Twined or furled leaders
Step one - the concept
By Henk Verhaar
Background (This page)
Do-it-yourself: the board and weights
Making the loops
Twisting and twining
Attatchement and variations
Comments and suggestions
There's a picture of a finished leader and a close up showing the detailed structure.
By Henk Verhaar
I always preferred braided leader butts over hand-tied leaders, let alone knotless tapered leaders.
While hand-tied leaders are reasonably cheap, if home-made, and can be tailor-made to fit all possible circumstances, I didn't care too much for tying up all those barrel knots, especially while on-stream, plus there was this time that I generated too many wind knots in my leader to really enjoy FFing ;-)
Every now and again (well, more like every hour or so) the wind knot would end up in the butt section of the leader, and would invariably be much too tight to even consider untangling it, leaving only two options: rebuild the leader from the clipped butt downwards while on the stream or scrapping it altogether and tying on yet another leader. The braided leader butt didn't have these drawbacks -- they offered, to me at least, better presentations, more ease of use, and almost all knots in the braid are simple to unravel.
Their one main drawback was their price. I had of course heard of the tricks one could play with the level braided mono lines, to build a taper in them by removing strands at different lengths, but this seemed to me to be more trouble than it was worth. So I continued buying tapered braided butts and trying to be careful with them.
Then one day there was this guy at our monthly FF club meeting showing us how to create simple, very effective twined leader butts, that could be home-made with a few inexpensive supplies, had all the advantages of braided butts, and could be custom tapered and modified to be at least at versatile as knotted leaders; even more, since this design allowed for interesting things as creating sinking leaders by adding copper wire.
Another advantage of the twined butts is that they additionaly act as shock absorbers, since the twist acts like a coiled spring -- thus obviating the need for e.g. a piece of powergum in the instances where this is called for (to be honest, there's also a drawback to this recoil effect: when you get your fly stuck in a tree or other object some distance away and have to pull the line to tear it free, you 'load the spring' of the butt quite heavily, and when the fly comes loose, the coil will unwind rapidly, severly twisting your leader tippet -- this can, however, almost always be undone easily and without lasting ill effects).
Suffice it to say, that after I procured the materials to make these twined leader butts, and made a few to acquaintance myself with the procedure, I haven't used anything else since!