What do you feel is the best way to connect your fly line to your leader? I've been using the SA L2L connectors with fairly good results. Do folks out there prefer braided loops? Knots? A couple wraps of Duct Tape?
Hard to discribe but here goes. I bought some braided looking loops approx. 2"-3" long that slides over your fly line. A little tube of shrink wrap slides over both and is heated/melted down to hold all in place. Then it's just a loop to loop; fly line to leader. Will the shrink wrap hold??? Don't know yet but hope to find out soon.
I'm not a big fan of loops, especially for dry applications. I only use them on 2-3 lines that get utilized in ways that require different leaders. On those that I do loop, I use a few inches of mono, nail knotted to the line. All the rest I connect directly with a 3 wrap nail knot and a touch of zap or knot sense to seal up the end of the line. The vast majority of my spools are used for for fairly specific applications, and hence rarely need leader changes.
Hi There ..
For 6 wt & under to attach the leader I use a needle nail knot with a little bit of " Knot sense" in the shape of a football around it & sealing the tip of the flyliune & smoothing out the very small bump the needle nail knot makes. When it's time to change leaders I cut the old leader off about a foot down from the needle knot & tie the replacement leader on with a blood knot or I put a loop in the end & use a loop to loop connection with the new leader.
I will use the amnesia red line for line to leader connection if I'm attaching it on a heavier line , say a 7, or 8 wt. when I'm using a regular Nail knot. I'll change leaders the same way... I use the needle nail knot on smaller wt rods because the tip tops are usually smaller
for floating lines on rods where i'm not targeting really large freshwater or saltwater fish, i use the sa l2l connectors. i think they're great. and i can tie a nail knot freehand w/the best of them, and have used every sort of loop contraption known to man. if i'm going bigger than that, i'm using nail knots w/zap-a gap or that uv glue. i do not trust loop connections anymore and they all sink...sooner rather than later.
i'm very frugal. so i'm always looking for any angle to save money over time. sa l2l leaders cost no more than comparable leaders w/o the connectors and i don't have to spend extra for a loop connection or keep clipping off fly line every time i change leaders. and they do work as advertised: slip through guides well, holding strength (test), float as well as any loop-to-loop, and give you a built-in indicator of sorts.
i buy all of my trout and pan fish leaders in 3x, too. i use a variety of tippet materials to achieve different presentation results. this also cuts down on leader purchases.
another great system for line-to-leader connection from a frugality and function perspective is the whitlock method. but this takes a bit of practice. use a cheap, old fly line for practice until you get it down to a science. always use a 3x mono tapered leader for trout and pan fish and you can't go wrong. use the same concept but bigger leaders for bigger lines. ex: on an 8wt, i'd go with a 1x or 0x tapered mono leader for freshwater and fluoro for saltwater. on a streamer line, i'd use a flat leader of appropriate strength.
go to dave whitlock's website for more details. if you can master this system and aren't lazy and sa isn't a major gear sponsor of yours, this is the very best way to do it.
As I've posted elsewhere on this Forum, I'm a big fan of Scientific Anglers L2L Reconnect leaders. I agree with flyguy66 that you're really not paying more for them than other quality leaders, but would add that the L2L connectors are so durable that when the leader shortens up due to numerous tippit changes, I merely cut the leader back to around a foot of the butt following the connector and then construct my own custom hand-tied leader from that. They last forever that way.
In my opinion, they're as fast to change out as loop-to-loops and are a lot more reliable (if you're using braided or shrink-wrap loop connectors) and don't "hinge" like loop-to-loop connections are prone to do. In addition, in my tailwater fishing I use a lot of dropper rigs, and they're perfect for that, especially in combination with the Orvis Dropper Rig Fly Box, which accommodates 10-15 pre-rigged L2L leaders with lead and dropper flies, allowing quick dropper combination changes on the water instead of tedious re-tying of new flies.
very good points about hinging and quick-change of dropper rigs. i forgot to mention these benefits. i don't use droppers often. and i haven't used loops in so long that hinging totally slipped my mind.
Checked out your websites; very interesting. I particularly related to your tale of your Gila Wilderness trip, which mirrors my experience when I lived in El Paso way back in the early 1970's. Never found any serious trout there then, either. Frankly, in my five-year experience prospecting for trout in New Mexico (a state I love), always found that New Mexico really does a poor job of maintaining their trout fisheries. While I didn't fish the San Juan then, my recent several experiences fishing it confirms that the New Mexican government doesn't really spend much effort on maintaining their trout fisheries, which is a real shame, since they have so many beautiful and potentially-rewarding trout waters.
well, i made a very superficial stab at the gila on that day trip. and when you read between the lines of the puff and fluff sources written by guides and such, it seems that one has to get pretty into the backcountry to find any real trout fishing. so that is my next undertaking. but the gila is not a place to trifle with. it is serious backpacking country. i've got a fly fishing acquaintance from chapparal with a pack mule team who wants to do it that way. so we will probably make a very serious expedition of it. and if i can't get into any major troutage with that sort of outfit, then they just aren't there. i'm also studying the writings of a guy who has spent the past 20 years up there - a modern mountain man if there is such a thing. and i plan to spend some time with him in person. he's also an avid fly angler. so i'm confident i will know what is/isn't there by the end of summer.
in my opinion, the best fly fishing in the state of new mexico is in the northeast quadrant of the state. there are some gems from taos to the north and east.
my opinion with new mexico trout fisheries overall - and this is just what i consider a first impression, as i have only made 2 short vacation trips in the past and now been poking around for 5 months down here in the south - is that trout habitat in new mexico is likely the most fragile in north america. we're talking about cold water in the desert, after all. the geological landscape is 99% volcanic rock formations and desert sands. water comes from snowfall runoff in the rocky mountains to the north. high winds drive sand into the streams like snowdrifts, creating siltation even without runoff from rains. high temperatures scorch waters exposed to sunlight most of the year. brief monsoon seasons create fierce flash flooding that rips streamside vegetation out by the roots, scouring any growing trees, tall weeds, bushes, etc. all too frequently to establish good shade along large stretches of coldwater streams.
add to all of this natural pressure on the fisheries the fact that new mexico has a very strong "rape, pillage, and plunder" extractive culture based on a history of mining and trying to ranch the unsustainable desert; and a modern economy dependent heavily on natural gas exploitation, and the poor trout barely stands a chance.
i will tell you this: i have already caught a 22" brown trout here on the lower rio grande where conventional fly fisherman wisdom said it could not be done because NO trout exist...let alone quality trout. even the local fish biologist from nmg&f told me that while he finds them in fish studies and knows they are there, no anglers ever catch them. that's how i knew they were there. and i know enough about fishing to know that if nobody was catching them there, it was because nobody else knew they were there! water conditions were horrible for fly fishing, or i would have caught more.
probably shouldn't have hijacked this thread. we probably should have started a new one. so i apologize to the original poster.