Leaders for your Bamboo fly rod! … which is best?

Leaders…furled, braided, hand tied knotted, tapered one piece. That about covers it! What’s the best one? Well that’s kinda up to you and how you define ‘best leader’ For a long time I used commercially available tapered leaders with a section of tippet tied on the end. This allows you to change flies often and when the tippet get short simply replace it. You can also change the size of the tippet just as easily. Well if you fish for a while and you are like me, you always want to try out new stuff (that’s what got me into building bamboo fly rods!)

Seems that the next progression is to hand tie some leaders! There are a bunch of recipes on the internet for all kinds of fishing situations. Hand tying leaders is a lot of fun and just like catching fish on your own flies, that you so carefully tied, using your own leaders just adds to the fishing experience. Nothing like seeing a leader turn over and present a fly just as it should be! Blood knots are probably the tradtional knot for making leaders but I prefer to use two nail knots slid together! I have never had a nail knot come loose and I use them for everything including tying on my flies! I also prefer to use a Tye Fast nail knot tool and here is a great video on how to use them.

So what’s next? Well let’s look at furled leaders, don’t confuse these with braided leaders. I don’t know anything about braided leaders because I honestly have never used one! What I have heard is that they have a tendency to spray water when you are casting with them. This has been enough to deter me from even trying them! I know…not fair. But that’s enough for me. Especially with the great results I have had with furled leaders. Again making furled leaders is a lot of fun. You need to make a ‘board’ to furled them on and you will want a few tools to help you with the process. Even though you can get by with a cordless reversible drill, there are other tools that make the whole process more fun. Once you get tooled up and get yourself some material, you can make a years supply of furled leaders in just one afternoon. You can make them in all kinds of configurations and in both treated to float or not treated so they get waterlogged and sink! So you can see that you can make them for just the type of fishing you are doing at any given time. Here’s a link to a great write up by Claude Freaner on the subject of making furled leaders.

So there you go, just a few thoughts on leaders, try to make some, it’s a great way to extend your sport, maybe just another rung in the ladder on your way to making a bamboo fly rod!

Enjoy the summer!

Joe E. Arguello


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2 Responses to Leaders for your Bamboo fly rod! … which is best?

  1. Mark Steffens says:

    Your steps to tying furled leaders are identical to mine with a lot of time between the steps: 1968 – buy prepared leaders; 1975 – Get leader tying kit..make your own; 2000 – tie furled leaders…wunderbar!
    Gordon, I used to have a slight problem with twisting when I used wet flies but none since I now use a tiny tiny swivel from Jann’s Netcraft – did I mention they were tiny? (little to no effect on my casting at fly fishing distances). When I dry fly fish, I have no twisting issues. They work for me. YMMV

  2. I bought one furled leader and it was pure hell for twisting up. Never again.
    Too much fuss is made about leaders.It always amazes me how much variation in leaders we can get away with.Years ago, I tied up a 22 footer and thought it the best leader ever. Still have it, safely tucked away.
    I really like best the early, before they cheapened them, Orvis braided butt leaders. But, really, almost anything will do as long as we understand that nylon doesn’t handle nearly as well as Spanish silkworm gut , diamond drawn in the fine diameters. Gut took more care ( kept between glycerine soaked pads) and didn’t live as long, but it cast beautifully. Such a pleasure to feel in the air.
    The barrel knot ( in parvenu lingo referred to as a “blood knot”) is the greatest blessing to our sport. Tying it, or trying to tie it, has caused more would-be fishermen to give up and stick with golf than any other factor.
    How could you use a nail knot to tie on a fly? And why?
    If we get too wound up in knots, we will end up like Lefty Kreh.

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