The Connector and the Perfection Loop
Tying the Nailess Nail Knot every time one needs or wants to change a leader is a real pain in the back side. In addition it requires that the line be trimmed back an inch or two with each change, This is good for line manufacturers because one would need to buy new lines on a weekly basis. It’s not good for our fishing however, because retying the knot so often chews up valuable fishing time, and buying so many lines means we have nothing left to buy gas to go on our fishing trips. Perhaps it’s all just a plot by an elitist group of fly fishers to keep people away from the the streams. Or perhaps not!
Line manufacturers have responded to this need by adding loops at the end of their lines, so the angler may simply loop leaders on and off as necessary. The scheme is not without merit, but the line loop adds extra weight right at the line tip, causing the line to kick over more abruptly. This might be OK when fishing a riffle or rapids, when deep nymphing, or heaving one of the long flies, but it less than ideal when fishing delicate imitations to spooky trout. Furthermore, the loop can and does hang up in the guides (especially snake guides) at the most awkward of moments—like landing the biggest fish of a lifetime.
The answer in the past, and the answer now, is the connector system. The connector is just a piece of leader butt about 12 to 15 inches long permanently attached to the end of the fly line with a Needle Knot and having a perfection look at the other end. For “standard”-sized trout rods (4-6) I use a piece of .020″ brown Maxima Chameleon (MC). For the little boys (3 and under) I use .018″ MC, and for the bigger boys (7-9) I use .022″ MC. For the biggest boys (10-12), I use .024″ MC.
The connector provides a very smooth transition that won’t hang up in the guides and allows swift changing of leaders. The perfection loop at the terminal end of the connector and the butt end of the leader should be about 5/8 inches long (about the width of your thumbnail). Too long and they separate and don’t make a solid connection. Too short and they won’t lock together correctly.
Here’s the way to tie the perfection loop—straight out of my book Presentation. (Illustrations by Jason Borger).