Thanks to Alaska West guide Kyle Shea for today’s post!
At Alaska West we have the privilege of fishing with guests from all over the world, many of who have fished the world over themselves. Therefore, we’re always excited to hear some tricks of the trade that our guests have picked up in their travels as well.
Today’s tip comes from John Travis of South Africa who we were fortunate enough to host on the Kanektok with this season.
While chasing chrome bright King Salmon, we noticed John spinning up some Maxima Ultragreen into furled leaders to add both strength and a better turn over of our flies.
Here’s how he did it:
- Start with roughly six feet of 15 to 20 lb. test Maxima Ultragreen.
- Double over the top 3-4 feet and make 3-4 turns to create a loop in the butt section of your leader.
- While holding the twisted portion in your right hand and the untwisted portion in your left hand, use your thumb and index finger to tightly twist the leader into a tight rope in the same direction of your first wraps. Allow the twists to slide through your left hand as you continue to make your twists all the way to the end of the doubled over portion of the leader.
- Tie a double surgeons knot in the bottom of the now furled section to keep it from unraveling.
- Attach to your sink tip or fly line with a loop to loop connection.
This method has two clear advantages. The first is the ability to create a tapered style leader to better turn over larger “intruder-style” flies with only one spool of leader material (very helpful when fishing in the Alaskan Bush where running to your local fly shop isn’t an option). The second is the ability of the furled section to stretch and act as a shock absorber when putting the pressure on Mr. Big.
But we fish for much more than King Salmon here at Alaska West! The same technique works great when mousing for big Kanektok rainbows as well. Start with roughly 12 feet of 15-20 lb. Maxima Ultragreen, double over the top 6 feet and follow the same steps above. The result? A longer leader that is great for those clear water years, but is still able to turn over wind stricken mouse patterns.
Tip: Try using a lighter test leader material and repeat the furling process to create a three step tapered leader.