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Thread: Furled Leaders

  1. Default Furled Leaders

    [IMG2="left"][/IMG2] The Fly Fishing Column:
    A Product Update©
    Furled Leaders

    Doug Macnair

    I should think it is sort of hard to get excited about leaders -- leaders have never been a popular subject among fly fishers probably because fly fishers are not into trying lots of new things other than rods, reels and, sometimes, lines. Besides, what’s to get excited about? Everybody knows the leader is the invisibility factor between the fly fisher and the fish. About the only thing worth arguing about - something fly fishers like to do - is which type of mono to use and how long the leader should be. That’s about as exciting as a three day seminar on knots. When it comes to leaders and knots, most of us prefer to think what worked yesterday will work today -- sure enough, nine out of ten times it does.

    So much for the stolidity of the fly fisher’s thinking. However, every once in a while something comes along that perks curiosity ... “It doesn’t get much better than this.” That’s what my newsletter from my friends at Feather-Craft suggested. Feather-Craft has been and remains today one of my favorite sources of high-quality fly fishing equipment.

    “It doesn’t get much better than this” … That’s quite a statement, particularly when it applies to the boring subject of leaders … In this case, it applies to Feather-Craft’s proprietary Furled Leaders – and that’s what this review is all about…

    Have you ever cast a furled leader? After all these years I confess that I had not ... In fact, I didn’t even know they existed. I’ve cast braided leaders, of course, and concluded I didn’t like them. But a furled leader? Nope … I never had!

    So what’s the big deal? Well, it turns out that a furled leader is very tightly woven and that’s what separates the men from the boys … the bottom line is I had been missing an entire dimension in my pursuit of mastering the gentle art. Suffice it to say, I will never again be caught without a furled leader on hand.

    I don’t know about you, but when I lift into the backcast, there is always some telltale left behind on the water’s surface regardless of how gentle I try to be … so just suppose you could reduce your telltale by half … Sound good? It is! Suppose I told you about a super strong leader that has no memory – a leader that remains soft and supple regardless of whether it’s hot or cold … Just suppose I told you about a leader that lasts, and lasts, and lasts; a leader that makes the attachment of any tippet a snap; a leader that will turn over **** near anything you attach resembling a fly.

    I’ll bet you would be excited. I was; I am! Like Ed Story said, “It doesn’t get any better than this.”

    Notice that little ring at the tippet end of the leader? That’s one helluva ring. It’s the ring a wise man uses to attach the tippet or a little more leader material, and then the tippet. What knot to use? Ed recommends using a perfection loop. It couldn’t be easier – thread the perfection loop through the ring, adjust it so the loop sits on the shoulders of the ring, and you are ready to fish.

    NOTE: When I first saw the ring, my first thought was, “This will never work … without a solid link, between leader and tippet, the fly will never turnover properly.” Boy was I wrong! It turns out that the fly turns over better than ever before.

    Throughout this review, I tried a bevy of furled leaders, ranging from those crafted for light lines to others designed fish in the mid-weights, to one for bass and then a couple intended for our finny friends in saltwater. In each case, the furled leader was cast against a traditional leader - of equal length with tippet - on the same rod, but not the same reel. (That’s too much trouble for an old man.)

    I was pleasantly surprised with everything I tried. For example, the light trout furled leader (0-2 wgt.) was attached to a Cortland Sylk line and cast from a Diamondback Aeroflex 6.5-foot, 2-weight graphite. I was amazed! As all of you know, a 2-weight rig is not exactly what’s called for when Mr. Wind or his son Breezy is up and about. Sure enough, about the time I hit the water, Breezy blew in. The first thing that happened is Breezy blew the mono all to hell; however, the furled leader continued to turn the fly over under conditions that, with this little rig, would have otherwise blown me off the water. Then, too, lifting into the backcast was a pleasure; I didn’t produce either the wake or the Splish Splash I am usually capable of…

    For those of you who fish the Salt, I bring tidings of great joy … I’ll bet you know well those great big flies that never seem to turnover, or those big weighted jobs that feel like a steamer trunk at the end of the line, or how about those big fluffy things with the aerodynamics of a feather pillow … sound familiar? Well sports fans, try the Bulwhipp. As they say in the old country, “If Bulwhipp don’t do it, fugit.” Bulwhipp is an absolutely superb example of a furled leader as is the Bonefish, my other favorite. And if you doubt furled leaders are less than claimed, here is Bob Story of Feather-Craft with one of the nicest Bones I’ve had the pleasure of seeing caught during a field trip in early May. Any time a fisher of flies latches onto and lands Bonefish in the 12 to 14-pound range, the Ancient Fish Gods frown.

    Throughout the world of fishes the word has gone out: Bob Story is a fly fisher to be feared ... I can but wonder whether Jaws, the Great White, has heard the news. It’s interesting to note that this beauty and others Bob caught were victims of a 7-weight rig sporting the Bonefish furled leader. (By the way, the pretty one in the front of this picture is the Bonefish, not the fellow in the back who was hired to hold the fish.)

    To give you an idea of the wide range of furled leaders that are available, check out the following line weights with the approximate pound rating.

    • Light Trout, Light-Olive, 6-feet (0-2 wgt.) - 5-lb.
    • Light Trout, Light-Olive, 6-feet (3-4 wgt.) - 10-lb.
    • Trout (5-wgt.)
    a. 5-Wgt., Light-Olive, Length: 6 or 9-ft. – 15-lb.
    b. 6-Wgt., Light-Olive, Length: 6 or 9-ft. - 20-lb.
    • Steelhead/Salmon (7 to 10 Wgt.), Light-Olive, Length: 7 to 9-ft. - 30-lb.
    • Bass (7 to 9-wgt.), Smoke, Length: 5-ft. - 40-lb.
    • Bonefish (7 to 9-Wgt.), Clear, Length: 7, 9 or 12-ft. - 30-lb.
    • Saltwater (7 to 10-wgt.), Smoke, Length: 6-ft. - 40-lb.
    • Heavy Saltwater (10 to 14-Wgt.), Smoke, Length: 4 to 6-gt. - 50-lb.
    • Bulwhipp (7 to 10-Wgt.), Smoke, Length: 5-ft. - 50-lb.

    As I’ve said, the Bulwhipp is really special … It’s designed to “whip-out” big flies or poppers that usually prove somewhat difficult to turnover – No More!

    I think this is truly a complete lineup. Am I pleased with the furled leaders? You bet! In fact, I found the performance amazing. It’s my view that Feather-Craft’s furled leaders are every bit worth their cost of $12.95 apiece; as a matter of fact, given how long they will last, the furled leader may be the biggest bargain in fly fishing. I have a hunch that given reasonable care, they will last longer than the fly lines to which they are attached.

    Call me a convert!

    - 30 –
    © Copyright: Douglas G. Macnair, 2005.

  2. Default Re: Furled Leaders

    I have been using Furled / Braided leaders for a few years. I havent looked back. They are incredible. The only time I dont use them is with sinking line.

  3. Default Re: Furled Leaders

    Gordon Bryson (LSFFF Moderator) ties very nice furled leaders. They are a joy to fish with.

  4. Default Re: Furled Leaders

    I would like to interject on one point, furled leaders are furled, there is no weaving involved. It involves spinning a section of material in one direction, then folding it in half, and spinning it in the opposite direction. Furled leaders are nothing more than a tapered rope. I use them and make them for sale.
    Sorry to be a stickler.

  5. Default Re: Furled Leaders

    dukeofurl, better you than me LOL. I was just going to say the same thing about the weave thing. However, I start off on one side of my board and then repeat up the otherside,(bending in the middle and putting a clamp on the middle post to hold it till done twisting) twist both sides the same direction, then combine the two ends with a thumb tack and a weight in the middle and let them furl themself. Did that even make sense? Kathy Scott's style.
    Been using them for years and even give them to clients and had very possitive reviews from them.

  6. Default Re: Furled Leaders

    Being somewhat on the lazy side, I put the wraps on the one side, go around the end peg, and reverse the wrapping sequence up the other side back to the end hook. Use an end hook for each leg. Then for the twisting cycle, unhook one of the hook ends, walk around to straighten the wraps out, attach the cordless drill and wind clockwise until you've reduced the overall length by 10 percent. Then carefully attach the mid point to hold it, take the remaining half and walk it back to the hook end. Transfer both end loops to the same hook. Take the drill and attach the mid point of the twisted leader. Reverse the drill and turn counterclockwise until the leader is completely 'furled' and relaxed. Now tie a Shorb knotless loop in each end and you're ready to fish.

  7. Default Re: Furled Leaders

    Gordon Bryson, started off doing the way you are, but I have such a small house, I find Kathy's method a lot easier for me, plus I only have to use the drill twice and don't have to change direction.

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