How to Make Connection For any Fly Line

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“Making the Connection”

by Chico Fernandez
photos by Chico Fernandez
Its not all line-to-leader knots are created equal. It pays to understand which somethat you use to the line in your reel.
The author prepares to release a hefty bonefish taken on 6-weight tackle, where the proper line-to-leader knot is essential to holding and landing your quarry.
ONCE OR TWICE A YEAR I conduct section of my fly-fishing school out upon the flats, where my students and I will spread over to hunt for bonefish. During these sessions, I see all sorts of fly-rod and fly-line combinations, along having a great sort of rigging methods, leader constructions, and knots. Some are extremely good ; some not excellent in the least.

On a single particular day during an incoming tide, several large schools of bonefish roamed all around the “classroom. ” A couple of anglers were attached, but I noticed one guy who were fighting a similar bonefish for a good length of time. He‘d the fish in close, however the bone always were able to remain a couple of yards from reach. Walking toward the guy, I spotted his problem from 20 yards away : The knot joining the fly line towards the butt section from the leader was too big to pass with the rod’s tip top, and also the length from the leader allowed the fish to swim from reach.

Frustrated after several attempts to land his quarry, the angler relieved pressure upon the line by lowering the rod tip and pulled the large ugly knot with the tip top. About that point, the bonefish, which were resting, made another run for freedom.

That nameless knot didn’t cause it to be back out. Instead, it lodged against the tip top, and also the tippet snapped. A student and I watched helplessly like the fish headed for deep water, and I explained to him that anytime you fish having a leader that‘s 10 feet or longer you will need to bring the butt section within the tip top to get the fish close sufficient to land. Therefore, the knot that joins finished from the fly line to the start of the leader should be not just strong sufficient to handle the pressure of the fighting fish, but additionally sufficiently small to operate easily with the guides.

I lent the frustrated angler one among my 7-weight outfits. The leader connection was a little, six-turn nail knot heavily coated with slick fly-line dressing. He made a couple of easy casts, and in only a few minutes, landed a bone right at his feet. It pays to get a good teacher — but it’s much simpler to find out a couple of knots.

There are many kinds of knots which are great for connecting the line towards the leader. The knot you finally choose will depend in your angling needs and the kind of fly line you‘re using.

For Floating Lines

When casting with floating fly line, I would rather attach a pacesetter with either a nail knot, a needle knot, as well as loop-to-loop method. There’s also the Albright Special, and that is as strong as or stronger compared to the nail knot, but it’s too bulky for my taste for light- to medium-weight rods. If you‘re fishing larger line sizes, say for example a 12-weight, a well-tied Albright is fine.

When tying a nail or needle knot, use a minimum of six or seven turns to obtain strength. But ensure that all of the turns are tight as well as. When the knot is tight upon the ends and loose in the center (that‘s, fatter in the center than upon the ends ), it is going to slide off. Whenever you finish tying the knot, coat it lightly having a self-leveling finish, for example some fly-tying head cement or Pliobond rubber cement. The finish doesn‘t give the connection more strength, but it will enhance its capcapacity to slide with the guides.

The needle knot is really a stronger variation from the classic nail knot, and it’s less obtrusive. Here’s how you can tie it :
The standard nail knot (top) is fine for most floating fly lines, but for an even slicker, more energy efficient connection (bottom), use a needle to run the butt section through the tip of the fly-line before tying a nail knot. The loop-to-loop method (center) must be small and compact to slide through the guides. This is the standard connection for monocore lines, where 12-pound mono works fine for the nail knot that binds the loop. David Klausmeyer photo.
Shave the butt section of the leader, and thread it with the eye of the needle. Insert the needle into finished from the fly line, and run it in the center a few 1 / 2 inch. Exit the side wall from the fly line, and free the needle coming from the leader. Then, pull several inches of leader out with the hole inside the fly line, lay the needle against the line, and tie a normal nail knot. Apply a coating of head cement. Now, have the ear of a needle knot, and that is slicker when compared to a nail knot. It will take longer to tie, but if you possess the some serious amounts of inclination, it’s worth the effort to find out. 

A loop-to-loop connection lets you completely change leaders inside a make a difference of some seconds, and that is why it’s popular with many anglers. This process of connecting the line towards the leader, however, won‘t slide with the guides as easily like a nail or needle knot.

Eliminate the end from the fly line and produce a little loop, about 1 / 3 inch or so — small the greater. Then secure the loop either by serving it with fly-tying thread, or better yet, secure having a six- or seven-turn nail knot using 10- or 12-pound-test monofilament. Whenever you complete the nail knot, cut off both ends from the mono, leaving only the knot to secure the loop. On larger fly lines, say 10-weight or heavier, some anglers use two small nail knots to secure the loop. Even with two nail knots, the loop connection remains very small.

Now, have a small loop at the conclusion from the butt section of your respective leader. Any loop knot, say for example a Duncan, surgeon’s, perfection, or no-slip mono loop, can do. Slide the monofilament loop with the leader loop, and run the tag end from the leader with the loop inside the line, and have the ear of a loop-to-loop connection.

Connections for Braided-Core Lines

In case you intend to fish inside a tropical climate, you’ll wish to use fly line which has a braided-monofilament core, which provides increased stiffness compared with other kinds of fly lines. The extra degree of stiffness helps prevent the lines from wilting inside the excessive heat and humidity from the tropics. Fly lines with tarpon and bonefish tapers, for instance, have braided-mono cores. Some manufacturers also apply a hard coating towards the lines, for added stiffness. These lines work great inside the heat, but your selection of connecting knots is limited.

Due to the stiff braided core, you can’t make use of a needle knot. And loop-to-loop connections work well only when the loop upon the fly line is extremely small — a loop one quarter inch in diameter Isn‘t too small. Because the line is stiffer bigger loops won‘t slide easily with the guides. I usually use seven turns givenfor my nail knot loops with braided core lines. A number of my friends use as much as nine turns.

If you would like a good smoother connection when compared to a seven-turn nail-knot loop, and wish to eliminate the time, here is yet another connecting knot.

Peel enough coating coming from the end from the fly line to expose about an inch or so from the braided core. Then, eliminate the bare core and produce an overhand knot, but before you decide to tighten it, slip the mono butt section from the leader through it. Then tie a typical nail knot right against the overhand knot. Then, tighten the overhand knot, which should prevent the nail knot from slipping.

Connections for Monocore Lines

Some fly-line cores are made having a single strand of 30-pound monofilament. On the floating line, with regular coating and microballoons for increased flotation, the mono core adds much needed stiffness for fishing the hot, humid conditions inside the tropics. When utilized in a slow-sinking fly line, the clear mono core, together having a clear coating, produces fly line that‘s practically invisible. This is a superb line for several angling situations.

The most critical point in a fight comes when the butt section of your leader enters the guides. Bulky or improperly tied connections will hang up and increase the chance of popping the tippet when the fish makes a final surge
But acquiring a knot to carry to monocore lines has brought some trial and error ; that’s since the mono, and that is slick, and also the line often come apart. There’s just no place for any nail knot to grab. And again, the core prevents the usage of a needle knot. Fortunately, there are many solutions.

The loop-to-loop connection works fine. Just serve the loop from the fly line with tying thread, or bind the loop from the fly line having a nail knot tied with 10- or 12-pound mono (albeit you can’t connect the leader having a nail knot, It‘ll hold the loop secure since it has got the doubled line to bite into ). Again, be certain the loop-end from the fly line is small.

Another method that may be used with some monocore lines usually is to peel off four to six inches from the line’s coating, after which, using the section of exposed monofilament, tie an Albright special or perhaps a blood knot to link the butt section. Then, coat the connection having a self-leveling coating or glue in order to make the rigging slide smoother with the guides.

Shooting Heads, Fast-Sinking Lines

Most sinking lines have cores of braided nylon, and all of the knots and associated tips mentioned above will apply. However, some sinking lines lately are made to the tropics, and that they could have cores of braided mono.

Instructions for many these knots are widely available upon the Internet and in fly fishing books. Familiarize yourself with each the strategies, and do not forget that it’s always better to prepare your lines before you decide to be able to arrive at where you’re going. Don’t assume you’ll figure it whenever you arrive. You may find yourself grasping for fish rather than catching and releasing them. 

Chico Fernández is a renowned fly fishing instructor, lecturer, and author who developed or helped develop many of the modern saltwater flyfishing techniques and fly patterns in use today. He is also on the editorial board of MidCurrent. Chico's most recent book is Fly-Fishing for Bonefish (Stackpole Press, 192 pages, August 2004). This article first appeared in Saltwater Fly Fishing magazine, now part of American Angler.
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