Most guides start out super poor and broke, needing to make the most out of every shred of gear, line, tippet, etc. Now I'm lucky enough to have access to new fly lines, tapered leaders, and other small terminal items that I never did in my younger years. But I haven't forgotten how to craft up leader systems, loops, and make the most out of my gear. I feel like my history of building all of my own leaders, nymph rigs, and my own loops has helped my angling immensely. I would never BUY tapered leaders haha. What a joke. Those was for trust funders and lawyers! Joking. Years of fishing have helped me adopt an accurate grasp on the value of your time, and so "yes", you should buy tapered leaders. However, it would behoove you to become a capable knot crafter and modify leaders to meet your specific needs. Throughout a single fishing day I make tons of mods when changing flies, strategies, wind, weeds or sticks, etc. Lots of variables and being able to quickly adjust your tackle is paramount to sucess.
Tying these knots isn't neurosurgery or rocket science, you just need to take some time to learn all the associated knots and skills. You'll be better for it. The same skills mentioned here and the video below get used all the time in other applications.
Before Scrolling Down, here is a list of what I feel are "essential knots". I know this list looks daunting, and I'm not going to link through to everyone of them. There are lots of great videos and diagrams out there online from other sources. Explore, but here is a list of knots that I use pretty regularly.
- Clinch Knot (tying small flies on)
- Non Slip Mono Loop (tying #10 and larger flies on)
- Triple Surgeon's Knot (splicing similar sized tippet under 20#)
- Blood Knot (splicing tippet of differing sizes)
- Perfection Loop (tying a compact loop in line 20#+)
- Surgeon's Loop (tying a loop in fine tippet)
- Homer Rhodes Loop Knot (tying 40# + tippet to a fly)
- Loop to Loop connections
- Nail Knot (building a loop, or leader to fly line or backing to fly line)
- Albright Knot (backing to fly line, or leader to fly line). Similar to a nail knot but stronger.
While prepping today for a trip to Baja next week, I came across an older fly line that I intended to use but it had no welded loops. There are several ways to go about this, but for big game fish in saltwater I like to build a loop. I feel they are stronger than Albright Knots and way more trustworthy than a simple old fashioned nail knot.
Tying Your Own Integrated Loop
Here is a shot of the nail knots tied around the line to create the loop BEFORE using the Loon UV Knot Sense. Nice loop, but as you can imagine there would be some friction running through the eyelets of your rod.
Here is a shot of the same loop, dabbed and finished with some Loon UV Knot Sense. I now have a loop that is strong, compact, and capable on even the largest game fish. It is secured with (2) 6-8 wrap nail knots, but you can use just one if you are fishing trout or other light gamefish.
Build Your Own Loop
Maybe you have a fly line that could use a new loop? This can be in the backing end, or the fishing end of the line. Simply follow these instructions and if it's a lightweight rod, say under an 8 weight. Just do one nail knot.
- Shitty old fly line that needs a new loop
- 20# Mono Tippet (for lashing down the nail knot and forming the loop)
- Loon UV Knot Sense
- Loon UV Light (works better than sunlight but you can just put it in direct sun)
- Tags: pro tip