Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Furled leaders for small streams

It's been too cold for any fishing around here lately, so I've been doing some tying and furling some leaders for small streams.  Here is my favorite setup for a small stream leader that works well with the shorter rod I use for fishing small streams.  I use Uni 6/0 thread in either gray or olive.  The leader is a 40/40/20 design with 40% butt section, 40% taper, and 20% tippet.  The leaders are finished with a shorb loop and a tippet ring for attaching the tippet.

The 5/8" dowels are set in my (pictured below) at the following lengths with the indicated number of wraps.

First leg: 13" (6.5wraps); 25.5" (4.5wraps); 48" (2.5wraps)
Second leg: 19" (6.5wraps); 36" (4.5wraps); 48" (2.5wraps)

Jig, a couple leaders in grey and olive, and Steve Zondag's book

Tip - a small knit-picker makes forming the shorb loop a lot easier and I've found that working the knit picker into the last loop of the leader and then grabbing the tippet ring with the hook allows for slipping the loop over the ring to make the leader to tippet ring loop to loop connection A LOT EASIER.  Happy furling!


  1. Mark
    The furl leader is something I have never tried when fly fishing. This is on my bucket list---it is sleeting here right now, not a good time to fish----thanks for sharing

  2. Cool! I've never made one, but use Blue Sky furled leaders on most set ups from small stream to ocean. Love em! Only issue is real cold weather - nothing like casting 5-9 feet of ice beads to slow your loops down :) I'm going to have to check out that book - thanks for the idea Mark.

  3. Alan, Bill and Hibernation - thanks for the comments. These leader are great for small stream fishing. The only issue is, as Hibernation points out, they can be a pain when the temp is below freezing because of all the surface area on these leaders They become real ice magnets! I've found that loading them up with paste floatant helps. Once you get the hang of the process, the leaders can be made easily but like most things there is a learning curve. Before I put the jig away I will make some 7 1/2 foot leaders for dry fly fishing next season.

  4. Mark, not to be a smart azz, but what happened to the other 20% of the leader - or does the tippet account for for the remaining 20 percent? I've made furled leaders using mono before on a similar looking jig, but I've never tried the thread ones. I'll have to spin some up this winter.

  5. Anonymous - I had the leader formula incorrect. The leader setup I used is for a 40/40/20 leader, the last 20% being the tippet. Sorry for the confusion

  6. Thanks for the formula. I was shown the technique by Darrel Martin when he visited South Africa many years ago, and have been a fan of furled leaders ever since. In terms of ice problems: an idea... I treat my furled leaders with a thin film of UV Knotsense, which reduces absorbency, and gives them the slightest of "backbone". It might just help with that ice (But what would I know, coming from sunny SA!)