Waters & words : a celebration of flyfishing

Posts tagged “knots

Rest days

I don’t know about you, but after a day which typically involves say 2 hrs in the car, 8 hrs on a river, and traversing say 7 to 12 kms of rough territory, I need a break.  Call me soft, but at least half of that “traversing” involves getting in and out of the stream, boulder hopping, and  scrambling, and it is normally with a pack on my back that is heavier than it need be.  To add to that, I may have fished for 8 hrs and driven for 2, but the number of hours between when I left home and got back seems to end up around 13 hrs. I guess there is time in coffee shops, talking to locals, setting up, and the like.


AF 4

It is a long day.

But the day following such a foray involves a late start, a big breakfast, and I confess, sometimes not getting out of a pair of slippers!

This is why I like to fish on Saturdays.

My rest day is then spent filling in a logbook, editing photos, downloading GPS tracks and the like.

This last Sunday I cleaned all my floating lines, re-tied and glued a line to leader connection, and re-darkened the tips of my fly lines with a permanent marker. I didn’t get to tie flies, but I emptied the fly patch, adjusted some of the stuff that I hang from, and bury in my pack-vest, and topped it off by cooking a curry so hot that not even the dog wouldn’t try it.

Putting the curry aside for a while, I re-looked at my pack. I had straps that hang and snag, so I rolled them up and pinned them. I had a fly patch that was catching on things, so I put it in a pocket. My zinger was hanging the nippers too low out of their tuck-away sleeve, and I found a second zinger to try putting my New Zealand strike indicator tool into a spare sleeve port. The egg yarn I first used as strike indicator material the day before, and which kept sinking, was removed and replaced with some fresh Antron.

I tied some tippet rings on the end of my treasured flat butt leaders to make them last longer, and I re-tied fresh tippets, with UV glue in the loose surgeon’s knot before I pulled it tight.

I cleared the GPS memory and made space on the camera card while charging the battery.

On Saturday I will hit the river again, and I will be tackled up before my mate.

I like my rest days.

Flouro knots …..and fables?

TTP (3)

Tips, Theories & Pointers

Local wisdom has it, that when using flourocarbon, in place of Mono, one should be mindful of the following knot issues:

  • Flouro to mono knots are problematic, they slip
  • Surgeons knots, done in Flouro, require you pass the tippet through the knot three times, not just two like you would with mono
  • Perfection loops just don’t work with flouro. Period

I did have some difficulty backing these claims/ideas up with a Google search.

What I did do was to take a piece of 5X flouro, and tie a perfection loop in one end, and a conventional overhand loop in the other end, and then I pulled until it broke. In 6 pulls, it was dead even: 3 of the perfection loops went, and 3 of the conventional. None of them slipped: they all broke at the knot.

The conventional loops were tied with two wraps.

Then I tied conventional loops:  a three turn loop on one end, and a two turn on the other. I pulled four times. Two of each broke. None slipped.

I stopped about then. The stuff was cutting into my fingers, and I woke up to the fact that this was all costing me a lot of money in snapped flouro.

hooks n tippet (4 of 4)

Who is up for a more thorough “myth busters” evening at the local?  Different diameters, different brands, knots tied by different guys.

You can bring the “string”!

Smooth connections and furled leaders

The method one uses to connect your fly line to your leader, has been a topic of discussion for a long time.

It might be true to say that most flyfishers use a loop to loop connection. This preference is fuelled by the fact that most fly lines now come with a welded loop on the end. This certainly is an easy and versatile way of going about things. It is very easy to change your entire leader at any time.

The downside is bulk and “catchiness”. By that I mean that a loop to loop connection, and in particular one involving the thick butt end of a nylon or co-polymer tapered leader, is a particularly visible thing, as well as something that catches in the tip eye of your rod at that worrying moment when you are trying to land a wildly bucking trout of pleasing proportions.

So it is that many people have been quick to cut the loop off the end of their fly line, and replace it with either a nail, or needle knot, or superglue splice. Those are much neater. 

Problem solved.

Except that the join is permanent. So you don’t get to switch leaders at the drop of a hat. And what if, like me, you are rather partial to furled leaders?

Furled leaders come with a loop in the end. That is in their very nature….the way in which they are manufactured dictates that there will always be a loop in the thick end.  The other thing about them, is that they are inclined to become waterlogged and need changing out.  As a result, I have often retained the welded loop on my fly line, but have done so almost grudgingly, and with a faint notion that there must be a better way.

With this drought going on, there has been plenty opportunity to stay home and tinker.

So here’s what I thought:

Instead of an amadou patch, I have taken to drying my flies by squeezing them between forefinger and thumb in a fold in my “wicking fabric” fishing shirt. It is hugely effective, and I don’t need amadou. One less thing to dangle from your vest. I recently tried drying my furled leader by drawing it across my side, or across my knee wearing pants of similar material.  It was superb. Very effective indeed. If I do it just as I take a break for sarmies, and then leave the rod strung up in the sun, I can apply paste after I have eaten, and I am good to float for the rest of the day.

So with the new found freedom of being able to leave a furled leader on almost permanently I tried this:

 knots (1 of 1)-3


A furled leader connected by nail knot









But then I got to thinking about a superglue splice knot using a furled leader.

Needle knot to furled leader (1 of 1)

Now, if you don’t mind me saying so, we are cooking with gas!

Some details:

Firstly, if you are not familiar with a superglue splice or needle knot, it would be best to watch this first.

I was limited in that I could not use a furled leader manufactured with a tippet ring in it (picture a mouse giving birth to an elephant). But my own furled leaders don’t have that problem.  Then the improved clinch knot with which I tie the start of the tippet onto the fine end of the furled leader, was too rough to go through the line too. I solved that by cutting it off, looping some 5X through the fine end, and pulling that into the side of the fly line and down out the end….twice…and then with that loop, pulling the fine end of the furled leader into the side of the fly line.  Pulling the whole furled leader through was quite tough, but it worked.  When it came to the superglueing of the last inch of furled leader into the line, the furled leader gave me a good absorbent base, which sucked up glue, and then stuck particularly well.  I really struggled to break it, applying perhaps 20 Kg of force before it gave way. Strong enough for me!

So here is a comparison of some options:

knot comparison (1 of 1)

Left to right:  A nail-knot with UV glue covering; a loop to loop with a furled leader; a loop to loop with a nylon leader; the furled leader nail knot.

Another idea has also occurred to me: One could pull a furled leader backwards into the end of the fly line. I know, that sounds dumb, but hear me out. That would give you a furled leader loop a few inches off the end of the fly-line. You could then change furled leaders using a loop to loop. Yes ..I know…loop to loop…but the thing is, that the bulkiness of this arrangement lies primarily in the large knot formed in the nylon (even if you do a perfection loop…see the picture above). Thicker nylon is in fact horribly “catchy” when tied in a loop, and in my view should be avoided all together.  A furled leader loop does not have this hard “catchy” knot, and despite its apparent bulk, slides through the end guide of the rod with the greatest of ease.

knot comparison (1 of 1)-2

So there you have it….some ideas to play around with if, like me, you are a bit of a nut for furled leaders.