One of the cool parts about getting into fly fishing for me in the first place was the fact that I didn’t need a metal lathe to carve out my own indigenous buzz-baits and Panther Martins, and perhaps any other lure that look a like kind of procreative amalgam of the Millennium Falcon and Minnie Pearl’s earrings. By the time I was two weeks into fly-fishing (with an eight-foot telescoping rod given to me by an elderly gentleman at church. So the sojourn to the telescopic is actually a circuit completion for me), I had already figured out how to tie an elk hair caddis from a rented Gary Borger video. First trout for me on a fly I tied: a sixteen-inch native rainbow. KA-POW!
I can’t even imagine continuing in the discipline without tying my own flies; it is a legitimate part of the joy in this. And being the progenitor of a design not previously seen on the water that produces fish is even cooler—I am especially fond of what my friend Creighton calls “secret squirrel stuff.” Having my own fly, or permutation of an existing one, has some times made the difference between productive heaven and dearth hell.
Tenkara, if taken in its purest form, would eliminate most of the tomfoolery to which I am accustomed. And though I intend on fishing traditional flies on an upcoming outing, I ultimately will also most likely find myself somewhere in the twilight of the king’s English and pidgin American sign language when it comes to the flies I’ll actually depend on for the actual subterfuge.
So it goes without saying, that when I noticed that I could purchase leaders that look like the binding thread for a tweed suit, I was somewhat excited. When I realized that I could make my own, in various colors and with materials really only limited to the imagination (and tinsel-strength, but why ruin someone else’s experiential learning curve by warning them about a level line made of 8.0 cotton thread), I knew I was one step closer to being a geek. But a geek that gets to tie more stuff.
As coincidence would have it, the one and only issue of Hatches Magazine that isn’t packed away in some box in my house happens to have an article on furling leaders. I had previously read the process elucidated in Tenkara, by Kelleher and Ishimura (with admittedly, some degree of confusion, but since re-reading the process, I realized I made too much of the issue. Somehow I confused furling with braiding) But their process is even more professionally polished; their taper is created by the preparatory steps creating the implied thickness into the entire 10 ½ foot length before completion (a method I hope to master). The method I am using for now connects three sections of tapering thickness, approximately five feet, three feet, and two-and-a-half to three feet at the thin end. But at the end of the day, it looks, acts, and feels fantastic.
While I will not illustrate the process I am using on this post (I will, with pictures soon), I will say that I have thus far only fished tapered, furled leaders that I have made. But I am interested in the ones sold by www.TenkaraUsa.com; a company which has already impressed me with their contact, promptness, and quality.