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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I am getting ready to do a little surgery on some of my fly lines. 9 and 10 weights mostly, cutting off a bit of the front end to get better turn over. And another line that comes without loops. Back in the day I usually used a needle knot with heavy monofilament and a perfection loop (or just as a straight butt section to tie to).

I've used braided loops on lighter lines with OK results, but not for bigger lines and bigger fish. The lines in question have braided cores. I notice Cortland and Rio? have some that they sell as 50 pound test.

What do y'all think about braided loops for the front and rear of the line? Or tell me about your favorite method, please.
 

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I have never used braided loops. On my smaller rods I will do a nail knot and a perfection loop to connect leaders, but I understand that this is not the strongest connection possible. That said, I have never had it fail on me.
On other rods I will double over the fly line and then put 2-3 nail knots over the doubled portion to essentially create a welded loop. I cut off all the tag ends on each nail not and then cover them in glue.
For my really heavy duty outfits, I use an albright. It isnt the prettiest knot, especially when tied in fly line, but It works for me.
 

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I have always used a nail knot. I suppose this is mostly habit for me. If my leader is going to fail it is not going to be at the connection to the fly line, it will be where I tie in my final piece of tippet.

My first concern with this connecting knot is the size of the knot and having it get stuck in the guides. If I am using a long leader I have the end of the fly line well into my guides when landing a fish. Often the fish makes a final run or two and the knot that connects leader to line has to come through the guides clean.

I would be interested to hear if other people have this concern and the knot they use.
 

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I've used the Cortland 50 for loops on 11 and 12 wt lines for GTs. It's super strong but creates a really bulky set up. I typically try and make sure there's at least 6 inches of fly line inside of the braid and triple nail knot it w 30lb dacron.

I think on smaller lines, you could use a much shorter piece (2" overlap?) of the loop and single or double nail knot to keep it more manageable in size.
 

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My first concern with this connecting knot is the size of the knot and having it get stuck in the guides. If I am using a long leader I have the end of the fly line well into my guides when landing a fish. Often the fish makes a final run or two and the knot that connects leader to line has to come through the guides clean.

I would be interested to hear if other people have this concern and the knot they use.
yea, i broke my 12wt on the 1st GT I caught w this setup. the guides popped off the rod like popcorn when it made a final surge.

if I were going to do this on a smaller rod, I would just keep the mono loop short and make it a single nail knot. that should keep it manageable but not going to be as smooth as the welded loop.
 

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I whip a loop using mono tying thread. That way there's no color change at the loop, which could cause a toothy critter to cut it.
 
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I have posted on this in the past. I make my own spliced braided mono loop on the rear end of most of my lines. Haven't tried it on the head of a fly line but suppose it would work. Would be ideal if you could find clear 50lb braided mono. The stuff I have is orange.
I use 20 lb spiderwire invisibraid to do the nail knots on top of the 50 lb braided mono. 2 nail knots in total butted up next to each other at the very end of the mono where it starts to fray. I tighten them till the invisibraid turns from white to clear, it sinks down flush and bites into both the braid and fly line. Trim the frayed ends of the braided mono with nail clippers and cover that transition with a very thin coat of loon uv and it's seamless. A little tip. Take the tag ends of the nail knots and tie in overhand loops. Use pens or scissors in the loops to pull the nail knots tight. It's hard to pull hard enough otherwise because the spiderwire is slippery.
If you use dacron to do the nails even with 20 lb it too big in diameter. The knots stick up and catch on the guides.

You honestly don't need much more than about 6 inches overlap on a 10 wt or under. Maybe a foot on 11-12+. The connection will not fail, I have intentionally tried and been unable to make it fail using weights. Have been able to snap the core of the fly line well above the connection but haven't seen the connection itself fail.
 

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Lowcountry Degen
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I don't have any scientific evidence, and haven't tested it on larger rods, but I have used the same technique @el9surf talks about on an 8wt. Was dock light fishing and through a series of stupid mistakes managed to get the butt section of my leader wrapped. Even when on land, I had a tough time breaking the connection. I thought I was going to break the fly line, honestly. I bet I put a solid 20+ lbs of pressure (grab the whole spool, point the rod directly at the snag, and walk backwards), and it eventually failed by pulling the loop loose from itself; it was still attached to the fly line.

This was with cheap Rio braided loops, too. I did the nail knot(s?) to the fly line and added a touch of superglue, and also added the slightest bit of superglue on the braided loop - as close to the fly line as possible without touching it - so that it would help prevent the loop from pulling apart without messing up the "finger trap" action of the braided mono over the fly line or of the spliced loop.

Hope that made sense. I'm curious to see everyone's approaches on heavy tackle too though, since my welded loop on my 10wt is starting to crack.
 

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I have tested my spliced loop connections by deadlifting 20-30lb dumbells and letting the free weights bounce. You'd be surprised at what will fail that you think is a good connection. Honestly it's the only connection that hasn't failed me yet.
 

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Having said that the braided mono is still mono, and susceptible to sharp edges. At that point though I think the whole fly line is susceptible.
 

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I am with @el9surf for years I have stuck with the braided mono loops. I tried other options but always came back. I use Seaguar Threadlock for backing and also for my nail knots as it lays flat and gives one sexy nail knot. They haven't failed. If you want to use some loop knot sense, knock yourself out but I don't think it is needed. Has anyone that is worried about these failing tried to put 20lb of pressure on a fly rod?
 

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I would challenge any of you that doubt the connection to try deadlifting a 20lb dumbbell with your favorite connection compared to this. Most of my old connections would fail before you can even lift the weight off the ground. With the spliced loop connection I mentioned above I can deadlift a 30-lb dumbbell with no problem. As nativejax mentioned, putting 20 lb of pressure on a fly rod is probably virtually impossible, but it's nice to know your connections and what their breaking point is.

For the record I won't trust the store made braided loops, I want to make them myself.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Good info gentlemen!

El9surf - I read your posts on the backing to fly line connection and that was part of what got me to begin rethinking my connections. Store bought loops are convenient and it sounds like they can work well, but I am exploring all current solutions to bring my knowledge up to date.

The smallest loop I can make in a fly line itself is to strip the coating off, bend the braid back onto the line and whip finish about an inch long. Its not a bad way to go in terms of compactness and simplicity. Pretty smooth too. But it never hurts to look further for an even better solution.

Thanks again and keep it up if you have more to say.
 

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Albright works for me but it's hard to cinch down sometimes without cutting the outside cover of the fly line. But it's strong.
 

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Lowcountry Degen
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To reiterate, I've put a significant (way more than almost any fly rod could take) amount of pressure on even the store-bought braided loops before the loop opened up. I have lots of confidence in the strength of this setup. The only concern I ever had (and the reason I added a touch of superglue to the "buried end" of the mono) was the potential for the loop to open up due to loading and unloading that might happen during the cast.

One question I have, though, is the stiffness of the braided loop compared to heavier lines. Am I going to have hinging issues with a 50# braided mono loop attached to the end of a 12wt line? I love it on my <8wt lines, but haven't tried much else.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
bryson,
I will try to pick up some of those loops and report back my impressions. I've talked about the 50 pounders only because I am assuming that they are stiffer than the lighter weight versions. Otherwise 30 pounds seems way plenty for up to 10 weight rods. And maybe there is more abrasion resistance with the heavier material - seems it would be. And what ever else, we do want to keep a "fuse" in the leader system so the leader breaks before we lose the fly line.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Albright works for me but it's hard to cinch down sometimes without cutting the outside cover of the fly line. But it's strong.
You can dip the line in acetone and strip the coating off then double back and tie the albright. It will be smaller and easier to pull up tight. Might hinge though. That's why I liked the needle knot with heavy butt mono poked right up into the fly line core. No hinge, smooth, small.
 

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Yeah I was thinking about that. I think it would hinge but haven't tried it so it might be tolerable especially since I generally throw heavier leader setups anyway and am rarely concerned with the most delicate of presentations. Generally the fish I am targetting are angry and the noisier the better.
 

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I cut about an inch on a taper, make a loop, then whip finish the whole thing for about 4” with 20# braid. Never had one break so far, not to say it won’t happen tomorrow.
 
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