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Furling Leaders My Way

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  • Furling Leaders My Way

    Well, I finally got the chance to document the process I use to furl leaders. After the last two Flings where there was a lot of interest in the process and my ongoing tweaking I have finally got a process together that produces some real nice leaders. We have other folks on NGTO that furl and each adds their own twist (pardon the pun) to the process. This is my first draft, and I ask others that furl to please keep me honest and if something can be explained better to help me clarify it.

    I titled this Doc "Furling Leaders My Way" cause after much research and learning from trial and error I have taken ideas from many different sources and combined them into mine. I created this originally in a Word Doc and if you would like I can email it to you, just PM me.

    So, here we go.

    Furling Leaders My Way


    1- 10 ft piece of 2X4
    1- Small piece 1X4 for the head piece that holds hooks

    A - 2 hooks
    B - 2, 1 ” springs that stretch fairly easy. I found mine at ACE Hardware (#84 Spring).
    C - Clippers to cut mono or thread
    D - A hook for drill made from stiff wire like a hanger
    E - Multi direction drill
    F - Mono. I use 2lb Moss Green Trilene for most of my leaders, but you can also use Fluorocarbon or Uni-thread. Whatever you use, you just want it to be a small diameter. The 2lb Trilene I use has a .006 avg dia.
    G - 11 Small spools with dowel piece jammed into it. You can get these small spools from craft stores.
    H - Knit picker tool. You can also get this from craft stores (JoAnn's).
    I – A 2 oz lead weight with a hook

    Constructing Furling Jig:

    1. Take small 1X4 piece of wood and fasten to end of 2X4 with screws and screw in hooks at top.

    2. Take 10’ 2X4 and mark of locations to drill holes that will hold the spools with dowels. Measuring from the top of the 2x4 measure down and mark these locations. You will have two legs for the furled leader, Leg A and B.

    These measurements are for a 5ft leader.
    Leg A – 18 3/8”, 36 1/8”, 56 ”
    Leg B – 10 ”, 27 3/8”, 45 3/8”
    Center – 5' 7"
    * Note mark these holes with a #5 so you will know these are the holes you will use for the 5’ leader.

    These measurements are for a 7ft leader that when furled reduces down to 5 ’ to 6’ leader.
    Leg A – 18 3/8”, 36 1/8”, 53 ”, 71 3/8”
    Leg B – 10 ”, 27 3/8”, 45 3/8”, 62 ”, 80 ”
    Center – 89 3/8”
    * Note mark these holes with a #7 so you will know these are the holes you will use for the 7’ leader.

    These measurements are for a 9ft leader that when furled reduces down to 8 ’ leader.
    Leg A – 21 ”, 39 3/8”, 56 ”, 71 3/8” (this one same as 7ft), 96”
    Leg B – 13 3/8”, 30 3/8”, 48 3/8”, 65 ”, 83 ”
    Center – 113 3/8”
    * Note mark these holes with a #9 so you will know these are the holes you will use for the 9’ leader.

    3. Drill holes that will accept the dowel in the spool snugly. The use of the spools with dowels will allow you to reconfigure the jig between a 7’ and 9’ leader lengths easily.

    4. I also cut my 10’ 2X4 in half and then used a dowel drill guide to put holes on one side and dowels on the other so I can put the two 5’ pieces together when using and take them apart when storing or transporting.

    Furling Process:

    1. Take your spools and push the dowels into the holes for the length of leader you would like to furl and don’t forget one for the center.
    2. Tie a loop (surgeon or perfection) in your mono or thread and put onto hook at head of jig.

    3. You can start either on the A or B side, I start with B side which is furthest from me when the head of the jig is to my left.

    4. I take the mono and loop around the first spool (B-1) and back up and around the hook.

    a. The number of times I loop it back and forth depends on the weight of line I’m going to be connecting this leader too. When I use the 2lb Trilene I have found that if I start of with 5 loops at the top and then work my way down reducing the number of loops I get a nice butt end diameter that matches the diameter of most 5wt fly lines. This match in diameters I feel will allow for a smooth transfer of energy from line to leader.
    b. So for a 5/6 wt line leader starting from the top here are the number of loops: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 then back up the other leg 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (this will make more sense later)
    c. For a 3/4wt line leader starting from the top here are the number of loops: 3, 3, 2, 2, 1 then back up the other leg 1, 2, 2, 3, 3.
    d. As you get comfortable with furling you can play with these numbers to customize the leaders to perform to your needs.

    5. For this 5wt leader, after you have looped from hook to spool and back up to the hook 5 times, extend the mono down to the next spool (B-2) and back up and slightly past B-1.

    6. This next step is the key in interlocking the subsequent loops. Take the spool and pass through the previous loop you created between B-1 and the hook. I pass the spool of mono through the loop so it passes over the loop leg closet to you and under the one furthest from you.

    7. Then take the mono spool back toward the B-2 spool making sure the mono does not wrap around the B-1 spool but interlocks with the loops created between the hook and B-1.

    8. Do this 3 more times so you have a total of 4 loops and then move down to the B-3 spool and repeat the handshaking process with only 3 loops.

    9. Work your down handshaking and looping.

    10. When you get finished with the single loop at the B-5 spool, you will swing the mono around the center spool up to the A-4 spool and create a single loop back down around the center and up to the B-5 spool were you will interlock it and come back down and up again but this time going up to the A-3 spool.

    11. Now just work your way back up toward the hook increasing the number of loops and interlocking till you are up at the A-1 and hook with 5 loops.

    12. Once you have ended with the 5th loop up at the hook cut off mono giving yourself enough of a tag end to tie in a knot. I wrap the tag end around the strands of mono below the hook and tie in a clinch type knot.

    13. Now go down all the “A” spools and pull the interlocked loops off and clear of the spools.

    14. Take one of your springs and hook it through the loop fastened at the hook.

    15. Attach the other end of the spring to the hook locked in the drill.

    16. Spin this leg clockwise with drill till you have a nice tight twist in the leg. Allow spring to stretch and keep tension on the leg.

    17. After some practice you will be able to tell when the leg has been twisted enough by the stretch in your spring. Note: don’t over twist or you may snap the mono and have to start all over again.

    18. Once you have it tight enough, remove the spring from the drill hook and put onto the hook at head of jig where you removed mono from.

    19. Now go down all the “B” spools and pull the interlocked loops off and clear of the spools.

    20. Take the other spring and hook it through the loop fastened at the hook and spin it clockwise till tight and the spring stretch on this leg matches the first leg.

    21. Take both of the springs, remembering to keep tension on them and transfer back onto the drill hook. After some experience you will be able to just transfer the first spring to drill hook and even up both legs without having to transfer both back and forth.

    22. Once both are on the drill hook and spring lengths evened up, switch your drill to spin in the counter clockwise direction.

    23. Spin the two legs together keeping the springs tight. After a bit you will fell the tension of the furling pulling on your hand. Let it pull it slowly away from you while spinning.

    24. Once you have gotten a tight furl, holding the two springs remove from the drill hook and attach the 2 oz hook weight (1 oz pictured below). I found that the 2 oz weight works better and is less likely to bounce off the spring during this process.

    25. Let the weight dangle and allow the leader to unfurl excess spins and reach an equilibrium. Don’t worry it will not totally unfurl and you will know it has unfurled enough when the leader does not want to bunch up on itself if you put slack into it. You will know what I mean when you see it happen.

    26. Now you can remove the weight and take your knit picker tool and transfer the butt loops directly from the end of the springs to the tool. Then you are ready to put a Shorb loop into this butt section. Go to "Finishing Furled ends with Shorb Loop" section for details on making a Shorb loop.

    27. Once you have locked the butt end with the Shorb loop you can let it hang and move down to the tippet end loop that is still fastened around the center spool.

    28. Pinch the furled portion against the spool and lift loop off the spool. Grab loop and let it twist itself evenly down to a nice little tippet loop. Sorry camera could not focus onto the small loop.

    29. Now I like to put a tight Shorb loop at this end as well. Some folks like to get one of the micro rings or swivels and put it on this end.

    30. You are finished ! Go try out your new furled leader Tight Lines !

    * Note: To make a 9’ leader you would follow the same steps as above, but you would move your spools into the holes you marked for the 9’ leader length.

    Here are links for tippet rings or micro swivels:

    Tippet Rings

    Micro Swivels
    Last edited by SlowStreamer; 05-08-11, 02:23 PM. Reason: Added information for a 5' leader
    Nothing is impossible the impossible just takes a little longer. So take your time and enjoy the experience.

  • #2
    Finishing Furled ends with Shorb Loop

    Finishing Furled ends with Shorb Loop:

    Nothing is impossible the impossible just takes a little longer. So take your time and enjoy the experience.


    • #3
      For those of you that wold like to research further into the world of Furled Leaders go check out this site.

      These guys are seriously into furling leaders. When I was looking around I found documentation on automated furling jigs.

      A lot great of information out there, check it out.
      Nothing is impossible the impossible just takes a little longer. So take your time and enjoy the experience.


      • #4
        Very nice tutorial. I think that even I can follow your directions. Maybe this can be made into a sticky.
        ad illudendum , et in sibilum

        "Laughter is my drug of choice"
        - B. Nelson, HSD, AA, BS, MS, LPC, LMHC, NCC, FFF CCI, ACI, PADI AD, OPP, OCD, ADHD, ODD, PIB, MIB, PBR, PB & J, General Manager of the World, Fluent in Sarcasm

        TBoy to GB: "An education doesn't fix stupid, you're living proof of that "

        "Your a Idiott" - RScott

        I Beat Tommy King in a Spelling Bee.


        • #5

          Will remain a DA and keep buying/bumming same. TRW -----BTW, If I wanted /was able to make leaders, your instructions are dandy.
          Last edited by watkins; 12-29-08, 04:31 PM.


          • #6
            FANTASTIC instructions!

            Thanks for putting this together and sharing it!

            Would you mind if I printed them out and shared them with an upcoming class? We've been talking about a "special session" on making a furling jig, and this would be the perfect addition!

            Thanks again for preparing and posting the info!


            Steve Hudson


            • #7
              Is Uni thread any better than other brand tying thread? Seems like 6/0 or 8/0 would be best. For smaller rods maybe even 12/0.What size have you found to be the best?
              The first thing scripture tells us about man is that we're made in the image of God. The second thing it says is that man should have dominion over the fishes of the sea.

              The right flies at the right time: Monthly Fly


              • #8

                go right ahead and use as you would like. I will email you the Word Doc so you can print it out easily.


                you can use any small diameter thread. I name Uni-thread cause most people on here will know what it is.
                Nothing is impossible the impossible just takes a little longer. So take your time and enjoy the experience.


                • #9

                  the file was 38MB and to large to email. I planned on contacting you today to try and hook up so I can pickup the DH flies from you. I will put the file on a CD for you.

                  Also, let me know when you plan on having the class and if I'm in town would love to come over and demo the process.
                  Nothing is impossible the impossible just takes a little longer. So take your time and enjoy the experience.


                  • #10

                    Thanks for posting this. You are a generous man.

                    I built a jig this summer and made a few furled leaders with 6/0 thread. Going to make some more soon and your info will help me a lot. Much appreciated.



                    • #11
                      Great message

                      NGTO is all about sharing the wealth of knowledge we have here, and Sam helped me get started months ago. Now it is an obsession, I furl for fun and my wife thinks I have gone nuts.

                      I have used about every type of line / thread you can imagine and if you start, have a trash bag handy, I threw away many a tangled birds nests.

                      If you haven't had a chance to throw a Unithread leader with a dry fly, you don't know what "soft" is.


                      Support the Mission Statement - buy the TU License Plate!


                      • #12
                        I agree. Unithread is my favorite. The fly lands so delicately looks almost as if it is floating down to the water.
                        I know where they live, I know what they eat. Now it's time to fool them with thread, feathers and roadkill.

                        ------Team Norvise------


                        • #13
                          Thanks SS

                          Sam - Thanks for the time and effort you have put into this - great photos and directions. I built my jig based on your earlier directions and it has worked great.
                          Scott - sorry for the delay re info on the hair braider, but I found mine on Amazon, and also on eBay. You want the Conair Quick Braid - the 2 pin braider. Around $20 delivered. Haven't found one locally, but have not looked beyond WalMart and Target. (No, we're not trading beauty secrets, this will allow you to spin both legs of the leader at the same time, making sure that both legs are evenly spun.) Still working on the tippet rings.


                          • #14
                            Thank you

                            Be careful, I have made so many in so many colors and sizes I don't know what to do with them so I have taken to giving them away in the parking lot at Paces. It is just fun and once you fish them, you won't go back.

                            The rings are the ticket for Uni leaders and aren't hard to put on, I ordered 60 four weeks ago and am now out. I am going to order more this week and will look at getting 3 MMs as well, so let me know if you need some.


                            Support the Mission Statement - buy the TU License Plate!


                            • #15
                              Do you use these for dry flies only or for wet fly/nymphing as well?