the real problem with ‘wind’ knots.

wind knots‘, that’s the denialists‘ term for casting knots and no, they’re not just made by tailing loops or outrageous casting faults but today’s reminder isn’t about the causes of these knots however embarrassing or annoying they may be but of their consequence.
in other words, these knots kink the mono and greatly reduce the original breaking point of the monofilament material they’re made of.
as we’ll see in Simon Gawesworth’s video, percentages on specific materials vary but generally speaking, that reduction is approximately 50% and that puts us in a very precarious situation if a fish takes our fly because well, we’re left with half the strength threshold we originally counted on.
to make things worse and if i understand correctly,  Instron-type machines used to register elongation and breaking strains do so in a steady, smooth, pulling manner but fish tend to not follow the same procedure…
although i can’t prove this with numbers i’m very certain that sudden tugs and bursts of strength means our knotted lines will be even weaker relatively speaking than those 50 or so %.

double-wind-knot

apart from the denialists, these knots happen to everyone at one point or another and if we want to not get into trouble and leave hooks in fish mouths, there’s only one remedy and that’s to regularly check our leaders and tippets, specially if there’s the slightest doubt or after an obvious yucky cast.
– no knots, carry on as usual.
– find a knot ? is it loose as in the pic ? just undo it and just to be sure, check for kinks.
– did it tighten/seat ? cut it off and rejoin the two pieces.
– if the knot’s too close to the fly or other ‘good’ leader knot, just replace the whole piece and you’ll be able to fish in peace.

the Smoooothest fly line/leader connection there is- a Step by Step

by buddy, expert rod builder, fellow Barrio proteam member and one of the best trout fishers i’ve had the pleasure to meet, Sandy Nelson.

Dave Whitlock‘s superglued leader-to-fly line connection isn’t anything new but reviving significant tips and tricks and their variations is always good for several reasons:
– firstly, it allows us to give proper credit to the originator of the concept.
– variations of a technique often improve over time. through the use of the knot tool, today’s sbs is easier and faster than the original and a fine example of creative thinking.
– lastly, it allows the people who aren’t aware of this technique to discover an extremely effective alternative connection to the standard loop-to-loop, Nail knot or Needle Nail knot.

like the title of this article suggests, this is the smoothest leader/line connection there is. the connection point flows in and out of the rod’s tip ring extremely easily, as if the two elements where one.
this is a more than big bonus for anyone using leaders that are longer than the rod’s length and avoids any connection hangups in situations say, if a fish decides to take off again when we are trying to get it into the net.

as often mentioned, many anglers question the strength of this connection but trying is believing. test it out on an old line at home and pull as much as you want, the finer and/or tippet part of the leader will always break first.
i’ve heard of and read many cases where this connection worked perfectly for hard-pulling fish such as bonefish or salmon and that seems more than enough for most anglers with the exception of those seeking big-game fish.

thanks again Sandy for sharing this with us,  enjoy !


All the tools needed: A C&F Knot tool*, snips, superglue, sandpaper, leader and fly line.
Sandy Nelson leader connection sbs1

Stick the needle into the tip of the fly line a 1/2″ – 13mm.
Sandy Nelson leader connection sbs2

Feed tippet-end of leader into knot tool.
Sandy Nelson leader connection sbs3

Pull leader right through until loop hits fly line.
Sandy Nelson leader connection sbs4

Rough up the 1/2-3/4″ of the end of the leader.
Sandy Nelson leader connection sbs5

Brush roughed up part with super glue and pull into end of flyline until all roughed up portion is covered.
Sandy Nelson leader connection sbs6

Snip loop off flush with the flyline and wipe excess super glue over the cut and the joint and then hold straight with a little pressure for 30secs to a min. for the superglue to set.
Sandy Nelson leader connection sbs7

Once it is set it should look like this, and you should have only removed about this much of the leader.
Sandy Nelson leader connection sbs8

 

* the essential part of the C&F tool is nothing more than a fancy-handled sewing machine needle that can be found in any sewing shop or even supermarkets at a fraction of the cost.
sewingmachine needlesyou can make your own and have diameter options by simply glueing the needle butt inside an appropriately sized tube.
these needles tend to come in packs so you can have several for yourself or better yet, make a special gift for your friends.

Wind Knot D’Ohs, Dos and Don’ts !

in Good Knots we’d seen how wind casting knots are a blessing in disguise but that’s just for the casting part. now, making tailing loops make us feel stupid, frustrated and all the well deserved ha-has from mates don’t help the situation however, and even though tailing loops don’t always result in casting knots, where the real nasty comes in is if we do get them and leave these knots unattended and carry on as if nothing happened.

general knowledge has stated for a long time that an overhand knot in a tippet or leader will reduce that section of mono to approximately one-half percent. in other words, a 10lb tippet instantly turns into a 5lb tippet. that sucks because it completely defeats the purpose of using a 10lb tippet in the first place and to make things even worse, if you think about the mates that saw you make that tailing loop and then see you break off on a fish, well, you know the rest…

the solution is simple and even if its a pain you have to pay for your mistakes; you (and i !) deserve it.
if you notice the ugly TL loop, immediately bring your line back in and check the leader. at this point, its not rare to find an un-seated knot like the ones to the left and all we need to do is undo it carefully, be sure there’s no kinks in it and if all looks good, resume fishing.
if the knot has seated tight that knot either has to be clipped off and rejoined with your preferred mono-to-mono knot or that section of tippet will have to be replaced if the casting knot is close to the fly or next to a mono-to-mono knot higher up the leader.

keep in mind that if you don’t take care of these casting knots, casting karma will come right back and bite you hard…

today’s video from Monsieur Simon Gawesworth removes any doubts about the up-till-now archaic 50% reduction breaking strain statement and the fishing world thanks him for it. enjoy ! (and take it easy when casting… 😉 )

Inches fraction and decimal to Millimetre chart

primarily of use for us fly fishers to compare and better understand the sizes of fly tying beads and tippet/leader/line materials, here’s a handy chart that’ll hopefully help make sense of it all.
note that inch fractions have a hard time keeping up with their decimal and mm counterparts, at least in our ‘real world’ applications such as bead diameters. some times we just have to round off and make do with what we can get…

fraction-decimal-mm chart

i restrained the chart size above to match the most common sizes for our fly fishing purposes, should you want more click the pic.
for a plethora of just about anything to just about anything conversion charts click HERE to access The Engineering Toolbox‘s main page.

some previously posted charts of interest:
Single and Double Hand Fly Line Weight Charts
Fly line Gram to Grain chart

Fly Fishing Tips and Tricks- Fitting Braided Fly Line Loops

to celebrate TLC’s shiny new face here’s some more than excellent tips on installing braided loops from Mike Barrio of Barrio Fly Lines.
the trick with the monofilament ‘threader’ really makes it easy to snug up the fly line end inside the braid and get it just right. enjoy !


Personally, I prefer to connect my leader directly to my fly line with a constriction type knot, in my experience this offers me a better transition from fly line to leader and better presentation. But braided leader loops are a very popular alternative method and I am frequently asked how to fit them.

There are numerous braided leader loops available on the market, many of these are too long and too heavy for most fly line tips and can cause them to sink, especially when fitted to lower weight lines. A lot of them are also very poorly made and can fail on a good fish. In my experience, the Roman Moser Minicon Loops are the best that I have found.
2-160515124137These are easy to fit. I usually grab 10 inches or so of nylon, thread it through the loop and hold it back in a ‘U’ against the loop ( loop through loop ) then I slide the red sleeve over the loop so that the sleeve is mostly sitting on the nylon.
2-160515124440Then I insert the fly line inside the braid at the other end and feed it up through the braid until it reaches the point where the loop is formed. Sometimes the end of the braid can be a bit tight making it difficult to insert the fly line, but if you push or prod the end of the braid with your finger this will help to loosen and expand the braid a little.
2-160515124718

Now hold the nylon and slide the sleeve back over the loop and along the braid until it reaches the other end, I like to have about 3/4 of the sleeve sitting on the braid and 1/4 on the fly line.

A braided loop works by constriction, so the harder you pull the braided loop from the loop end, the more it will tighten and grip the fly line between the loop and the ‘sleeve anchor point’. Don’t be tempted to add a spot of glue at the loop end, as this could cancel out the constriction of the braid.

Braided loops work well when simply fitted like this, but some folk like the added assurance of a spot of waterproof superglue. If you wish to add waterproof superglue, stop sliding the sleeve just before you reach the end of the braid (picture 5) add a little glue to the end of the braid and then slide the sleeve over this to the 3/4 – 1/4 point. Only use a very small amount of glue, as slightly too much can cause your fly line tip to sink.

Hope this is useful 😎

Best wishes
Mike


as for TLC’ shiny new face, it was time to do some spring cleaning and since the rags and cleaning solution where out i thought i’d find a simpler, cleaner looking page layout that also works faster and better at home or with mobile devises.
since feedback always helps, please let me know if you’re having any viewing, navigation or whatever issues and i’ll work them out.
here’s hoping you like the new look and thanks again Mike !

The differences between Polyleaders and Sink Tips

some really good, simple and easily understandable info that should alleviate any confusions about these two beasties from Peter Charles.

the video says it all but i’ll add a few words on the noteworthy stuff first:
– first and foremost, keep in mind that Polyleaders are a ‘standard leader’ substitute and go on the front of fly lines made for ‘standard leaders’ whereas sink tips and their inherent weight are an integral part of fly lines made specifically for the use of sink tips.
in other words, sink tips are not part of the leader even if they’re commonly used and directly connected to the fly with a short section of tippet.
–  what Peter means by ‘turnover force’ is simply the diameter or weight/mass of the fly line’s end or the tip/main body joining end in the case of lines made for sink tips.
to make that simpler (i hope !), a long and thin end such as found on ‘standard’ fly lines is too thin and light to transfer enough energy to a heavier and thicker tip. add to that a big and/or heavy fly and its easy to understand it won’t turn over at the end of the cast and if it does it will be a big sloppy, unpredictable mess. at best.
– although we’re only showed Airflo products, most other brands will be more or less the same. just be sure to check the tech specs on the package and even better yet, as products info is more detailed there, check out the company’s website to find what suits your needs.
– lastly, most won’t be using aerial casts with sink tip lines as they’re made for Spey casting and shine there but Polyleaders of any density are equally at home with both aerials and Speys.

‘nough said, enjoy !

Fly Fishing Tips and Tricks- Adjusting the Loop size of a Perfection Knot

as a recap and to start off, here’s a reprint of an article on how to construct a Perfection Loop from a while back.

Tying the Perfection Loop

this loop is ‘perfect’ for loop-to-loop line-to-leader or leader-to-leader connections for anything but the biggest of fish. super easy to tie, the loop stays in line with the standing end of the monofilament and not ‘kinked’ to the side as with a Double or Triple Surgeon’s Knot. to be honest, i’m not sure it really makes any difference in leader/fly presentation to the fish but it does because i believe it does. offset kinks look messy !

i really like this video by Jim Thielemann. rarely found on any step-by-steps or diagrams is the trick we find here of passing the line around the thumb to create the second loop. this keeps the whole knot visible with the loops separated as opposed to pinching the ensemble together and then trying to pull the second loop through the first to finalize/tighten the knot. this also makes for a better control of the size of the final loop.

______________________________________________

now, for today’s great tip. mostly intended as a strong, quick and easy connection point between the tapered part of the leader and its tippet giving us the advantage of not having to continuously reduce the tapered part’s length as we change tippet, we’ll be creating the Perfection Loop exactly as in the video above but this time we’ll see how to easily reduce the final loop’s size, something that’s rather hard to do when using the ‘standard’ method.
we’ll notice that he uses a headphone jack plug to determine the loop size and to give us a bigger visual understanding of how to do this however, getting a very-very small loop size is the goal so, a largish sewing needle or safety pin helps get  the correct size. an added bonus is these pins are tapered and smooth and this helps slide the loop off.

alexisdepuis‘s video is in frog but don’t fret, the visuals are very clear. what we’ll want to pay special attention to is how the loop size is reduced/adjusted by pulling on the tag end before later seating the knot completely by pulling the standing line, just as in the ‘standard’ version. as with any knot, be sure to lube it up with gooey saliva before pulling anything tight and seating. in this case it would need to be applied before pulling the tag end.
to conclude, a common way of terminating the loop when doing this at home is to add a very small drop of glue and letting it completely dry before adding tippet. that’s not really a necessity but it can augment the ‘confidence factor’.
finally, these teeny-tiny loops aren’t appropriate for a loop-to-loop connection, we simply tie the tippet to the loop with our favourite knot as if it where a hook eye. enjoy !

Fly Fishing tips and tricks- Repairing fly line coatings

some super-nice advice from Phil Monahan and Ted Leeson via MidCurrent

“Leeson recommends using adhesive to bond the exposed ends of the coating together and to the (undamaged) core. This is ultimately a temporary fix because the adhesive will eventually buckle, crack, or fail because of the constant bending and stretching that a fly line undergoes. However, if you only have to perform this operation a few times a year, it might be worth it.”phil monahan linerepair midcurrent
“1- Wash and dry the damaged area thoroughly.
2- Gently fold the fly line, so that the cut in the line widens, exposing the core.
3- Using the tip of a toothpick, apply a small amount of adhesive to the gap between the coating ends. Make sure some adhesive gets on both ends, as well as on the core.
4- Straighten the line to close the gap.”
and the article goes on and on including really solid methods to repair not just cracks but also areas of a line where the coating is missing over a larger area by using heat-shrink tubes, the always amusing fire element and even lightbulbs !

as for my own contribution to this subject i’ll start with a cracked coating experience that happened several years ago.
just as in the pic above, one day i noticed a crack on the running line just behind the line’s head on one of my ‘land-only’ practice lines. figuring that since its a form of plastic a little glue to fill the gap definitely wouldn’t hurt to extend this line’s life, at least for a little while. since all coatings are flexible it seemed pretty daft to use something like standard super-glue that becomes hard and inflexible when dried so i did an initial test with UV resin, Loon’s somethingorother i believe. once cured this resin remained flexible.

that’s all pretty straightforward but here’s where this little story becomes a bit more interesting and actually counters the “This is ultimately a temporary fix because the adhesive will eventually buckle, crack, or fail because of the constant bending and stretching that a fly line undergoes” quote above.
at the time i lived in a cabin in the woods. although there was a bit of lawn, most of it was impractical for fly casting so the main practice venue was the driveway and this driveway was covered with sharp gravel, the kind of stuff that loves to eat and wear down fly lines. i expected the UV ‘patch’ to come off quite quickly but after two more years of just about daily practice the line itself of course wore out completely but the tiny glue bump was still there doing its job. i’m still amazed how this half a drop worked so well.

call me cheap, an anti-consumerism eco-freak or whatever you want but i really don’t like throwing things away unless they’re completely worn out or don’t perform their function, specially when a quick solution is so efficient. something to think about if or when this happens to you.

enough babble, click the image for the complete article. enjoy !

Barrio Micro Nymph Fly Lines

something new, something very different, something exciting  !

by the description below we’ll see that this is indeed a specialty line not only because of its super-thin diameter but also that it is a parallel line with no taper. (that last part isn’t mentioned)
at first this might raise a few eyebrows but consider that when tight-line nymphing*, because of its heavier weight, any standard fly line outside of the rod tip is going to pull the leader butt down even just a little and this non-straight line between the rod tip and the flies means less control of the flies and less sensitivity to takes.
you’ll also notice that it doesn’t have an AFTMA rating because it wouldn’t make any sense because of this line’s specialty-specific design.
as with the competitors, if you’re looking for that special little edge to your nymphing and want to up your performance, this is the way to go.

* although probably not exactly new, i came upon the tight-line nymphing term recently, adopted it immediately and really love it as it englobes all the ‘Euro-Nymphing’ styles perfectly without having to go into the specificities of country, region or particular style; things that are all more than confusing even for Europeans, let alone the rest of the world…
Barrio Micro Nymph

The Barrio Micro Nymph: an ultra thin, lightweight fly line specifically designed for Tight Line Nymphing techniques.

The Barrio Micro Nymph line has been designed for Tight Line Nymphing techniques like Czech, Polish, French, Spanish, Euro-style nymphing, where longer rods and extra long leaders are used and the fly line is frequently barely out of the rod tip. It is not a fly line for conventional casting techniques.

Our stealthy semi opaque, pale olive coloured Micro Nymph line has a level profile of 0.55 diameter, which conforms to current international competition rules. We have developed new micro diameter line technology for this application that is unique to the Barrio brand. Finding the balance between a stiffer line that helps to avoid sagging between rod rings and from the rod tip to the water, yet supple enough to minimise memory, has not been easy at this diameter. It required lengthy research and development.

We experimented with high visibility tips to the line, but feedback from anglers was that they preferred the simple stealthy colour and to build indicators into their leader set-up at a point which suits them and the conditions of the day.

click the image to order yours.
sold for 27£ and as all Barrio products, the prices include free worldwide shipping. be sure to check Mike’s other fly lines for more ‘conventional’ fishing and casting competition specific lines, Barrio reels, super-fine wooden fly boxes and other yummy goodies HERE.

Fly Lines- Barrio SmallStream 2wt Line test

via Merge Fly Fishing

the video below isn’t much of a review in itself but it sums up all the important features and the film’s lovely location is a perfect example of where this new Barrio line shines like a star.
its short yet very stabile and well proportioned head design lets anglers of all levels easily get the fly where it should go in these tight spaces, whether we’re using aerial or rolls or spey casts.
i used this line model extensively throughout the past season in 3, 4 and 5wts and the great first impressions with each one haven’t changed a bit: i very highly recommend it.

in case you’re wondering, its use isn’t confined to minuscule fish as buddy Sandy Nelson demonstrates here !
sandy's smallstream troot

available in tan or light olive from sizes 1 to 5, click either pic for more info and user reviews on the Barrio site.
at 27£ ( 34€ – 43US$) including fast shipping anywhere in the world this one’s a no brainer.
barrio smallstream

Fly Lines- Cleaning and Maintenance

by Tim Flagler via Rio

” Hmm, feels nice, is it a new line ? “
” sort of, its about three years old… “

a direct quote from a course i gave last week and one that seems to repeat itself very regularly.

constantly amazed at how few fly anglers actually clean and treat they’re lines, hopefully a little encouragement followed by two detailed and well explained how-to videos will help reverse this habit and here’s why you should.

let’s start with the bad:
– casting with dirty lines just simply sucks. they make scratchy sounds as they go through rod guides. those scratchy sounds we hear are friction.
friction hinders sliding through the guides and increases friction when the line slides against the blank in-between the guides. this friction makes for jerky over-powered casting instead of the silky smooth casting which should always be our goal.
all this friction gets compounded when hauling and if the lines are sticky enough, it makes the return on a haul next to impossible and this means we introduced slack in the system when we where trying to get rid of it.
as you’ll have also guessed, all this friction greatly hinders line shooting and all this grit and gunk wears down rod guides and of course the lines themselves at remarkable rates.
see ? i told you it sucks. big time.

– dirty floating lines don’t float well, sit lower on the water surface or can actually sink, specially towards the thinner tip. this really sucks too.
the gunk that accumulated on the line prevents the surface tension thing from happening and it slowly goes under.
in the case of nymphing where we watch the line tip we don’t see it anymore and when fishing a floating fly, when we get a strike the extra ‘stick’ caused by the line tip and leader butt being underwater really helps in missed hookups because of instead of the line being instantly pulled up in a straight line from fly to rod tip, the rod end of the fly line goes upwards towards the rod and there’s a level, more or less horizontal portion (the stick) and then another downward angle between line stick and the turning fish.

multiple suck ! not only we had a harder time presenting the fly properly but also put the odds against us when its time to hook up, all ending in the inevitable dork/angst expression typically seen on anglers when this situation occurs !

ok, now for the good:
clean and treated fly lines cast wonderfully. in fact they cast better than straight-out-of-the-box lines because they aren’t treated at the factory…
take all of the negatives written above and reverse them. it’s as simple as that.
a line that’s in good shape, clean and treated flatters your casting and allows the angler to focus on the main goal: having fun, not being frustrated, fly presentation and good clean hook ups.

Tim’s videos are as always great. note all the detailed explanations and you can’t go wrong.
tip- if you have a double kitchen sink, then its even better and easier than buckets !
there’ll be a few more tips at the bottom of the post but for now here’s the vids. enjoy !

– house-hold use micro-fibre cloths work better than those little pads regardless who makes them. i always have this one on my chest pack and among a bunch of it’s other possible uses, when i’m finished fishing i retrieve all the line that’s been used through the cloth and this removes any gunk before it has time to dry on the line. it takes like five extra seconds to do this and delays trips to the sink/buckets maybe tenfold.
line rag– the hardest part is finding the right recipient but when you do, a little pad soaked in line dressing stuffed away in the chest-pack gets a gunky or slowly-sinking line tip and leader butt back in shape in a minute when on the water.
cast out, pinch the line with the pad and just reel in the line. done.
line treatment swab– and lastly, Scientific Angler’s line treatment gel is the best i’ve found and used so far regardless of fly line brand its applied to. it stays on longer and doesn’t need to be dried or wiped down again before using the line again. i’m sure Rio will forgive me…

Invisible Stripping

or, the ‘basketless stripping basket’  by Joe Mahler

some nice and simple line-management tips from Joe are on the menu today and these just might reduce a lot of swelling: the kind of mind-bloating-swelling exasperation we sometimes get when the line gets bunched up and catches the rod guides on the final delivery shoot or simply gets caught on the ground, grass, boat, bushes, shoe laces, rocks, vest (add your favourite anything because if it simply exists, it exists to catch our lines while we’re casting… )

another more-than-nifty use of Joe’s method is on rivers where retrieved line gets sucked downstream by the current which isn’t as bad as the list above but its still a pain.

anyhow, its all good but be sure to give this a little practice at home before the big trip so’s to avoid dextrous confusion whilst fishing. enjoy !