Twined or furled leaders

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Step six - Martin's variations

By Martin Joergensen

Also read the Q&A section

I tried using the weights for making the twined leaders as descibed by Henk Verhaar, but soon got tired of spinning. In stead I started using a hand held cable free drill, and that actually worked like a charm. I stuck a hook in the drill and grabbed the lower loops of the leader with this hook and drilled away. A minute for each half was suitable (it's a slow drill).
After doing this I used Henks description to finish the leader, but actually thought of using the drill to twine the strands too. The advantage of the drill is that the whole process can be done with the board lying down and that (almost) no manual work has to be done.

Number of strands
I also experimented with the number of strands and thickness of the line. I used 0.18 (4X) line for my first leaders and was quite pleased with the result.
My last variation was in not using superglue (I didn't have any and I generally don't like gluing line). I just caught the loops with a thicker strand of monofile, and attatched the leader to a loop on my fly line with the help of this strand. After attachment to the loop at the end of my fly line I just removed the strand of mono. The joint is smooth and effective. At the business end I used a Trilene knot to attatch the tippet right away. This is not as good as I'd like, but will work until something better comes up.

The leaders are indeed very good: they stretch very fine but still have a delicate movement. They come cheap -- I made three from a spool of monofile that cost DKK 40.- (US$ 8.-). That would normally buy me one braided leader here in Denmark.

Latest version
My latest variation on Henk's leaders is on length and placement of the plugs in relation to each other. I did a bit of spreadsheeting, and drew some curves. My final leaderformular is as follows:
The plugs have been moved a bit. This doesn't have the big effect, but when using my formula it produces a smoother taper. The single plugs or rows are set as follows:

  1. Hooks
  2. 80 cm
  3. 130 cm
  4. 160 cm
  5. 188 cm
  6. 220 cm
Salt water leader
For my general purpose salt water leader I use 0.23 (2X) Berkly Trilene line which is thick but very soft. I make 2 turns on top 1 turn in the middle section an 1 turn on the lower.

The single turn is made by tying the tag end to the lower section of the middle loops in stead of to the bottom plugs. This produces a nicely tapered leader with a fine tip of four strands. I attatch a section of 0.26 (1X) to the tip of the twined leader if I want a longer tippet. If not I use a 50 cm (1') piece of 0.23 (2X) Drennan Double Strength as a tippet.
This setup works like a charm for my 6-7-8 wt. salt water setup with almost any fly from size 10 to 2.

All'n'all a great type of leaders.


User comments
From: Tony · kleinboet·at·  Link
Submitted March 5th 2011

Hi I'm getting into furled leaders. Please confirm for me the peg spacing above is as follows. 2 & 4 on one side of the board, 3 & 5 on t'other? Similarly, with the leader calc series, how do I figure out which pegs go where ? I get most of the measurements. but there seems to be a difference between the strands and the 5.5/2.5/1.5 this allows for three pegs yet there are five strand lengths Much appreciated.

GFF staff comment
From: Martin Joergensen · martin·at·  Link
Submitted July 16th 2007


It's regular fishing line. I buy bulk too, and I like the Trilene for its suppleness and good price tag.


From: Don · don·at·  Link
Submitted July 16th 2007

Is the 0.23 (2X) Berkly Trilene line tippet or just regualr mono fishing line. If it is fishing line what pound test would it be, maybe 2lb? I would like to buy it in bulk rather than 30 yard spools.

From: Chuck · chunk07·at·  Link
Submitted November 19th 2006

Try Shorb loops for finishing your leader. Google Skip Shorb for info.

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