How to Tie a Fly Rod

How to Tie a Fly Rod
Setting up a fly rod is a necessary part of fly fishing as well as part of the routine maintenance every fly angler should know how to do. Connecting lines designed to perfom different functions involves the use of specialized knots to securely hold the different sized lines securely together. This part of fly fishing is sometimes intimidating for new anglers but it is actually an easy process once the knots themselves are explained.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Fly line backing
  • Fly line
  • Leader
  • Nail knot tool
  • Scissors
Step 1
Pull several inches of backing material around the spool of the fly reel and secure it with an arbor knot. Tie an over hand knot in the free end of the backing line so that the loop of the knot passes around the main backing line. Tie a second over hand knot, using only the free end, below the first knot. Pull the knots down tightly against the spool of the reel.
Step 2
Hold the line in front of the reel and apply tension as you turn the reel handle. Wind the backing onto the face of the spool evenly. Cut the backing free from the filler spool with sharp scissors.
Step 3
Attach the backing line to the main fly line with an albright knot. Form a loop 4 inches from the free end of the main fly line so there's a loop and at least 2 inches of double line. Feed the free end of the backing line through fly line loop and down past the double line for several inches. Hold the lines securely together and begin wrapping the free end of the backing around the three lines. Work toward the loop forming six or seven wraps. Pull the free end of the backing through the main line loop the same way it originally passed through and pull down tightly.
Step 4
Apply tension to the main fly line as you turn the handle to wind line onto the spool. Transfer all of the fly line onto the reel to prevent damage to the design of the fly line.
Step 5
Attach a leader to the end of the fly line with a nail knot using a nail knot tool. Hold the nail knot tool with your thumb on top and the pointed end forward. Pull the leader butt, or larger end, under your thumb and down into the slot so 3 to 4 inches extend past the tool. Position the leader in the small indention on the bottom front of the tool and wrap the leader around the point of the tool working toward your thumb for six turns. Feed the leader down into the slot, under the wraps and out the front.
Step 6
Insert 1 inch of the main fly line into the slot toward your thumb. Hold the leader line securely under your thumb and pull on the free end of the leader extending from under the wraps out the front of the tool. Use a quick snap to transfer the nail knot onto the main fly line. Trim the free ends of both line closely with scissors.

Tips & Warnings

Fly lines can feature weight forward or taper designs that are damaged by cutting. If all of the line will not fit on the spool, remove the fly line and reduce the amount of backing.

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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