How to Attach a Fly Line to a Leader

How to Attach a Fly Line to a Leader
Flyfishing is an enjoyable and relaxing means of catching a variety of game fish in both freshwater and saltwater. For many people, however, it's a method of angling shrouded in mystery. The mystery of how to assemble the rod, reel, lines and flies into a single unit used to catch a fish can be overwhelming. Breaking this setup process into individual parts can help alleviate fears associated with the sport.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Fly line
  • Fly leader
  • Scissors
  • Nail knot-tying tool
Step 1
Hold a nail knot-tying tool in one hand so that the tool's pointed end is forward. Grip the tool so that your thumb rests on the thumb pad just behind the slotted front point.
Step 2
Raise your thumb and pull the butt, or larger end, of the fly line leader across the thumb pad and underneath your thumb. Pull enough leader so that it extends 3 to 4 inches beyond the front pointed end of the nail knot-tying tool.
Step 3
Place your thumb firmly on the thumb pad and hold the line securely in place. Pull the line down through the small notch in the lower front of the point and begin wrapping the line tightly around the point of the tool. Begin near the point and work back toward the thumb pad. Wrap the line six or seven times around the point of the tool.
Step 4
Maintain tension on the line, turn the free end of the leader down in to the groove of the point and pull underneath the wraps. Do not pull the wraps off the point of the tool but maintain enough tension to prevent the wraps from coming undone.
Step 5
Insert 1/2 to 3/4 inch of the fly line end into the groove of the tool. The line will enter the front of the tool and slide in the groove back toward your thumb. Use a quick pulling motion to pull the free end extending from the front of the tool forward. This will pull the wrapped nail knot from the tool onto the fly line. Maintain pressure with your thumb as the knot is transferred onto the fly line.
Step 6
Trim the free ends of the leader and fly line extending from the knot closely with a sharp pair of scissors. This ensures that the knot slides through the line guides without catching or snagging.

Article Written By Keith Dooley

Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.

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