My '89 has a screen. Not entirely sure how critical it is, if that screen is stopping something that made it through the fuel filter, there are bigger problems than not having the screen there. I suppose if the filter disintegrates, it will stop that. But IIRC the screen wasn't super fine, and could let something through big enough to clog a jet anyways.
I also had a similar leak as the OP, thought it was the flared fitting, but it was the one on the bowl.
I also used to put teflon tape on flared threads, but agree with most here that if it is leaking, teflon shouldn't be used to stop it. Something is up with the flared fitting.
1989 ProStar 190 with "Safe T Top", 351 Ford, GT 40 heads painted Ford Blue, Elec. Ign, 1:1, 720 hours, 4 blade prop, PP 6.5, removable platform brackets, custom color from factory, hot water shower, Boat Buddy & LED lights on trailer
2010 D3 Z7, 2 @ 32 off, 34 mph so far