For many anglers, nail knots are a thing of the past. Most fly lines available today come with a welded loop on the leader end of the line to connect your leader via loop to loop connections. However, no fly line lasts forever, and over time welded loops can crack, split, or sometimes break completely! Odds are if this happens, you’re probably due for a new line.. But what if it breaks while you’re out on the water?
You’re first instinct might be to cut the broken loop off and tie the leader directly to the fly line using a conventional nail knot. This works really well on most freshwater fly lines, however on some saltwater fly lines (those made with a monofilament core) the coating can actually slide straight off of the core when bound only by a single nail knot.
Therefore, when in a pinch, we prefer to re-build a loop in the end of the fly line, and here’s our method of choice.
- Clip off your defective loop.
- Double over approximately 1 inch of the tip of your fly line.
- Using 15-20 lb. test monofilament, tie a 6-7 turn nail knot around both legs of the loop. Slide the nail knot into position (creating a small loop of fly line) and tighten down. Trim tag ends of monofilament.
- Tie a second nail knot around the loop roughly an 1/8 inch behind the first nail knot. Trim the tag ends of the nail knot and clip the excess fly line flush.
- Coat nail knots with your favorite adhesive (we like Loon’s UV Knot Sense) and voila! You’re back in action.
We use this very same technique when building custom sink tips on the river as well. We’ve tested it on everything from trout, to king salmon, to bonefish, to even tarpon! We’ve yet to see it fail, and highly recommend it the next time you find yourself loop-less.