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.

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

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 Fishing Life-Hacks- A small, sturdy and inexpensive Waterproof Box

as fishers, water is our best friend but that doesn’t go for everything we take with us when out having fun and whether we like it or not, that fun means sometimes getting thoroughly soaked in one manner or an other. first on the list of things that don’t like to get wet are phones, wallets, electronic car keys, smokables, cameras and the list can go on and on depending on every individual and what they like or need to bring along.

the little ‘fly fishing hack’ below does the trick really well, is completely waterproof and even submersible. i haven’t tested it deeper but no water goes in even at arm’s length underwater. as i’ve noticed over the years, when i fall in my torso tends to stay near the surface and the box stays in the backpack part of my chestpack so depth and its inherent pressure isn’t a problem.
it floats when fully packed, sometimes not very high on the water depending on what’s inside but at least we can retrieve it without having to dive for it should it fall in. the little split-ring can connect to a tether so it can’t possibly get away.
i don’t throw things around to see how strong they are and try not to fall off cliffs but after several years of use it doesn’t have a single crack.

WP Box 1its one of those C&F fly box ripoffs that sell for about 10€, this one was given to me by a friend years ago. the slotted fly holding inserts and swing leaf where really crap and never really did what they where supposed to do: hold flies.
now, being a gift from a good friend i couldn’t just throw this thing away because that’s really bad friend mojo but a minor alteration and few minutes of easy work turned it into something very serviceable and the friend mojo is still strong.

alteration is really easy, just rip out the foam inserts and clean up the residual glue with WD-40 and finish by washing with dish soap to get rid of the WD-4’s residue and smell. done.
once re-glued to a board to keep them straight, the inserts make for pretty nifty temporary fly holders/driers at the tying bench.

the serious do-it-yourselfer will probably have found that quite boring and unchallenging but the result is a very cheap box that does what its supposed to do and does it better than roll-top bags and other lots-more-expensive cases. i like easy, cheap and good.

tip- as with any waterproof housings for phones, cameras and whatnot, testing its waterproofness should be done beforehand at home. place some paper inside, close well and put it at the bottom of a bucket with a stone on top to hold it submersed.
go eat some chocolate, come back and remove the case from the bucket and wipe down the outside. once opened, the paper should be dry. if not, check the rubber seal and replace if cracked. a little food-grade silicone grease once in a while keeps the joint in good-as-new shape.

WP Box 2

in a snap, and maybe mostly for those of us who don’t do a lot big-big streamer fishing and don’t have dedicated boxes for them, the box gets dumped of its valuables and the big fluff takes its place. of course, this means those valuables are no longer protected from water and bumps. the circle is complete… WP Box 3

Fly Rods- The Making of a carbon fibre blank

by David Norwich

having had the opportunity to cast one of David’s rods at a casting meet several years ago, i can attest to the overall high-level quality of his craft. by following the link above we’ll see that the Scot has since semi-retired from the rod making business and that’s a sad thing indeed.
straying away from sentiments, today’s blank building demonstration give us a good idea how our cherished sticks are made. as we’ll notice in the vid, this was a small operation but even if the ‘bigger’ companies have fancier and probably time and labour saving machinery, the basic process remains the same. enjoy !

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…