Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Furled Leaders from Arizona Wanderings

I have used furled leaders for many years.  Except in a few unique situations, I use them nearly exclusively.  This includes on all of our local Ozark waters and the places that I have traveled for fly fishing in the last decade (Colorado, Alaska, Belize, Gulf of Mexico, etc).  My point here is that the furled leader is extremely versatile for me and can be used for nearly every situation. 
I have experimented with many leaders over the years made from monofilament and fluorocarbon.  I have found that certain material works better in a certain situation but I don't tend to over analyze and have found that either of these materials are very similar.  Monofilament tends to float a little better but it also has a tendency to be a bit larger if you are worried about leader shy fish. 
I know a lot of guys make leaders from UNI thread but this had really never appealed to me. No specific reason, I was simply happy with my leaders.  Recently, I acquired a couple of hand made UNI thread furled leaders from Ben Smith at Arizona Wanderings.  I don't know Ben but after trying these leaders, I felt it worthwhile to give feedback on a good product. 

My initial impression of these leaders was positive.  First, Ben does a great job in the process of these leaders.  The quality of the manufacturing of these leaders is obvious with a nice taper, shorb loop, tippet ring, professional packaging, and instructions.  They were also very flexible and supple to handle.  I was impressed but the real test would be on the water.
Recently, I was able to give the leaders a few days testing on the water in various conditions and will give you my honest opinion. 

  • Soft, supple, yet they take charge when casting.  They will lay out a fly as soft as any leader I have used.  They cast better than the mono and fluorocarbon leaders I have used and I have tried many.
  • Quality manufacturing and packaging.
  • Price - a $10 leader should last months
  • Custom made to your satisfaction in length and color
  • Shorb loob for attaching to fly line.
  • Tippet ring for quick change of tippet
  • I used for dries, nymphs, and small streamers.  The leader is versatile.
  • Not really an issue but you need to grease the leaders.  Ben tells you this so it is not a new discovery.  The UNI thread absorbs water.  The good news, when you grease them, they float very high.
  • Durability - Time will tell but I used for three full days and the leader looks brand new.  I expect them to last many, many, trips.
Overall benefits of using a furled leader:
  • No line memory
  • Turn over and presentation
  • Minimal wind knots
  • Durability
  •  One leader covers multiple fishing situations
Take a look at Ben's site.  He has other products, does great gear reviews, interesting blog entries, photos, etc.   I follow him via all these networks and find the Arizona diversity from our Ozarks very intriguing.  
Instagram - azwanderings
Twitter - AZWanderings


  1. I recently changed out a leader Ben gave me after 15 months of fishing it. They are durable and very well made... nice review!

  2. A while back the salesman at our local Cabela's talked me into trying a furled leader...I fished it with dries on the Eagle River in CO and could not believe how nicely it laid down a dry fly. However, when I used it on the Roaring Fork with my nymphing rig it just didn't fish because the one I have wants to float. I love the idea of the durability of a furled leader, and one that would fish nymphs sounds even better! So, I am curious if you fished subsurface with it?

    1. Steve,
      I fish it for drys, nymphs, and streamers. For sub-surface nymphs, i attach the indicator to the leader and then run the tippet the distance I need for the water depth. In these instances, I still like my leader to float. For streamers, I want it to sink.

  3. I'm pretty new to this whole fly fishing thing so I'm not kidding when I say that I had no idea there were leaders made out of anything other than flourocarbon and mono! very cool!

    1. Juan,
      Experiment and see what you like.

  4. I've got a couple of those tucked away in my leader wallet that havn't seen the light of day since I purchased them on a whim. After reading your review I think I'm going to have to pull them out and give them a try.
    Nicely done review...

    1. They will turn over a smallmouth popper very well!!

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  6. Nice review Lynn and I concur completely. Ben sent me some leaders after I purchased a t-shirt. They are well made and make for a great presentation. Thanks for the review and thanks to Ben for a great product.