03/16/10
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.   Blue-winged Olives
2.   Little Black Winter Stoneflies
3.   Quill Gordon Mayflies
4.   Blue Quill Mayflies
5.   Little Brown Stoneflies
6.   Little Black Caddis (American Grannoms)
7.   Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)
8.   Midges

New "Perfect Fly" Braided Leaders
Yesterday, I wrote about testing various configurations of monfilament nylon leaders
and announced our new "Perfect Fly" Mono Tapered Leaders. During the time I was
doing so, I purchased some braided and furled leaders made of monofilament nylon
and tested them. Up until that point, I will admit, I had never used a braided or furled
leader. What I found was quite surprising. I really didn't expect much of them,
thinking they were just another items to have that wasn't really necessary. I was
wrong about that "off the wall" guess. They all worked quite well. The problem was,
how would I get them made if I did decide to design my own and add them to our
Perfect Fly line of items. They are obviously not made by a machine. They are hand
made.

The big advantage of the braided or furled leaders is that you don't have to change
them. You just tie the heavy loop end to the fly line and add tippet to the other end.
Instead of having to change leaders for different fishing conditions and methods,
you just add tippet of your choice to the braided leader. The same braided leader
will turn over a hook size 2 streamer or a hook size 20 dry fly.

Another advantage is that they cast much easier and more accurately. The offer a
big advantage if there's any wind. Unlike the tapered mono leaders, the braided
leaders have little memory. They turn over flies much easier than the single strain
tapered leader.

Again, like with the tapered mono leaders, I wanted to come up with a design I felt
would be useful for most common trout fishing situations. I purchased every furled
or braided leader I could find in a fly shop or on the Internet. Then I proceeded to
find the one I liked best. What that ended up amounting too more than anything, is
the length of leader I needed for a particular situation. Once I decided on the
proportions of the multi-strain sections and lengths of the tapers, I was in a position
to work out the other details. By the way, that was basically arrived at from formulas
that had been successfully used for years dating back to the days when braided
leaders was made from horse hair. I just refined the details to my personal
preference. Braided leaders are not new. They are were made hundreds of years
ago.

Fishing the small, freestone streams in the Smokies is one thing, and fishing the
waters of the South Holston River is another, for example. I use anything from a nine
foot leader (total leader and tippet length) in the Smokies, to a twelve foot and
longer leader (tippet and leader length) on the South Holston. There was not any
one furled leader length that would work for both. For example, the six foot furled
leader with three feet of tippet, worked great for what I wanted for the Smokies but I
would have to add as much as six feet or more of tippet to it for the South Holston.
That doesn't work. Our six foot leader will turn over a three or four foot tippet with
ease, but not six feet of tippet.  What I finally settled on was two basic lengths - a six
foot and a ten foot length. Our ten foot braided leader will turn over as much as five
feet of tippet with ease. It is used for streams where you need a long leader. The six
foot version works for most situations.

Another big advantage is the way the furled leader presents the fly. They deliver the
fly accurately and delicately. They land on the surface of the water gently. The
suppleness and mass of the butt end of the leaders turn over and straighten the
tippet. The fly lands where you want it to land.

The final advantage of the furled leaders is the cost. They have a higher initial cost,
ten to twelve bucks each compared to four bucks for a tapered leader, but they last
much, much longer. You just take the tippet off the end loop and add whatever
tippet you want, from a 0X to a 7X size. You can continue to use the same leader
over and over for a long time.
Our new "Perfect Fly" Braided Leaders.