"Furled leaders". An honest product review by YellowStoneFly of the Idaho Fly Fishers Blog. Occasionally, as a lifelong fly fisher and blog contributor, I am asked to review fly fishing products by new companies. I agree to do so and in return write an honest opinion regarding the product's quality and functionality as a fishing tool. Here I was asked by Jaime of Zen Outfitters to try out their furled leaders and give my honest opinion. So here goes.
The word "furl" means basically:
As a transitive verb - to roll up tightly and make secure, as a flag to a staff or a sail to a spar.
As an intransitive verb - to become curled or rolled up.
As a noun - a roll or coil of something furled.
Furled leaders have been around for a long time and, as with many early fly lines, were originally made from silk or horsehair. These leaders are made from over 90 yards of Uni Brand thread and are ALL handmade. They are very labor intensive to make--thereby the price tag. They are produced in multiple colors which to me has great advantage when fishing very small dry flies in certain light. You may be able to see your take easier if multiple fish are rising. The colors in no way affect the functionality of the leaders nor do they "spook" the fish. Why? You are attaching a long piece of tippet, usually 3-7 feet, to each leader. And the way the leader lays out each cast, your leader should be no where near the fish of subject.
Why pay 2-3 times more for these furled leaders? First and foremost, they are FAR superior to monofilament leaders. There is absolutely no memory when reeled onto your reel. They are far more supple than mono and they lay out the fly where even, in my opinion, the novice will get far more distance with each cast. Zen's leaders have a loop on the butt end making for an easy line attachment. Of significant advantage is the nickel alloy tippet rings on the small end for ease of tippet attachment. This is what really sets the good furled leaders apart. To me, the 78" 5 weight leader is perfect for the dries I like to fish on most of my 9 foot, 5 weight rods. You simply will not believe the potential difference you will experience in you casting. Mending is simple, wind knots are almost unheard of and they float perfectly. I do believe these leaders will last for many seasons with proper care. Find a mono leader that will last you even a full season (without getting a "terminal wind knot"). Thereby, I can easily say your extra cost is justified.
I simply cannot say enough about the Zen Outfitters handmade leaders. Kudos to Jaime. I will soon be trying his sink product and can't wait to try out the different colors of Zen Ultra Iridescent floatants. PS-Zen Outfitters is located in southern Idaho so they got to be good guys!
Happy Idaho Fly Fishing,
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