Originally Posted by mtbusman
I'm still tying my leaders based on an article that Gary wrote for the Flyfisher in the 1980s, "principles of leader design." He recommended in that article (among other things) that you nail knot a 10" connector of heavy mono to the end of your fly line. Then, you can tie your leader(s) to this using a blood or other suitable knot. You won't have to make a new nail knot every time you need a new leader. And it helps make a smooth connection between the fly line and the leader. No loops, better transition.
One other thing you can try. Put a small amount of Knot Sense over your knot. Not too much -- you don't want to add too much mass to your knot -- but with a little at each end of the knot, you can make it so the knot slips throught the guides almost like it wasn't there.
I also smooth the nail knot but I use use Pliobond.
The way to to keep knots from catching on the rod and tip top guides is to TURN THE ROD OVER (reel up) when bringing the leader knots into the fly rod guides. The knots then ride along the fly rod blank and NOT over the the guides. It is a simple and effective way of keeping those big fish from breaking off when you need to bring the nail knot into the guides.