Nailess Nail Knot
Sounds a bit like an oxymoron, but it’s so easy and so fast to tie, that even oxen can do it. The nail knot has been around for a long, long time, and it’s a really great way to attach the leader to the fly line. I actually attach a 12—15 inch piece of leader butt to the fly line to make a connector, and then loop my leaders on and off the connector. Go to Jason’s Blog to see the connector concept and the Perfection Loop that we use to make the leader to connector attachment.
To make a nail knot really fast without a nail or tube, follow the diagrams below. I developed the “twist” technique for this knot many years ago, and everyone that tries it can do it, and do it fast.
Step 1. Make a loop in the leader material, then wind the short end of the leader around the fly line and through the loop. Wind the short end up the fly line. Drawing by Jason Borger
Steps 2 & 3. Simultaneously pull and twist ONLY the short end of the leader to spin the knot over. Don't over tighten. Slide the mono coils down toward the end of the line, push them together while gently drawing out the extra mono, then tighten firmly (really firmly) and clip off the ends. Drawing by Jason Borger
Notice that the leader comes off the side of the line when the knot is done. Sometimes the end of the line will catch in a guide, so I make a slight variation on the knot that prevents hangups. It’s called the Needle Knot and is very easy to do. Follow the diagrams below.
Step 1. Insert a needle into the end of the fly line about 1/8 to 3/16 of an inch, and then out the side. Allow the needle to remain in place for a couple of minutes so the plastic of the line will stretch a bit. Drawing by Jason Borger
Step 2. Trim the end of the mono to a point, pull the needle out, and thread the mono in the end of the fly line and out the side. Now tie a Nailess Nail Knot. Notice that the leader now comes right out of the center of the fly line. This connection will flow through the guides very smoothly. Drawing by Jason Borger