Connecting fly line to leaders is a really important element in effectively setting up fly fishing equipment. There are several methods for making this connection. Perhaps the most popular are braided loops. While these loops can be made, they are readily available, complete with tubing to help fix them to the tip of your fly line. It’s a quick, easy job to attach them and very convenient.
While working with my clients, I see some key faults in the use of braided loops on a regular basis. These faults impact fly presentation and bite detection, so they make a big difference for a small change. The above photo shows the four main faults discussed below along with suitable fixes.
- Insufficient fly line has been inserted into the hollow section of the braid, increasing risk of joint failure. I aim to have around two inches (five centimetres) of fly line inside the hollow braided section, ensuring the fly line tip is butted up against the solid looped section of braid (see point four below for more details on this).
- Although braided loops are supplied with grip tube suggesting its use is sufficient to fix loop to fly line, it is wise to apply a tiny spot of super glue as insurance against slippage. In the example photo super glue has been excessively used along the length of braid into which fly line has been threaded. This makes for a very stiff joint, liable to cracking and subsequent failure. It also adds excessive weight to the front of a fly line, increasing disturbance when a cast is made and sinking the tip on floating lines. This results in more fish spooking from casting disturbance. For floating line use additional issues caused by line tip submerging are bad presentation of dry flies, poor visual bite detection if watching the fly line and reduced hook up to bite ratio due to increased slack line. A simple cure is to apply just one spot of super glue to the very end of a braided loop’s hollow section before pulling the grip tubing over the join. This action evenly spreads the glue around the braid/line junction, adequately supporting the grip tubing while retaining a flexible, secure and much lighter join which significantly reduces or eliminates problems raised.
- Way too much grip tubing has been used to secure the braided loop to the fly line. This adds excessive weight to a fly line’s tip, creating the same weight issues discussed in point two above. The easy fix here is to use a maximum of two centimetres of tubing. The reduced weight again reduces/eliminates problems.
- This loop has too much hollow braid prior to the solid looped section, a common fault in commercially made loops. We have a length of hollow braid between the tip of a fly line and the solid loop section shown in the photo. This hinges when casting, resulting in poor turnover of your leader, plus increased disturbance from casting. If the fly line had been inserted along the full length of hollow braid, the hinging issue is removed. However the excessive weight issue remains, resulting in similar problems to those raised in points two and three above. You need no more that two inches (five centimetres) of hollow braid on your loops. If there is more, simply remove it with sharp scissors before connecting a fly line. Problems are solved.
If you find braided loops useful in your fly fishing, I hope the faults and fixes discussed above help you to refine your setup and improve your success/enjoyment of the sport.
Thanks for reading.