J. Castwell
May 4th, 1998

LINE-TO-LEADER

Those of you who join us in the 'chat-room' know that of the many subjects discussed, the question of which knot is best for tying the leader to the line comes up often. I think it is a type of evolution process. Many started with a barbed ring-eye connection sold for the old hollow silk lines. Trying to stick it up the new solid-core lines was almost impossible, but some got it done.

As we develop in the sport we learn more ways to fiddle with things and the leader-line knot is no exception. What follows is my own opinion; not to be confused with fact or truth. Just what works for me. Some of what follows is sure to bring wrath upon me, but I am used to it.

The loop-to-loop connection, (in my opinion, remember) is the worst possible connection ever! It is an accident waiting to happen. Most are not applied right, the line is burned trying to shrink the tube on, they soak up water, they hinge, and under enough pull they can come off. Not bad credentials, huh? Oh sure, you can change leaders fast. High price to pay for that feature; how often do you change leaders anyhow? Buy the fly-line with the loop already installed? I think not; do you KNOW who tied it on? I like to do my own knots, thank you.

Ok, the nail knot, used by everybody, right? Wrong... Not by me. Remember, the nail-knot depends on the coating of the fly line NOT pulling off of the core of the fly line! So you want to make sure that does not happen? Crank down on the knot when you tie it, right? Wrong again! That takes the chance of fracturing the coating, starting the process of failure.

How about a knot that is as fast as a loop-to-loop, no bigger than one, gets tighter the harder you pull, won't cut itself, (for me, remember) has NOT FAILED in fifty years! Sound like a winner? Why have you never heard of it? What book is it in? What is it called? Who invented it? I don't know! But, here it is.

1. Tie a loop in the butt end of a new leader. If it had one already, use it. Hold the loop between the thumb and fore-finger of the left hand; loop sticking out to the right.

2. Place the end of the fly line (from the top-right side) OVER the loop, pointing down to the left now. The line is now in YOUR side of the loop; not behind it, nor through it. It's just on top of it. Have about one inch of line extending down to the left below the loop.

3.Take the end of the LINE up behind the leader, then toward you, over the top of the top of the loop, over the line and DOWN THE HOLE BETWEEN THE LINE AND THE BOTTOM OF THE LOOP. This is the critical step. Do not change or try to improve on any of these steps.

4. Most important now; pull ONLY on the fly-line, not the stub hanging down. Do not pull on both. You may squiggle things a bit to ease the line back so as not to use hardly any fly line at all.

5. Pull the knot tight. Roll it a bit with your thumb and finger, pull it again and it is done.

Now, my apologies to those of you who are gnawing at your keyboards getting ready to explain to me about how little I know. I do admit that for small light fly gear, the nail-knot, and similar types are fine. This knot is for fish that will pull out some backing, Ok? In fact with a 8-foot rod and a 16 foot leader the knot will hit the tip-top and most of the line guides on the way in when landing a trout. The truth is, I use this knot on ALL my leaders, 3wt to 9wt.

The name? I have heard: Albright, half-Albright, dally-knot; so far, I have not found it in any book. I am sure it is, I just have never found it. The thing is, it WORKS! But, I still don't know what is.

WINNER OF THE "NAME THE CAST CONTEST" after hours of intense head-scratching is Al Campbell with the following entry: " I'll call it the "back-loop dropper cast". This cast is designed to let the fly fisher fish the water in front AND back of him or her. Guaranteed to double your fishing time in just a few short hours. It might even increase your catch ratio, but I wouldn't count on it." Watch the mail Al for your probably valuable prize! ~ JC

Addendum: 11/20/00 A reader sent us pictorial evidence this knot has gone by the name of 'LAP Knot,' originally having been used in Lapland. Specifically, this is a left hand version. The simplicity of this knot leads me to believe it must have been known by other names as well over the eons of human development. If you find yet more information on this, please contact me. JC

Addendum 2: Comes now this. A strong belief from a reader in Reykjavik, Iceland that this knot was known as a 'Flag Knot,' (fanahnutur) used by him as a youngster in the Boy Scouts when attaching a flag. More names? Keep them coming. JC

Till next week, remember ...

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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