furled leader length

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Scotty MacFly 1 year, 3 months ago.

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    Scotty MacFly

    Hey gents, I have a few furled leaders from Zen Outfitters and I absolutely think they are awesome. ( Thank you Creek ) They are the longest dry fly leaders they have, I think 72 inches long? On my 9ft rods I really like them, but on my shorter rods like 7’6″ I find them to be too long and kind of a pain having to pull them out from the tip of the rod all the time so I don’t take a chance on snapping the rod tip off or anything like that, then I can start to cast.

    I sent Jamie an e-mail and asked what length would he suggest for shorter rods? His reply was an open window. “The longest possible.” Ok, that leaves that to private interpretation.

    I can leave well enough alone, but my question is, would going to a shorter furled leader be worth it it the long run? With the length I have now, with tippet added, it’s around 9ft. total length. When I fished with mono leaders, I would use 7.5′ leaders, plus tippet to make it 9′ long. No reason to go any longer on the waters I fish. But shorter lengths can work.

    Would I be sacrificing anything using a shorter length furled leader on shorter rods for smaller creeks?

    That’s my question.



    I never use a leader longer than the rod length. For shorter creek rods I use a 50″ Zen and add tippet.

    A long leader on creeks will just lead to getting snagged all the time.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by  Creek.

    Scotty MacFly

    I was thinking the 50″ leader. I may just go ahead and get some. What can it hurt to try, right? And I can’t see what real difference it will make for the creeks, like South Boulder Creek or the Saint Vrain creeks. I do believe however, that with a shorter rod, with a shorter leader, I may be able to have better line control when the fly comes down closer to me.

    So many times I will stand behind a line of rocks in the stream and cast up, watching the fly float back down towards me as I strip the line in, and the leader will come back through the tip and a few guides, then when I start to lift the rod, that’s when those pesky little critters want my fly, and I’m afraid if I hook one big enough the tip of the rod may grab the connection from my line to the leader and snap off.

    I have stood back aways from the rocks, but the water flowing over them catches my line and it starts to create drag pulling the fly though the water.

    Besides, I really don’t think the fish care at all about the length of a furled leader. They don’t seem to be bothered by the longer ones, but yet mono leaders untreated with something like snake mud do bother them at times because of the reflection? Is that right? I know it has something to do with the way the sun shines through the mono they see, and it can spook them. But coating the line so it sits in the film doesn’t. Might as well just use fluorocarbon.

    Does a furled leader sit in the film, or does it ride above it? Is that why furled leaders don’t spook fish?



    I think they don’t spook trout, because they land soft and are so limp it’s easy to keep the drag out.
    How they look isn’t as important as the tippet. That’s what the trout are looking at. The line and furled leader is just a stick floating by to the trout. Keep the sheen off the tippet and you’re fine.


    Scotty MacFly

    That brought up something in my little brain. Follow me here, because I am going to be thinking out loud as I type this.

    A furled leader, being light and limp, shows no sheen and supposedly rides high on the water surface.

    Mono, being a material that the sunlight shines through unless treated, can spook fish especially in low clear water.

    The only leader and tippet stuff I can find is Loon Snake Mud. And when I apply it on the line it dulls it, so sunlight doesn’t shine through it as well. But…..when I wash my fingers off after applying it, it washes of my fingers very easily. So what the heck is keeping it on my tippet material????? Isn’t it washing off just as easily? I saw that Oliver Edwards uses that Earth something whatever it’s called, and he said to apply it before applying floatant to your fly because it will wash off and floatant wont, and you don’t want floatant on your leader. No duh.

    How about not applying any treatment on the tippet, but instead, use a sharpie, brown or black, and color your tippet so the light doesn’t shine through it? A sharpie will last longer than mud, and it’s cheaper. I wouldn’t use a bright color, because light will still shine through it.

    I’m going to try that. I’ll color some line black, put it in a glass bowl and look at it from underneath outside. I will let you know what I think.

    OK, from now on, I’m coloring my tippet black.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by  Scotty MacFly.


    You’re confused, Scotty. The Mud doesn’t put a coating on the tippet/leader. It’s an abrasive and sands off the shine. It dulls it up if you will. You want what’s left to wash off. That’s why Oliver says to do it fist before handling a floatant. So, it will wash off.
    I use Fullers Earth just like Oliver. I get it from the UK.

    Coloring it black won’t accomplish anything. It will then just be black and shiny. The shine it what you want to get rid of.

    Now, stop thinking!


    Scotty MacFly

    I didn’t know it sands off the shine. I thought it just camo’d it up and let it sink down into the film a little more.

    And the stop thinking thing, sorry, can’t do it. My mind is like a finely tuned watch. It just keeps ticking away and coming up with things that just pop into it. It’s how I learn. I see things in a whole different spectrum. I think I get it from my grandfather. He tinkered with things a lot, and came up with ideas that he should have had a patent on, but didn’t care to go that far with it. The man was brilliant.
    I will admit the tree sap used as a floatant wasn’t the greatest idea, ok? 😀 But some of the greatest thinkers in history were sometimes considered to be nuts now and then. Ha ha. I figure I’m in the right place.

    As for the coloring the line, I did try a piece with no coloring, and it did reflect the sunlight through it in the water. As for the line I colored, no shine whatsoever. Looked like my furled leader, but only black. It actually reminded me of the photos of that sunrise fly line.

    Besides, if I don’t think, how am I ever gonna know as much as you. And you have 20 years on me!! You can’t tell me you learned everything you know from not thinking, can you? When it comes to fishing, you are the one I really pay attention to, so, if your not thinking, and I’m not thinking, what the heck are we doing? It’s all trial and error my friend, trial and error. 😀 😀

    Ah, I crack myself up sometimes. Yeah creek, you’re gonna get a kick out of watching me fish when we meet up next summer. But you can deny you know me, that’s what my wife does sometimes.

    And on top of all that, I’m Scottish. That’s Greek for GENIUS. LOL.

    I’m gonna stop now. It’s getting real deep now with the bovine scat. 😀



    Thinking is fine if you come up with the right answers. 😀


    Scotty MacFly

    I may as well then give it up and just fish. 🎣😀



    If use a longer leader what would be the problem?


    Scotty MacFly

    How long is too long? I have read people using very long leaders. And on lakes and slower low water conditions you may want to use a leader/tippet of maybe 12 to 15 feet long.

    My issue is for the waters I fish and my shorter rod, my furled leaders are too long, so its causing minor problems as when pulling in a fish the leader enters into the guides and if the fish makes a strong last run for an escape, it can break my rod. Also, I have to wrap my tippet around the reel or rod, or wad it in my hand while moving around like walking the banks.
    I know, little whiney butt issues, but its becoming an issue that’s a thorn in my side.

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