Furled leaders were invented in the 1700’s – woven by hand from silk or horse hair. Production technology eliminated their commercial availability and use. However, it has many advantages and dry fly fishers, as well as, saltwater anglers have revitalized their use.
Nowdadays furled leaders are created from monofilament fishing line or fly tying thread. This material is wrapped around a jig in a series of interlocking loops, which creates the taper of the leader. The leader is also created in two halves. Each half is then twisted while under tension. Both halves are twisted in the same spinning direction. The halves are then combined together and then allowed to untwist under weight or tension. As the two halves untwist, they furl together to create the final structure that is shown in the picture above. The ends of the leader are then finished to hold the leaders furl. Lastly the leader is attached to the end of the fly line and tipped with tippet before use.
You might ask, why would anyone go through all that trouble when high-quality mono leaders are so inexpensive? Well, for coldwater anglers, one leader could make it through the entire season. For saltwater anglers, one leader could easily make it through a week of bone fish activity in the Bahamas.
Mono lets anglers who fish wet get the leader and fly down to the desired water column, but with a little coating of silicone flotant over the leader’s entire length, you can sit on top. Fluorocarbon furled leaders allow for getting deep a little more quickly.
Making Your Own Furled Leader
Furled leaders aren’t too hard to make, you just need the room and materials. So, if you have a little time and like do-it-yourself projects, this on is a easy one and you will benefit from it.
How to make a furled leader
From the video above – the process is simple but is quite difficult to explain:
- Wrap 6/0 uni thread around two fixed objects ~2.1x longer than your goal length.
- Connect to a drill and spin clockwise until it begins to curl up on itself when tension is removed.
- Fold the leader in half, and spin counterclockwise until it again begins to just start to curl on itself.
- Insert a paper clip or similar in each end and let unfurl slowly.
- Tie a loop in each end, perfection loop is the easiest to begin with but work towards the short loop as it is much cleaner.
The shining and most advantageous factor of furled leaders is found in the castability factor. They simply aid anglers to make better and more accurate casts (tighter loops) – a better energy transfer during a cast. Delicate presentation? Furled leaders will help anglers in that department as well.
NOTE: At first, any furled leader will feel strange because of its overall diameter and extreme suppleness – limp actually. However, once you engage in casting real-time you’ll notice that they unfurl with less resistance, chuck weighted flies better, more easily cast in the wind; line pick is improved because of increased surface tension, roll casting is a lot better for same reason and the stretching ability will help a lot in absorbing unexpected darting runs.