Frequently Asked Questions

Is this a new product?

The furled leader has been around for generations and was invented sometime in the 1700’s. They were originally woven by hand from silk or horse hair. However, cheaper materials and faster leader production methods all but eliminated their availability and use. But because of its many important advantages, the furled leader is enjoying a rebirth of its use, especially among dry fly fishers.

Today, BlueSky leaders are woven from over 90 feet of premium quality nylon to a length of 5 feet 9 inches (our Stillwater leader is 8′ 4″ in length and is woven from over 120 feet of premium nylon).

For top-water dry fly fishing, your leader will cast amazingly long tippets and delicately settle on the waters surface. Their wonderful casting characteristics along with the fact they have very little drag allows even “non-expert” fly casters to greatly improve presentation of their fly. Many experts acknowledge that presentation comprises about 80% of the factors that determine success.

BlueSky is the largest weaver of furled leaders. Thousands sold worldwide each year.

How is a furled leader different from a tapered mono leader?

Did you ever notice when casting an ordinary mono leader, that the leader, tippet and fly often end up in a big pile at the end of the cast? That’s because a mono leader does an inadequate job of “turning over” the tippet and fly. This happens even more often when casting into a head wind. And casting into a side wind with a mono leader is a hopeless adventure. Our furled tapered leaders provide a beautiful balance of mass to length, thus driving the fly to the target with authority.

Your casts will turn over every time. Because our furled tapered leader has such an efficient transfer of power, it can cast very long tippets and is effective turning over large or small flies. Furled leaders are much easier to use and more economical than mono leaders.

How do I attach the furled leader to the fly line?

Your leader can be attached to the end loop on any fly line since it has a built in loop at its butt end.
See step-by-step photos to add a loop to your fly line.

How do I attach the tippet to the furled leader?

Notice that the leader has a very small loop at its tip end. We recommend tying a 6-8 inch extender onto the tip loop using a clinch knot. Then tie a loop onto the other end. Attach your tippet to this loop. This extender allows the user to add and remove tippets quickly, protecting the furled leader loop. This eliminates the possibility of snipping off the tiny leader loop when changing tippets.

Recommended extender material: Ultralight 3X, Light 2X, Medium 0X, Heavy 20 lb. test

How is a furled leader different from a braided leader?

Our furled tapered leader is not a “braided” leader. Conventional braided leaders have a hollow center that tends to pick up and hold water which in turn makes the leader heavier and effects casting performance. When cast, a braided leader also has a tendency to ‘splat’ the surface of the water and spray the small droplets contained in its core. These negative characteristics put down or “spook” fish. BlueSky furled leaders have a solid core and do not have these negative characteristics. Additionally, most braided leaders are too limp to fully turn over the tippet and fly.

How long will a furled leader last?

Our Furled Tapered Leaders are tough and very durable. The typical life of a BlueSky furled leader is measured in SEASONS vs. days or even hours for an ordinary mono leader. This feature of durability makes the furled leader an economical option and will save the owner considerable expense. As with all fly fishing gear, proper care and handling will add to life. BlueSky furled leaders only require normal care.

  • Use tippet material of a diameter recommended on the package.
  • Do not jerk or excessively stretch the leaders.
  • Do not false cast without a piece of tippet attached.
  • Clean the leader with mild soap and water if it discolors.
  • Use of the furled leader in below freezing weather is not recommended due to the probability of ice build-up.
  • If excessive pressure on a furled leader causes the furling to unravel, the leader can be “reloaded” by simply grasping the leader at both ends and gently stretching.

Can I roll cast using a furled leader?

Besides the improved distance casting you will experience with our furled leader, you will not believe how well they roll cast. The secret to the roll cast is taking advantage of the “surface tension” of the leader and tippet as the cast is drawn toward the angler. The natural weave of our furled leaders allows for slightly more tension resulting in beautiful roll casts – even with very short casts.

The taper and balance of our leaders provide a smooth continuation of the fly line. This means, that where a mono leader can collapse into a pile at the end of the roll cast, the furled leader will turn over and deliver the fly to the target.

How can I tell the difference between a BlueSky Furled Leader and a not-so-good, cheap imitation?

  • Is the leader made of premium nylon rather than fly tying thread? We will never sell a furled leader made from fly tying thread.
  • Does the leader have up to five tapers expertly woven in? Some others cut corners by weaving only one to two tapers! Our leaders have up to five tapers, depending on leader length. Don’t make the mistake of buying cheap furled leaders.
  • Are the leaders available in correct sizes to match the line weight you are using? Or are they a one-size-fits-all leader? BlueSky’s 18 different furled leaders are matched to your line weight and fishing conditions.

Why does BlueSky use nylon instead of fly tying thread to make furled leaders?

Believe us, we have tried every conceivable material for making furled leaders. Whatever their claimed advantages, furled leaders made of tying thread have some serious disadvantages:

  • Fly tying thread is not suitable to be a fishing line. All the characteristics necessary for a fine furled leader are absent with fly tying thread — such as suppleness, durability, transparency and elasticity. Thread-made leaders are far less durable than leaders made with nylon. Nylon is also more abrasion resistant.
  • Because furled leaders are like a spring, storing their energy and releasing it quickly, nylon does a far better job. Our furled leaders offer a 10 – 15% stretch for shock absorbency. Tying thread, on the other hand, offers none of the elasticity that is an important feature of a premium quality furled leader. Good luck if you try to pull a thread-made leader off a snag.
  • Fly tying thread, regardless of its color, is an opaque material. When woven into a leader, this opacity is an immediate disadvantage, rendering the leader visible from below. Our UltraLight, Light and Medium furled leaders are woven from near-clear nylon. Enough said.
  • Thread-made leaders also will have a tendency to mildew, unlike nylon, especially if put away wet. And they are more difficult to keep clean.
  • Thread-made leaders have a tendency to be too stiff or too limber, depending on the thread used. BlueSky furled leaders have been very carefully designed and woven with high quality nylon fibers of the correct diameters and proven taper formula to ensure unparalleled performance, casting and presentation.

Does the furled leader float or sink?

Your leader is woven with nylon that has a neutral buoyancy. We chose this nylon so anglers who were fishing “wet” would be able to get the leader and fly down to the chosen depth.

On the other hand, your leader will float beautifully for dry fly fishing by applying a light coating of silicone floatant to the entire length of the leader when it is dry. Occasional re-application may be necessary, just as it is for your fly.

What about tippet size and length?

BlueSky Furled Leaders are about 5′ 9″ long. Normally, tippet lengths will be 3 – 6 feet long, resulting in an overall leader length of about 8 – 12 feet (or longer). This length can quickly be adjusted according to conditions and preferences. Suggested tippet material:

  • UltraLight Size Leaders we suggest 4X and finer material
  • For the Light Size Leaders we suggest 3X and finer material
  • Medium Leaders, a piece of 0X and down
  • The Heavy Leaders have a built in extender of 20 lb. nylon to attach any size tippet desired.

One does not have to cut back, rebuild or even put on a new leader when fishing conditions change. Simply tying on a different length or size tippet is the only leader adjustment required.

What happens if the tip loop breaks?

Fear not. Occasionally, due to excessive strain or long use, a tip loop can break. Simply gather the leader strands together and secure them with your hemostat or tying vice. You can whip-finish the strands and trim if you wish. Now, tie on a mono extender using a nail knot. Then tie a perfection loop to the tag end to make a 4 to 8 inch extender. We offer a great nail knot tool to help you do this easily. Dab knot with super glue or “Knot Sense.” Your leader is now as good as new.

Recommended extender material: Ultralight 3X, Light 2X, Medium 0X, Heavy 20 lb. test

Why not use fluorocarbon or Kevlar® to weave a furled leader?

Fluorocarbon, Kevlar® and the assorted exotic fishing lines are not suitable materials for furled leaders. We have tried them all! They lack the characteristics required, such as suppleness, durability, transparency and elasticity. Even if they were suitable materials, the cost might make the price of a furled leader prohibitive.