How to Choose Your Furled Leader
Over the last few years we have seen Furled Leaders making a move back into the fly fishing community. With this you are seeing more and more options coming to the market. This is a great thing as it drives the manufactures of them to be not only competitive, but also innovative. We believe we shine in both these areas. With all the choices though it can be difficult to choose the right leader and set up for you and your needs. Here we will help you choose the most effective leader.
First let’s talk about the difference between a few leaders. We offer two different leader choices, our regular line up of leaders and Platinum Series. The difference between these two are significant. The regular leaders are constructed like your typical furled leader, and made like a two strand rope. Although still better than the other leaders on the market we felt like we should offer something even better.
The Platinum Series is constructed like a three strand rope, which gives it a tighter more compact furl. Along with this we also get a rounder cross section that helps make them more aerodynamic, cutting through the wind better. The tighter furl also gives them more power and line control, helping you cast longer tippet with greater ease.
Let’s start off with your Dry Fly Leader. For fishing dries we want something that is going to give us both delicate presentation, line control, and drift. Our Featherweight (light all-purpose) leaders do just that for you. The regular Featherweight comes in 5′ for 0-3wt and 6′ length for 4wt plus, and will cast 5′ of tippet very well. The Platinum comes in 5′ for 0-3wt and 7′ length for 4wt plus, and casts up to 7′ of tippet for a long 14′ leader to fish those small dries to spooky fish. After much casting I’ve found that casting longer leaders from 10′ or more gives me better turnover and presentation. Our Featherweight comes with a core in the butt section to help stiffen the leader to cut through the wind better, and handle larger more wind resistant dries.
The Platinum goes on the end of my fly line every time to fish dries. Our favorite is the Hi Vis tip leaders to help us track and sight our small dries that can be difficult to see at times.
The BIG HOG (medium all-purpose) furled leader will also work great for dries if you want a leader you can switch back and forth from dries and heavier flies.
We prefer using Tip Rings (ours are very high quality made in Japan) on these leaders for the quick change of tippet it provides, but a Shorb Loop would work great as well. If you choose to get a Shorb Loop simply tie a loop knot in your tippet and attach using a loop to loop connection. The Micro Swivel would be a great option if you are going to be casting bigger more wind resistant flies to help reduce any twisting.
NYMPHING & Small Streamers
For fishing nymphs and or smaller streamers the Big Hog is the leader you should use. This leader just like the Featherweight comes in 5′ length for 0-3wt and 6′ for 4wt and above casting up to 5′ of tippet. The Platinum series comes at 5′ for 0-3wt and 7′ for 4wt plus casting up to 7′ of tippet, and casts two fly systems with ease. These leaders will work with Thingamabobber as well. Once again I like longer leaders and find better turnover and drift. This leader is constructed with a core of premium FC to help stiffen the body of the leader and transitions to a straight FC tip. This gives you the most punch for a nymph leader. We prefer to use ours with a Hi Vis butt section of a bright polyester thread about 12″ long. When treated this section floats acting as a strike indicator. If you put a mark using a black Sharpie every one to two inches you will get a segmented indicator helping you detect the more subtle strikes. The BIG HOG can also double as a dry fly leader making it a great do-it-all leader.
STREAMERS / Sinking Leader
For fishing large articulated streamers or sink tip lines the HOGzilla leader is the right tool for the job. This leader is constructed of only the finest most premium FC. It is a short compact leader at 3 1/2′ long, and will cast up to 5′ of tippet. This is for several reasons, first being that when casting larger and articulated streamers you need a shorter leader to help provide the power to turn it over. Second for sink lines you need to use a shorter leader so that your fly will sink more uniform with your line. The longer the leader the more variation you will see in the depth of your fly with your line. We prefer using the Micro Swivel on these to help reduce some of the twisting you will get with heavier weighted flies. However you can still fish either the Tip Ring or Shorb Loop just as well.
We prefer to store our leaders, when they’re not in use, on these NIRVANA Leader Rig Holders. This allows them to dry rather than sealed back in the package, and you can write on them what leader and for what size rod weight on them easily. These are also quicker and easier to get out and put on the line. You always want to store them out of the sun and high heat, as this will shorten the life of your leaders.
FURLED LEADERS VS BRAIDED LEADERS
Furled leaders and braided leaders are often thought to be the same thing. Although similar they are different. The main difference is that a braided leader has a hallow core that absorbs water making them heavier and spray water. A Furled leader doesn’t have a hallow core and if furled tight enough not collect the water in its crevices. A good float paste and the leader is good to float. We recommend using Otter Butter as it will last you all day rather than having to reapply several times during the day. NIRVANA Floatant is also a great option and will last much longer than Gink or many other floatants.