Welded Loops Made Easy
Nail Knots have been the traditional method for attaching fly line to leaders. Fly line manufacturers are now creating fly lines with welded loops on both ends to ease the attachment to both to the reel spool and leader material. Making a welded loop in your new or damaged fly line is relatively easy. Two techniques are discussed.
Fly Line Maintenance
Fly lines can be very expensive and, with proper maintenance, a quality line should last you several years. This will vary based on how often you fish and the frequency of cleaning and dressing applied to your line.
Most people reel up, put the rod/reel in a cover or case and forget about it until the next trip. This practice will generally shorten the life of the line. We suggest cleaning your fly line at least after every two trips and dress the line with a commercial dressing after cleaning.
One of the most common issues with fly lines is the degradation or breakdown of the end loop connecting the leader to the fly line. Nail knot connections are a great way to attached monofilament leaders to fly line, but over time, the connection can break down the plastic coating of the line exposing the inner core, which will eventually break.
The easiest way to connect the fly line to the leader is with a loop to loop connection. Many lines now come with welded loops on both ends. The loop connection is superior to the traditional Nail Knot, since one must cut and re-tie a Nail Knot to change lines.
There are many less expensive fly lines on the market which perform very well and do not come with loops. This article is about creating a loop on both ends of your fly line, whether you are repairing a broken loop or creating a new one on a line without a manufactured welded loop.
Technique #1: Creating a New Loop
The first technique is an old Lefty Kreh method I discovered 25 years ago. This employs your Whip Finishing Tool to create a thread wrap entrapping the loop end. You then coat the thread wrap with a flexible cement, such as Contact Cement or the newer UV treated flex cement on the market.
I have used this for years, since you don't need any special equipment, such as flex tubing and heating units (more on this later). The author below is heavily into carp, so don't hold that against him.
Here's a good video on how to do this technique:
Technique #2: Creating a Welded Loop
The welded loop is the best connection to create, if you don't mind getting some special equipment for the job. You can create a welded loop a number of ways, but the simplest is in the video below. Some folks use special heating units and other apparatus, but a standard lighter works quite well. All you really need is shrink wrap tubing (about 4 cm). Finding it is another issue. Somebody send this guy a fingernail clipper!