This morning, my oldest and I went down for about an hour or so. While there I had a line out with the spinning rod and I figured I would fix the leader on my fly rod so I could switch to fly.
I tried to tie a Blood Knot, about 5 times with interruptions to help my son with tangles, casting, etc. It was not my morning for tieing knots.
So, I figured I would make this a little easier next time. For one, I decided to snip off my hacked together leader and use a premade one. This cut down my knots I had to tie by several to one.
For those that do not know, a leader is a section of monofilament line (think fishing line like you probably know it) that is attached to the fly rods fly line. A fly line works by weight in the line, not in weights added to the line. So to cast a fly line the fly line does the work of the weight.
Now, that last 7-12 feet of leader is about magic. The leader is a tapered line that starts thick (about the same thickness as the fly line) but it gradually drops in thickness, weight, and strength. Traditionally a fly fisherman would make this leader by tieing about 5 different thickness of monofilament together to create this taper. Today, we can buy this in the store pre-made.
Now, why all this about a leader, why all the work, and what is this magic?
You see the the leader can be customized for strength of test line you want to use so that you can use thicker line to catch bigger fish. That is one piece of the magic. Get this wrong and your leader breaks, losing fish, and fly (flies can get expensive).
The true magic, though, comes in on how the line presents the fly on the water. By this, I mean, a properly prepared leader will allow the line to unroll over the water and deposit the fly gently onto the surface of the water. This allows you to dance a dry fly over the water in a natural way that does the minimum disturbance to the surface while your fly lands on the water. This allows you to trick the fish into thinking your fly is real. And gulp! At least, that's what they say ;-)
So, I decided to make the attachment of this leader easier. I cut the factory installed leader with a couple feet of the thick monofilament still attached. I then added a Perfection (or Angler's) Loop knot to the end of this old leader. Then I was able to easily join the two lines (fly line and new leader) with a loop to loop knot that is easy to tie (slip knots together) and allows me to switch out this new leader quickly with a factory created leader when the time comes in a year or so.
Here are the two lines joined together with a Loop-to-loop Knot, which can be tied only one way: