The Leader

A good rod can turn over a long leader. A good leader can turn over a small dry fly delicately to convince those picky fish that the bit of thread, feathers, and fur tied on that piece of sharp metal wire is really a delicious meal.
About two years ago, I read an article on, I think MidCurrent, all about furled leaders, and how great they were. So I did some searching the Internet, and found little company that made and sold them, and I paid the higher price (furled leaders are generally 2-3 times more expensive than monofilament leaders), and I soon got the leader in the mail and attached to my fly line. It was almost life changing, not to be too overly dramatic. The leader turned over the smallest dry flies with ease, and beauty. I enjoyed watching the thing lay out almost as much as I enjoyed the whole act of fishing. I learned that they're a little more high maintanence than mono leaders—being made out of thread, they absorb water and eventually begin to sink, so they have to be treated with floatant periodically—but I found it was a trade I was more than willing to make.
After a few months, I started looking into how to make my own furled leaders, and it wasn't long before I had bought the materials to make a jig. I first made the jig according to a formula that some guy shared on a forum, then began playing with my own lengths and tapers, and after a few weeks I had settled on a satisfactory design. The way a furled leader is made, is thread is wrapped in interlocking loops around a series of pegs attached to a board, set at varying distances, and then the thread is twisted together to form a sort of cord, or rope that tapers just like a monofilament leader would, to taper down from the fly line to the tippet, to transfer the energy generated by the rod and line down to the fly to place it in range of a feeding fish.
I've since been selling my leaders through a few different places. It's not as profitable as I'd really like it to be—I'd like to make enough money for it to be my main source of income—but so far it's put enough money in my pocket to pay for my fishing licenses here in Utah, and Idaho.
The leader—and tippet—can really make or break a day on the water. Too big, and they can spook fish, or slap that tiny midge on the water and mess up that needed delicate presentation. Too small, and they fail to put that big hopper out where it should go.