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Furled Leaders


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27 replies to this topic

#16 Bryon Anderson

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Posted 12 April 2019 - 10:27 AM

I've never used a gearbox setup to make furled leaders, so I can't speak to how the ones I make using Kathy Scott's method compare in terms of quality. I can say, however, that every one I've ever made and used has performed exactly like every other one, which was very well. As far as them being a pain to make -- I don't know how other people do it, but back when I was doing a lot of them I could make a completed leader (with tippet ring) in less than 5 minutes.

 

I have seen some very impressive gearbox-driven jigs, but have never felt the need to invest time or money in making one because I've been so pleased with the performance of the ones I've made.

 

As far as the spray problem -- spray results from water getting "inside" the leader--that is, in between the twisted (or "furled") strands of thread or mono or whatever. Keeping the strands as tightly twisted together as possible during construction would doubtless help with this, and I would imagine that this is one area where the superior precision (and resultant repeatability of results) possible with a gearbox-driven jig would outshine the simple leaders like the ones I make using an electric drill and manually-applied pressure during the furling process. My leaders do produce spray if left untreated before fishing. If I coat them with mucilin wax first, I can get several hours' fishing out of one before it begins to absorb water and spray. If that happens, I just switch to a fresh leader. I coil the wet one around the crown of my hat to dry; once dry, it's good to go again.

 

It's interesting to me to hear how other folks make their furled leaders, and what others' experiences with them have been.


"... trout do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed or impressed by power, but respond only to quietude and humility and endless patience." -- John Voelker (aka Robert Traver), Testament of a Fisherman


#17 The Mad Duck

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Posted 12 April 2019 - 05:12 PM

Haven't used one and won't likely, It's a simple 5 minute task to build a tapered leader that is customized to the "today's fishing conditions"; and that can be endlessly adapted, longer, shorter, compound tapered, no taper, stiff or limp or stiff butt and limp front or really any thing.

I don't get how furled leaders can be adapted? Do you carry several and switch them out for different conditions?

 

Mike, that water slinging might be the ring, the first/only time I used a tippet ring I got splashed a lot.

 

I can tie up a leader quickly as well,but always looking at a  better way to softly lay a fly on the water.



#18 tjm

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Posted 13 April 2019 - 08:40 AM

 

I can tie up a leader quickly as well,but always looking at a  better way to softly lay a fly on the water.

I'm not sure soft is desirable, experimentation over many years leads me to believe a bit of disturbance draws the fish. At any rate if the fly lands upstream and floats into the vision window the soft will have worn off by the time the fish sees it. Natural flies seem to always dimple the water when they touch down.

But actually I let myself be drawn into responding to the "one of the few who don't like them" comment; it's not that I don't like them ( not having used one) - it's the general impression that fly fishers are always trying to make things more  difficult or complicated and this is just another facet of that; I think the tippet is the key factor in the soft or splashy landing.

Sorry to have bent your thread, haven't used so should have either just said no to your first question or skipped the reply; my bad.



#19 Poopdeck

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Posted 13 April 2019 - 11:59 AM

Actually furled leaders are the original leaders of fly fishing. It's the mono, flouro and tapered knotless mono leaders that have complicated things that didn't need to be complicated.

#20 mikechell

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Posted 13 April 2019 - 01:48 PM

Actually furled leaders are the original leaders of fly fishing. 

I'm not doubting you ... but I can find no reference to back this claim up.

 

Are you guessing this based on early line materials? 


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#21 Poopdeck

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Posted 13 April 2019 - 03:24 PM

http://www.eclectica...rs_Issue_36.pdf

Waltons engine is the simple gear box I speak of.

#22 SilverCreek

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Posted 13 April 2019 - 04:47 PM

Actually furled leaders are the original leaders of fly fishing. It's the mono, flouro and tapered knotless mono leaders that have complicated things that didn't need to be complicated.

 

Furled leaders are made from interlocking a SINGLE strand of thread or mono to make a leader. Therefore, furled leader were not possible until the development of technology to either weave or extrude a thin strong material.

 

My reading of fly fishing history suggest that the earliest leaders were made of tied sections of horse hair. The original leaders of Charles Cotton were made of horse hair, and horse hair is not long enough to be furled. Horse hair preceded the use of silk for fly lines.

 

Back in Charle's Cotton's day horse hair was used to make the line, leader and tippet. The strands of horse hair were tied together and NOT furled. The link below describes how a horse hair leader is made by tying multiple horse hairs and not furling a single strand of material.

 

"In 1676, Charles Cotton, Cavalier poet, aristocrat, and companion to Izaak Walton, became the founder of modern fly fishing and fly making with the twelve chapters titled “Instructions How to Angle for Trout and Grayling in a Clear Stream” that he contributed to Walton’s fifth edition of The Compleat Angler...... During the 18th and 19th centuries Spanish silkworm gut replaced horse hair as the leader material. Silk also replaced the horse hair for lines."

 

https://www.tenkarab...hair-lines.html

 

Other references to early horse hair leaders:

 

http://www.fishingmu...g_overview.html

 

Instructions for making a horse hair leader like Charles Cotton is below. 

 

https://www.flydream...-of-fly-fishing

 

It was not until the 1700's that silkworm gut leaders were introduced and they were not furled either.

 

https://midcurrent.c...hing-with-guts/

 

If you think mono leaders have made thing more complicated, try making a leader out of horse hair as above or the subsequent silk gut leaders that had to be soaked and softened before use.

 

"-William Stewart, The Practical Angler (1857)

 

So, what was it like to fish with silkworm gut? First, it gave your day a different pace. Dry gut is stiff and useless for casting, so you carried a small “leader tin” that held felt pads that you kept soaked with water, and between which you placed your coiled gut leaders to soften for half an hour or so. This was a hassle, no doubt, but just a matter of habit once you got used to it — much like drying and dressing one’s silk fly line after each day’s fishing.

 

Once the fishing began, gut required a gentle hand. For example, “Refina,” one of the finest grades of undrawn Spanish gut available from the late 1800s to the mid-1900s, measured about 0X, and was about 2.5-pound test. The 0X nylon monofilament in my fishing vest today is 15-pound test. Even the 6X, at 3.2-pound test, is stronger than Refina."

 

Fly fishers have never had it better as far as equipment is concerned. You can fish whatever leader you want. In my opinion, choice is not complicating - it is liberating. There was no choice for Charles Cotton.


Regards,

Silver

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#23 Poopdeck

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Posted 13 April 2019 - 06:07 PM

all very enjoyable reads silvercreek. Thanks for posting the links. Although furling today is done by a continuos strand, furling has nothing to do with a continuos strand. It's all about allowing a material, no matter the length, to twist back around itself and this is how it was done with horse hair, silk, grass or uni thread to make line and rope to whatever length you desired. Very quickly after the development of twisted lines, the lines were then furled. Twisting and furling the short sections of horse hair together negated the knot. Based on my interpretation of the material you posted, the knotted horse hair line was used when it wasn't really fly fishing but more of dappling a fly in water off a short stick and length of line. By the time true "modern" fly fishing came to be the benefits of furling line were known and incorporated. I'm pretty sure the tomb builders were furling their ropes and threads and such. Walton's engine is named after its creator, isaak Walton who is often cited in fly fishing references.

I agree we have never had it better but furling a leader is cheaper then buying a leader, quicker then buying one, and in my opinion is a superior leader, in some aspects, then a tapered mono leader so a tapered mono leader is not a game changer in the fly fishing world.

#24 SilverCreek

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Posted 13 April 2019 - 09:50 PM

all very enjoyable reads silvercreek. Thanks for posting the links. Although furling today is done by a continuos strand, furling has nothing to do with a continuos strand. It's all about allowing a material, no matter the length, to twist back around itself and this is how it was done with horse hair, silk, grass or uni thread to make line and rope to whatever length you desired. Very quickly after the development of twisted lines, the lines were then furled. Twisting and furling the short sections of horse hair together negated the knot. Based on my interpretation of the material you posted, the knotted horse hair line was used when it wasn't really fly fishing but more of dappling a fly in water off a short stick and length of line. By the time true "modern" fly fishing came to be the benefits of furling line were known and incorporated. I'm pretty sure the tomb builders were furling their ropes and threads and such. Walton's engine is named after its creator, isaak Walton who is often cited in fly fishing references.

I agree we have never had it better but furling a leader is cheaper then buying a leader, quicker then buying one, and in my opinion is a superior leader, in some aspects, then a tapered mono leader so a tapered mono leader is not a game changer in the fly fishing world.

 

Thanks for the explanation about the furling of horse hair. I would think that it would be too brittle but I don't know for sure. 

 

It seems to me that some folks love furled leaders and others love braided leaders. I like regular leaders because they are easy to lengthen by adding more butt section or shorten by removing butt. Add 7 feet of butt section to a 9 foot leader and you get a 16 foot leader.

 

I don't need different lengths of furling for longer or shorter leaders but I get the fact that all one has to do is to swap the furled section out for a longer or shorter leader. My solution is to carry extra Maxima Chameleon to lengthen the leaders.

 

I think that furled or braided leaders are great for what they are designed to do. If there is a downside, I think they pick up too much gunk in dirty water but that's just me.

 

I tried furled leaders years and years ago before they became popular. Hans Weilenmann send me a couple to try while we were both on [email protected] I suspect that they are better now.


Regards,

Silver

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#25 Poopdeck

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Posted 14 April 2019 - 07:47 AM

I still use mono leaders as well. I like mono for bigger fishing where softness is not an issue. I also furled many many leaders before finding the length and taper that suited me best. Again, there is no one size fits all furled leader. Buying the number of furled leaders I went through would have been cost prohibitive. My jig probably only cost me a few dollars for a dowel rod since everything else was laying around the shop. When you can make them for a dime or less in material costs you can experiment until the cows come home and still be able to pay the electric bill. If you end up not liking them at least your winter passed quicker.

#26 RickZieger

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Posted 14 April 2019 - 02:21 PM

I use 5 ft furled leads on most of my rods. 

With my casting inability it makes the flies turn over better.

I put about 4 feet of mono on the end of the furled leader.

 

Rick



#27 Dominecker

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Posted 20 April 2019 - 09:17 AM

I used them for a couple years. I really like the way they cast and handle, especially on small streams where you only have the leader or a few feet of fly line out.

The thing I hate that made me cut the last one off and never tie another one on: They are limp and stay CONSTANTLY twisted up around my rod tip. I would spend a quarter of my fishing time unwrapping the stupid leader.



#28 spiralspey

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Posted 21 April 2019 - 10:38 AM

I've given a bunch of different leaders a fair shake over the years. I've tried knotless mono, hand tied mono, poly leaders, twisted leaders, braided leaders, and furled leaders. They all have pluses and minuses, but I can honestly say I like furled leaders the least of all of them. The idea looks so good to me that I want to like them, but in actual use I find them a royal PITA and the minuses far outweigh the pluses. They turn over great and they're limp so they're awesome dry fly leaders, but I also find they twist and wrap around things, and if they get tangled in a bush or branches you have a nightmare on your hands. They spray a little, but nothing like braided leaders do, and I still like braided leaders more. For simplicity and adaptability I stick with knotless or hand tied mono these days. I still carry poly leaders and braided leaders in my pack and use them occasionally, however I tossed all the furled leaders I had, to me they're just not worth the aggravation.