Line to Leader Connections [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Line to Leader Connections

04-12-2005, 09:21 PM
What's the best method for connecting the leader to the fly line? I have used loops and have had success, except for the loop occasionally getting caught in the guides. I've recently tried Scientific Anglers new L2L plastic connector, but these require you to cut your fly line every time you change leaders; plus they also get stuck in my rod guides. Can anyone recommend a better method?


04-12-2005, 09:33 PM
I simply use a butt section of about 12" tied to my flyline with a nail knot. I've got fancy before and used a needle knot but I don't think it's so much better to warrant the extra hassle. I'll then tie my leader to the butt with a blood knot.

I don't care for loops and this is simple and works well for me.

Brian Simonseth
04-12-2005, 09:41 PM
Sheep Shank

Make a little (small) loop (braided mono loop) on the end of youíre fly line, pass youíre leader through the loop; put a granny knot on end of the leader and go around fly line with granny knot back through under itself and pull tight. Sheep Shank

Been using it for years

Bob Pauli
04-12-2005, 11:48 PM
I believe your knot is a sheet bend.

Brian Simonseth
04-13-2005, 12:09 AM
You're right, the guy who showed me call it a Sheep Shank.
I got tried of him yelling at me, so I started calling it you know what

04-13-2005, 07:38 AM

I don't ever (hardly ;) ), pull the line enough that the "connection" comes into the guides.

That said, I'm too lazy to get fancy with connections, so I use an Albright. Holds anything (IMHO). Fast and when done in a tidy fashion, not to obtrusive. Also much more simple to tie when you have 4 thumbs like me, the black flies are stacking up and you need to change leaders 'cause THE salmon of a life time is just awaiting a presentation :)

If you don't know the knot, its probably the one you used to attach the backing to the butt of the fly line.

04-13-2005, 07:48 AM
The best method IMHO is the epoxy splice shown ot me by Tony Gades...

Melt (fingernail polish remover) or strip 1/2" of coating off line.

Shave a point (yes it works) with a razor on your leader butt.

Work the leader into the core, keep working it until it penetrates inside the coated part as far as you can get it.

Put a drop of zap-a-gap and let it dry.

You never even know its there with a fish on.

I don't always do this but I have lost a lot of fish due to binding knots in the guides while in the 'red zone'.

Most of the time I tie a nail knot using the line itself as the threading tool - fold over, wrap and thread thru the cleavage, then pull the tag back out adjust and tighten. This is a trick I thought I had 'come up with' while tool-less on a flat but apparently many anglers over the years have pulled this trick out of their hat and it's a good one at that.

(I should put up a video short on these)

04-13-2005, 08:19 AM

For trout fishing, I nail knot a short butt section of #20 amnesia (on a 4wt) to the line and put a small perfection loop in the other end. Makes a nice strike indicator and you can still loop to loop your leaders. Also won't spray as much when you're fishing dries.

Give it a shot.

04-13-2005, 12:55 PM
Hey Juro,
Great tip on folding the line over! I've always used a twig while astream but I can see that fishing flats would force someone to think a little bit more. I'm going to try that next - I doubt I'll be looking for anymore twigs.

I've used an expoxy splice on trout gear and it does work great. I think it also helps to keep the tip of the flyline afloat by sealing its core at the end. If you make it using a tapered leader, you don't need to shave the butt as you can pull the leader thru from the tippet end by inserting a needle (eye-first) into the fly line about 3/8". If you do use a untapered butt, make sure to use a NEW razor blade.

I've only used this connection for one day steelheading. It worked great and was tested on a summer-run fish and a couple snags. Frankly, I stopped using it just because I was not comfortable trusting my leader connection to a little dab of glue. Have you used this connection enough on bigger fish to thoroughly trust it? What do you think its upper limit is as far as gamefish?

04-13-2005, 01:04 PM
Good question.

I have used it for floating lines and never lost a fish or snag. The key is to really snake it up there before gluing, it should actually go into the coated line and create a hump as far as it goes.

I have lost a few short leaders on type 4-8 sinktips and although it could have been due to less strength than a trusty ol' nail knot the real reasons I went back to a nail knot for sinktips are not that I worry about potential loss of strength but:

- the leaders are so short anyway and don't get into the guides so it's not worth the trouble

- the sinktip loops make a lot more trouble than the nail knot anyway so what's the point

- the fly is in the rocks more and I replace in the field a lot more (using the loop trick)

Eventually all of the fancy off-season epoxy splices on my sinking lines are replaced with field-dressed nail knots but those greaseline leaders (13-15ft long) are nicely spliced for years of service without a click coming into the guides.

04-13-2005, 02:56 PM
I agree about leaders for sinking lines/tips. I was just thinking of using it for steelhead with the floating line. I sure liked how it performed when I tried it a few years ago but was looking for someone with more experience using it to assuage or validate my fears. It sounds like you've had good luck with this connection for steelhead. The instructions that I used when I made my splices said to insert the butt 3/8". This seemed a bit short to me, but I used it nevertheless. Are you going further into the core? I also roughed up the butt with sandpaper to give the glue something to bite into.

Your comments about breaking off the splice on snagged sinktips do make me wonder about the upper limit. Given your experience with the snags, I don't think I'd want to use the splice connection for steelhead on, say, the Big T (dry line of course). Would you? Still curious.

07-16-2005, 07:28 AM
oops just saw this :o

Pescaphile I would definitely not hestiate from using this method in any dry line situation, the times that I have pulled the butt out from the sinking line core were after the line was wrapped around my line hand, the rod pointed straight at the rock to eliminate any flex, and my hope was that the tippet would break but the leader was wrapped, not the tippet.

Since I've cut sinktips in half doing this on volcanic rock, I would have to say that the splice is able to withstand any force where the rod is bending, even the alpha trout of the galaxy which I worship too.

Since the dry Spey leader is so long I like the blind splice a lot. When the fish is near it slides neatly thru the guides without a bump. When moving from spot to spot the knotless back end is nice coming in and going out.

Another situation where I like it is on the flats where the angler is often hundreds of yards from shore and has to land a fish thigh deep in water. That rod angle and a knot don't get along with a fish trying to avoid you.

I prefer all my trout lines that way. A nail knot makes a much bigger wake next to a midge than we often realize.

In many cases like short sinking leaders and sinking heads for stripers I just use a big hearty nail knot and am done with it. I only bother with all that if there is a good reason to do it.

07-16-2005, 08:08 AM
This is how I do it. I've even started using this method for salt water.

07-16-2005, 10:44 AM
Put a drop of zap-a-gap and let it dry.

Were? Where the leader enters the stripped part of the fly line?

07-16-2005, 12:24 PM
yes exactly, in a manner that the glue penetrates the core inside the coating

zap-a-gap for convenience, but I would think a layer of thinned aquaseal would be even better if one really wanted to go to that much trouble.

07-16-2005, 12:57 PM
yes exactly, in a manner that the glue penetrates the core inside the coating

zap-a-gap for convenience, but I would think a layer of thinned aquaseal would be even better if one really wanted to go to that much trouble.

Excellent. I've been looking for another line leader conection.

I've been using a whip finish loop because I'm one of those lame beginner casters who ties knots in his leader every other cast. A loop makes it simple to change to a fresh leader when I tie a knot in the middle of it.

I'm about to change over to knotted leaders instead of store bought smooth tapered leaders. That way I can cut out knotted piece and replace it relatively easily. And I can use this connection becasue I'll be replacing tippets and middle sections and not have to replace butt sections...