Cutthroat Leader Company’s furled leaders have been quite the mystery to me. I’ve always been intrigued by the claims that they present flies much more delicately than standard leaders, while at the same time improving your casting efficiency. This always seemed too good to be true. At the same time I was having pretty good luck making my own tapered mono and fluorocarbon leaders, so I couldn’t justify spending the money (upwards of $15 for one leader!) on an untried piece of equipment.
I think it is probably fairly clear from the content on this website that I don’t do a ton of dry fly fishing for trout. Due to my location in Metro Detroit I focus mostly on warm water species and then making my trips up north for Salmon and Steelhead season. This is something I am looking to change. I love the tranquility of an early morning or late afternoon on a trout stream. The relative peace and quite as compared to a day on the river during peak Salmon/Steelhead run is very appealing. But, in the past, I have had the attitude of, “why drive several hours to hopefully catch some small-ish trout, when I can stay in town and surely catch some nice bass or pike?”
This mindset has equated into me mostly tying my own short tapered leaders for streamer fishing, or swinging flies with sink-tips just using a single piece of tippet. But in my effort to get the trout fishing bug, I decided to make an impromptu visit to “stockerfest” on the Huron River. Every year the DNR stock a bunch of trout near Proud Lake for local fisherman to enjoy and get trout season started on the right foot. So I grabbed my little 4wt rod, but neglected to tie up one of my own leaders, and instead reached for an old 7x tapered knotless mono leader that I had laying around. I got to the water and looped on the leader to my fly line. My frustrations started as i was trying to straighten the leader. It had been so long since I had worked with such a fine line that I immediately snapped off the bottom couple feet of line. So now I had a 7′ leader instead of 9′. No big deal, these weren’t going to be particularly picky fish. But the ensuing series of wind knots and poor casts as I tried to throw a small indicator and bead head was eye opening. First and foremost, my casting skills are not where they need to be. But also, I thought, there has to be a better way!
So finally, after this exceptionally frustrating day on the water with a store bought knotless 7x tapered leader, I decided to give Cutthroat Leader Company a try. These guys seem to have a furled leader for every situation. I decided to buy an assortment of leaders to try and incorporate them into all of my fishing, not just dry fly fishing for trout.
I may split these out into separate reviews as I get more water time with each of them, but here are the lines I started with:
- 50″ Short Rod Dry Fly Leader – This is for my 4wt. It is a little 7′ rod
- “Big Bug” Nylon Floating Leader – One for my 5wt and one for my 8wt
- “Big Bug” Floating Leader w/ Indicator – For my 4 or 5wt – comes with thing-a-ma-bobber
- 36″ Furled Fluorocarbon Sinking Streamer Leader w/ swivel – For use on my 5wt
So as you can see I wound up with quite a few options, both for my normal warm water fishing as well as trout fishing.
On the Water: Cutthroat Leader Company’s Furled Leaders
My first couple trips to the water with these new leaders were short “after work” trips to the Huron River in Ypsilanti. I didn’t spend much time on the water and managed just a couple of white bass. I have to say my initial impressions of the Cutthroat Leader Company’s furled leaders were good, but not great. My streamers were turning over well, but I had my hopes set on some earth shattering results. I wasn’t really disappointed, the increase in durability is cause enough to give them a try. It was also fairly windy so I didn’t want to place too much judgement on them so soon. After all, they performed fairly well.
On my next trip I was bass fishing on a lake from a boat. This trip made me a believer. With some extra time to experiment with different flies, and with the fact that I actually caught some fish, I was able to really appreciate the difference these leaders make. I was able to turn over large streamers with ease on my 5wt, and throwing a very large deer hair bug on my 8wt was a dream. I was casting better than I ever have before. Even when my form was a little loose I was still achieving good distance, accuracy, and presentation.
I have yet to try the dry fly leader, that is on the docket for my next trip. But I am totally convinced due to the casting and presentation of the nylon and fluorocarbon leaders that the thread dry fly leader will also impress.
The “big bug” nylon furled leaders are awesome. They are neutrally buoyant so they float with poppers and suspend/sink with streamers. This is great when fishing shallow with a fly like Blain Chocklett’s Game Changer in shallow water. Suspending flies float and flutter perfectly with this nylon leader, and the versatility of being able to throw a floating bug on quickly, without changing leaders is great.
I also really enjoyed fishing the fluorocarbon “sinking” furled leaders. It is great on an intermediate line to give the fly just a little more depth, adding another 1-2″ of sink rate. This helps fish that same suspending fly a little deeper along a drop off without changing its movement like adding weight would do. They are also available dressed with a small barrel swivel. I ordered mine with this option, and it really helps alleviate much of the line twist associated with typical streamer fishing.
My experience convinced me to buy several more Cutthroat Leader Company’s furled leaders today. Soon I will have a dry fly leader, nymph leader, “big bug” nylon and fluorocarbon leader for each of my fly rods.