature, all I ever bought was 0X. After all, bigger is better, right? I eventually branched out, fishing for trout, bluegill, crappie, striper, carp.... Needless to say, I got a great deal of experience in knotless tapered leaders of all sizes from 0X to 8X, and made from various materials. Like any leader, they work extremely well when properly matched to a fly, line, method, etc.


After a few years, I decided to experiment, mainly because I'm a cheapskate and wanted to cut down the exorbitant cost of my fishing addiction. I thought making leaders might be cheaper. I started with the simplest (aside from level leaders) to make: twisted. They are simple, but they do have their place. I have, even to this day, been known to use a twisted fluorocarbon leader when throwing large streamers for striper and largemouth. I use 10# fluorocarbon and twist them up in my fingers in a matter of minutes. I can even make them streamside. For their intended purpose, they work quite well. And they're cheap.

Then I experimented with knotted leaders. This is where I learned to fine tune a leader to a specific rod, species, fly, weather, water, presentation... If there is a fishing variable, there is a knotted leader to meet it. And if you want to have an eternal guinea pig project that never runs out of options, knotted leaders are the ticket. But they have knots, which will pick up weeds and snag on just about anything they encounter in the water.

My final experience in leaders was furled. I played around with dozens of formulas, materials, attachment methods, and such until I found what I liked. I now only have two formulas (one short, and one long) that I use regularly, and one material (.004" nylon thread) for my furled leaders. I may rarely alter the color of the thread, but that's about it. Everything else is just a change of tippet or a treatment, such as a "greased leader" or addition of split shot.

I prefer furled leaders because they present well and are extremely durable. I still have knotless, knotted, and twisted leaders in my pockets when I am on the river. I rarely use them, but I do have them.

To answer the question about the feeling of catching something on a leader I made, I have to say that is a big part of it. There is a great satisfaction to be found in catching a fish on a self made fly, self made leader, self made (rebuilt) rod, and a reel I built from parts out of dad's junk drawer. If I could make my own backing and fly line, I probably would.
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Old 12-22-2010, 04:33 PM
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Default Re: The End of The Line; Discussions on Furlled & Knotted Leaders.

Hi Walter,

I kind of wondered the same thing, as well as the benefits of a furled to knot less tapered leader. I found the video below on making furled (twisted) leaders and decided to give it a whirl. (bad pun not intended.)

After a couple failures, I got pretty good at it and can finish a leader in about 5-10 minutes. And they cost me about 10 cents to make. With the twisted leaders I noticed a gentler presentation with the fly.

But I think, like Shane said, to catch a fish on a fly and leader you made.

Now I have a question that maybe you guys can answer. I've read that furled leaders are better in almost every fishing situation(point of view, I know.) But, what situation would be better suited to use a tapered knot less or level leader? I haven't been able to find any info on that.

I've heard that when fishing with streamers it is better to use a level leader, but that's about all I've heard.

Here is the video:

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Old 12-22-2010, 05:11 PM
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Default Re: The End of The Line; Discussions on Furlled & Knotted Leaders.

I'm not sure it's better, but there's one instance where I will always use a knotless tapered leader over my furled leaders. If I'm fishing for big bass in a junkyard, with lots of stumps, rocks, and submerged objects, I'll use one. I put too much effort into making a leader to let them get torn to pieces. Otherwise, it's generally furled leaders for everything.

I have also heard that dry flies land more delicately on a knotless tapered leader, but after I became accustomed to using my furled leaders, I didn't notice a difference. I will admit that this could possibly be attributed to my use of a relatively long (5 ft or more) tippet when throwing dry flies.

Level leaders have their place, and I have heard that they work better with streamers as well. I don't think so, but that's just my opinion. Having grown up using level leaders (due to my own ignorance and lack of funds), I don't like to use them now. Twisted leaders are fantastic with large streamers, and generally stronger, so I'll twist one up streamside rather than go with a level leader any day.
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Old 12-22-2010, 06:08 PM
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Default Re: The End of The Line; Discussions on Furlled & Knotted Leaders.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardyreels View Post
By tying them you can actually create leaders that are quite simple and will work for your own circumstance that you may face on a favorite stream. It is like a mini course in physics because you gain an understanding of how the energy of the fly line is transmitted best to the fly itself. I used to fish nymphs using three at a time and being able to design leaders with two droppers at a chosen pair of blood knots. This was so superior to using snelled flies and surgeons loops in the line that it alone made tying leaders worth while.
Bingo Ard

I just wanted to make sure that these reasons to tie your own leaders doesn't get lost. Especially the highlighted one.
I haven't used a storebought leader in over 20 years
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Old 12-24-2010, 04:27 AM
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Default Re: The End of The Line; Discussions on Furlled & Knotted Leaders.

Bingo for me too. If you haven't tried a properly tied knotted leader, send me your address, and I'll mail one to you. While tapered leaders are better than they used to be, a knotted leader's ability to transmit energy can be seen by casting it in your hand. In addition, replacing lost length is much easier when you know the diameter and length of each section. I don't own a precision micrometer, but would love to run one along the length of a few "identical"
tapered leaders.

Catching fish using a knotted leader is not like using one of my own tied flies, at least for me. Casting one of my knotted leaders does give a sense of satisfaction, however, especially if it's a 12 foot Borger formula for dry flies: they are designed to land in an S pattern, yet still unfurl properly. I don't even know if you can buy a tapered 12 foot leader, although Umpqua is selling 10 foot leaders now. LeaderCalc is available for free, but it copyrighted so I won't post the link here. Simply Google Leadercalc, and the wonderful world of leader design will be at your fingertips.

P.S. I run into plenty of guys at fly shops and on fly streams that do not use tapered leaders. Some dismiss tapered leaders entirely, but others simply like the performance of a knotted leader.
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Old 12-24-2010, 08:52 AM
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Default Re: The End of The Line; Discussions on Furlled & Knotted Leaders.

This may be a silly question, but why would a knotted leader transfer energy more efficiently that a knottless tapered leader?
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Old 12-24-2010, 10:49 AM
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Default Re: The End of The Line; Discussions on Furlled & Knotted Leaders.

It's all about having a good match. Knotless leaders are the generic, catch-all leaders that will serve a wide variety of applications fairly well. Knotted leaders are often built for a specific application.

A knotted leader's individual sections can be fine tuned, by altering the length and thickness of each section. This means a person can build a leader to suit a specific application. You can't generally get that with a knotless leader. Yes, it might be painful to do all that experimentation, but there are lots of talented leader makers out there, and they've pretty much done the bulk of the homework for you.

Get on a search engine and search for Leadercalc. It's an Excel spreadsheet that has a wealth of information on knotted leaders. That should give you an idea of the variability and what works for certain circumstances.

---------- Post added at 12:49 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:19 AM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankB2 View Post
I don't own a precision micrometer, but would love to run one along the length of a few "identical" tapered leaders.
Before I stumbled onto Leadercalc, I wanted to tie a knotted leader with similar specs to a knotless leader that I liked, so I did a little bit of experimentation with a dial caliper a few years back. Most leaders weren't too far off, certainly less than .001" at any given point along their lengths, provided I compared leaders of the same brand and model, but differences between brands were absolutely unreal. As I recall, the main difference was in the length of the butt section. In 9 foot leaders, there might be a foot or more difference between the lengths of butt sections.
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