This homemade furled leader post has been in the making for some time now; and I’ll admit that I may write about it again once I try some new formulas. Last year, a friend of mine gave me a leader he had furled himself. I didn’t fish it much right away, but I was instantly fascinated by its construction. I had no idea how it could have been made out of tying thread with a few other supplies. Long story short, I learned to make my own (with plenty of help from friends), and never looked back. I’ve been using the same leader for almost 6 months now, and I’ve caught fish with it using everything from tiny dry flies to over-sized streamers (ok, these are a little tougher to toss, but its still doable). There are a lot of ways to do this, but here is how I make mine.
Leader jig (this is a whole separate post post in itself…another time)
6/0 UNI thread (olive and tan are my favorite combo)
2 thumb tacks
2 paper clips
Homemade dubbing loop tool/weight
Drill with small curtain hook attached as bit
Supplies and whatnot…
Begin by laying your leader jig on a flat surface and tying your thread to the center hook. Even though I’m using the side hook here…trust me, its easier using the middle one.
Wrap your thread around the nearest peg on the left side (when looking at the starting point) of the board.
Wrap around the first peg and back around the hook for a total of five times.
After five turns around the first peg, wrap around the hook and down to the second peg.
After wrapping around the second peg, bring your thread to the first peg; and pass the spool through the five loops you just made.
Wrap around the second peg for a total of three times. Each time, pass the spool through the loops you made around the first peg.
After three wraps around the second peg, advance to the third and final peg, making two wraps. Again, each wrap will pass through the loops made on the second peg.
After the final two wraps, bring the spool back to the last peg, and tie off.
Tie a second strand of thread to the hook where we started and begin the same wrapping sequence…five wraps, then three, then two (Yeah the above pic is after the twisting process…but bear with me here). Once both sections of thread are tied off, we can start the twisting process.
Loop the end of your wraps through a paperclip, then loop that through the hook attached to your drill. Fire up the drill, and begin twisting.
Approximately 2 minutes is what worked for me. The longer you twist, the better (and tighter) the furling process will turn out. Regardless, I suggest timing the twisting process, as you want each side to be twisted as tight as the other. This creates an even furl.
Once twisted, tack down your first loop of thread. Repeat the twisting process with the other side.
Note that twisting one side will cause the section to pull towards the starting hooks. Again, tighter is better here; and by timing yourself, you can help get this as even as possible.
Then grab your weight…mine is a homemade dubbing loop tool made with a cabinet knob, a piece of a coathanger, and some 5 minute epoxy. Next, transfer both sections to one paperclip, using your knit picker or bodkin to help make a small opening near the clip.
Next, stand your jig up, so your thread sections hang freely and watch it spin!
Just about done here…you want it to stop twisting completely. Once the spinning is complete, you can remove your leader and take a look at it.
If your leader come out like this, you need to start over. I kinda screwed up on this one while combining the sections and tried to salvage it (never works). Notice how the twists look kinked and not very tight.
Much better…this is what we’re looking for. Make an overhand knot at each end to keep the leader from unfurling, and trim the loose ends.
On each side of the leader, make an overhand knot with the tag ends, forming a loop on each end of the leader. Next, tie off the tag ends created by the overhand knots. Dot the knots with superglue and let dry.
That’s it! Once the glue dries, your furled leader is ready to fish. To summarize, the formula for my typical trout fishing is 5, 3, then 2 wraps around the three pegs, respectively. A thicker or thinned taper can be achieved by making more or fewer wraps at each section. I should also note that the distance from my hook and the final peg is 88 inches. Once furled, trimmed, and finished, my finished leaded usually stretches around 72 inches or 6 feet. I then attach a section or two of tippet from there, and I’m ready to fish. It will be a little firm at first; but after a day or so on the water, it will soften up. It will naturally absorb water and sink, lending itself to nymph and subsurface fishing. But a light coat of floatant will keep it up on the surface for hours if dry flies are the order of the day. Plus their texture helps prevent drag, which can ruin even the most accurate cast. Aside from the economy of making my own leaders (did I mention that I’ve been using the same leader on my trout setup for over 6 months?), they flat out work. Give em a shot and I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed.