In this article I'm going to go over the contruction of the Jig and all the tools I use to make Furled Leaders.
This Jig is lightweight, portable and very inexpensive to make. You can change the number of sections and length easily after completed if you decide to experiment with other leader formulas or want to make shorter or longer leaders.
- 1/2" Schedule 40 PVC x 10ft (Length depends on Jig size)
- 1/2" T-Connectors x 7 (Two more than the number of steps in Jig, see calculator)
- Small Lighting Stands x 2 (from eBay)
- 1/2" ID O-Rings x7
- PVC Cutter
The lighting stands are standard lightweight stands available online. I get mine for about $20 shipped for a pair. Whie the stands are optional, they make using the jig a breeze. You could just clamp the jig to a table or couple of chair backs etc... if you wanted. Search eBay for "2 x Lighting Stands" looking for the lowest price stands at the right height. the 86" stands seem to the be the ones that are the right price. There are some 30" stands, but that is a bit short.
Start by opening the Furled Leader PVC Jig Calculator and deciding on your length and number of "sections" in your leader.
Each Section is where your leader will step down in size. For stiffer, leaders you might want to use a "3 step" configuration, and ultra fine very long leaders maybe the "6 step". For general leaders that seem to work good for everything I throw I use the "5 step" configuration.
Enter your desired length of the final length (without tippet) of the leader in the yellow box at the top left of the spreadsheet. I like 6ft leader with 3-5ft of tippet depending on the situation, so I put in 72".
The twisting compensation box is if you find your using materials that once the leader is completed you're ending up with shorter than expected, you can add a buffer percentage here to change the Jig configuration. I've found for most materials the percentage is 0.
You can also adjust the taper percentages for the leader to give you a longer butt with shorter tip, longer tip, etc. This will all change the turnover of the leader and its presentation. The defaults are what I use, feel free to adjust and experiment on your own.
For this article we are going to assume you'll make the 5 step leader @ 6ft long using the default tapers as shgwn above. The white row on each step's box shows the lengths of PVC you will need to make your Jig. Simply mark and cut each section from your length of 1/2" PVC and mark each section (Section 1, Section 2, etc...) so you know where they go in the chain. This is especially helpful if you've adjusted the taper and your 3rd section might be longer than your 1st for example.
You will need some "pegs" for the Jig. Using your PVC cutter cut 8 6" sections of PVC. 5 of these will be pegs on the Jig, 2 will be the start of each leg (1 and 2) and the last section is the riser to the start of the Jig.
To assemble your Jig, grab all your connector pieces and place 4 of your "pegs" into the T sections as the "leg" of the T. (See Photo). Place one peg into the "arm" of the T-connector (doesn't matter which side), this is for the end peg of your Jig. Take a peg and place the last 2 T-Connectors on each end of it using the "leg" hole of one and the "arm" hole of the other. Place the remaining 2 pegs into the "arms" of the connector with the peg in the "leg" hole. Turn the connectors so the "leg" of the one without a peg is 90 degrees from the one with the 2 pegs in the arms.. This will be your Leg1 & Leg2 Pegs at the top of the Jig. (My Leg 1 and Leg 2 Section for the start of the Jig is using a 4-way connector currently as I have been experimenting with adding additional sections above the start for indicators etc)
Take section 1 and place it in the "leg" hole of your Leg1 & Leg2 section made above. Place one of your pegged T-Connectors on the end and rotate the peg towards you. Place section 2 into the other "arm" hole of the peg connected to section 1. Place another peg at the end of section 2 and rotate the peg away from you slightly. Place section 3 into the end, then another peg rotated towards you. Place section 4 like the previous this time rotating the peg away from you. Take your final section and place it in the end of the section 4 peg and place your end peg connector on the end of the section 5. This will be connecting with the "leg" hole of that peg, do not rotate this one.
You now have your completed Jig! There should be 2 open "arm" holes at the beginning and end of your jig, this is for your lighting stands to hold the jig up. The lighting stands have a lug on the top that fits perfectly in Schedule 40 1/2" pvc for a snug fit. Setup your stands and place the jig on them. Set the height so you can work on the leader without having to bend over and get a sore back.
The Jig has 2 "legs" hence the rotating of the pegs towards and away from you to help separate them. When you start to wrap your line on the jig, the reasoning for the 2 legs will be come much clearer.
Place an O-Ring on the end of each peg, this will help keep the line from slipping off during the winding process, just a little insurance against ruining a leader.
Now that you have your Jig completed lets take a look at the tools needed to make a leader.
- Nit-Picker tool
- Con-Air Hair Braider
- Safety Pins x 3
You'll use the scissors for cutting tag ends of line so they do not need to be anything special.
The Nit-Picker tool will be used for making your Shorb Loops in the end of the leader.
The tool that makes these all possible with the least amount of effort is the Con-Air Hair Braider. This kids grooming product has a head with 2 posts. Flipping the switch to "1" spins the 2 posts clockwise and is the first step in the twisting process when making the leader. Then when the switch is flipped to "2" it spins the entire head with both posts counter-clockwise which finishes the furling process. You can use a drill, Dremel tool, or some other contraption to make your leaders, but this is by far the easiest and least complex method I've found with this tool.
Safety pins will allow you to hook the loops of the leader to the hair braider as well as capture the tippet ring when spinning it up.
Finally, the materials needed to make the actual leader.
- Leader Material - Uni Thread, Mono, Flourocarbon, etc...
- Tippet Rings or Swivels
Leader Materials - I like to make most of my leaders out of 2lb P-Line CXX Flouro-Coated Monofilament. 2lb test line builds up a nice leader usable from 1wt through 5wt. Stepping up to 4lb test line will allow you to build more stout leaders for larger rods up to 8wt. Uni thread is very popular for making leaders and creates the ultimate dry fly leaders. Combining materials to make blended leaders has been my latest experiment and I really like the performance of the thread leaders with a mono core. For Pike and Bass I've been making leaders out of Flourocarbon with a 40lb spectra core wrap. This makes a SUPER strong leader with 0 stretch for the most part.
Tippet rings or tiny swivels give you a nice attachement point for your tippet with no risk to damaging the leader itself when re-tying. I get mine from a vendor on eBay and they have performed very well for me. I've never broken a tippet ring, even on my Pike/Bass leaders.
The next article in this 3 part series will be making the actual leaders, stringing up the jig, twisting the legs, and completing the leader.