Furled Leaders or Not Furled Leaders?
I recently won a furled leader at our last local Trout Unlimited chapter meeting, and wondered what would I do with this? I started asking myself a few questions, such as will this furled leader float? Will it spook the wary trout in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park? Will it cast decently? I discovered answers to all of these questions today while fishing the awesome waters of Nolan Creek, in the GSMNP.
I fished Noland creek one week ago, and I used my knotless tapered leader, as most of us do. I had a great day catching many nice rainbows on my number 12 Fore and After pattern. I never thought about using the furled leader. To be honest, I did not know how to use the thing. After a bit of research I decided I was going use the furled leader all day today, no matter what happened.
I have to say I was pleasantly suprised, or better yet...I am hooked for life! For starters, the furled leader has no memory, unlike the tapered leaders I normally use. (No memory means no loops left in the leader.) Trying to stretch out the nylon and/or fluorocarbon leader is quite a chore and never really happens.
Secondly, the furled leaders cast like a dream, allowing for delicate presentations of dry flies to wary mountain trout. All of the energy generated in the casting stroke truly makes its way through the furled leader, allowing for great casts that are effortless. I found myself catching multiple trout out of pools I normally struggle getting a good presentation in most days.
Furled leaders either have a tippet ring or a shorb loop. This allows for quick and easy tippet changes. Quicker tippet changes equal more time fishing and less time rigging.
Furled leaders do cost bit more in the beginning, but the value over time justifies the cost. You actually end up saving money in the long run. Furled leaders can, and will, last an entire season versus that of the standard nylon or fluorocarbon leader. You will need to apply floatant to the furled leader, but I found mine floated all day with no problems using just one coating.
I consider myself an above average fly fishersman, especially when it comes to catching fish in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. After using the furled leader today, not only do I feel more confident than ever, but also believe this year will be the best ever! I challenge you to get out of your comfort zone and try a furled leader. You can find the Cutthroat Furled Leader at Tuck Fly Shop in Bryson City. Pick one up and see if it's for you.
**Shannon Messer is a friend of Tuckaseegee Fly Shop. He is also known for his quality flies called Appalachian Flies. Shannon also serves as the Fly Shop Guru at Blackrock Outdoors in Sylva NC. Find Appalachian Flies on Instagram and Facebook for a closer looks at his patterns.