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  1. Default Scientific Anglers L2L

    Fly Fishing with Doug Macnair
    Product Updates
    “The New Connection: It’s Called L2L”©

    Doug Macnair

    Well, Science has done it again – what they’ve done this time is develop a simple foolproof connector for the critical leader butt to line connection. So, what’s the result? No more nail knots, no more loops, no more gadgets, just a connection that anyone can do in seconds and opposed to minutes...

    Who is “they?” Well, “they” is Scientific Anglers. What is it? It is the new System L2L Connector. What does it mean? You silly! It means Line 2 (to) Leader connector. What does it do? It replaces nail knots, loop-to-loop connections, and even acts as a strike indicator.

    Hard to believe? No doubt! The fact is, it really works … and it works well!

    The System L2L Connector, as this picture depicts, consists of two parts: (1) the line connector and (2) the leader connector. Put the two together and you have a setup that’s hard to beat. The directions are simple – simple enough that I didn’t screw up in putting the two together; and once together, you have a marriage between leader butt and fly line that will ordinarily take more than 10-pounds to break.

    But the really neat thing about this new system is straightforward: no longer will the subject of “knots” inhibit folks who want to enter the sport. Later, they can learn and tie all the knots they want – but not before they have become a fly fisher. It’s my guess that the Ancient Fish Gods’ stomachs are in turmoil.

    When the connector system first arrived, I examined the contents: one package contained the line connector tool complete with 5 connectors; the other packages contained several Mastery Trout series leaders with the leader connector attached. (I happen to like the Trout leaders, especially when tied to Scientific-Anglers new Trout series lines.)

    I had my doubts about the system … The first thing that went through my mind was that the connector would never pass though the guides. The second thing was a guess that the connector would inhibit the cast by not enabling a smooth transition of power from the line to the leader. Both thoughts proved why I do a better job as a user rather than a developer. I was wrong on both counts. As John Dewey, renowned educator argued, we learn by doing…

    Scientific Anglers has made it easy: simply follow the step by step directions and within seconds you have a line with leader permanently attached. If I can’t go wrong in putting it together, neither can you.

    By the way, when the two are joined it becomes a permanent connection. While you will use up the tippet and perhaps part of the midsection, there isn’t much chance of using up the butt section. I’ve had leader butts connected to lines that have lasted for as much as three years or more. The only thing that required change is an occasional midsection and, of course, changing the tippet as flies come and go. If you’ve been changing out leaders when your tippet ran out, you’ve been wasting money!

    At the end of the day, reel in: the connector will pass through the guides without a hitch and come to rest on the reel’s spool. There the connector will recline until your next outing requiring nothing save a quick examination to verify that the connection is still intact … If the leader is nicked, it’s time to learn to tie a few knots to attach a new tippet or midsection.

    Now we come to the most important question -- how does it cast?

    Simply stated, my second doubt evaporated: Inhibit the cast? No way! The L2L enhanced the cast. The ‘Ole Fly Fisher was wrong. I know it’s hard to believe but it is true: everything worked better, particularly with the 3 and 4-weight setups. In these lighter weights better distance, neat pickups, smoother turnovers are the name of the game. As you move up to the 6 or 7-weights, the magic effect of the connector is reduced a bit but its aerodynamic effect never goes completely goes away. By the way, the L2L makes a darn good strike indicator for those of us into nymphing. Just think: nothing to stick or tie-on … or, for that matter, come off.

    Suffice it to say that the L2L connector makes for a smooth casting machine. I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true. Isn’t that great? No longer does a neophyte (along with a few old-timers) have to worry about the witticism: When a knot’s not, it not a knot. Given the folks I’ve tried to help in tying knots, Scientific Anglers has advance the gentle sport by about ten years.

    Like most things Scientific Anglers does, there is one shortcoming to the L2L System. I want an L2L tailored to fit my 8 and 9-weights… For the flats that would make my day. The leaders would be 7.5 or 9-feet with either a 12 or 16 pound class tippet.

    I think I understand the problem from Scientific Anglers’ viewpoint – some manufacturers are still using “little” guides on bigger rods. So be it! I think they think “it looks good that way.” But increasingly the makers are learning that larger guides make for better casting, better wind fighting, and, therefore, better fishing in the salt. In my case if the prototype L2Ls for 8/9-weight work as I think they would, I would be the first to buy a rod with oversized guides … as if I didn’t have them already. I’ll bet you would, too … better casting, better distance, better wind fighting, better turnover … think about it … Of course there is always the real possibility that if you like the L2L system, 8 & 9-weight rods that will take the system will suddenly appear at your local fly shop … only a fool would fail to take advantage of the market.

    It worth repeating: the L2L is a neat innovation. The Line Connector tool and 5 connectors will run about $3.99 while the Mastery Connector leader will be about $3.95. I think that’s a very good deal.

    For more information regarding the System L2L Connector, contact:
    3M Scientific Anglers, 3M Center, Bldg. 223-4NE-05, St. Paul, MN 55144-1000. Telephone: 1-(800) 430-5000.

    © Copyright: Douglas G. Macnair, 1999-2005.

  2. Default Re: Scientific Anglers L2L

    This L2L system looks good, but I have a few questions on it that I hope you may be able to clear up for me.
    1. After the tippet runs out on the prefab leaders can you use a roll of tippet material to replace it, or do you have to use the prefab leaders?
    2. If you can replace the tippet with tippet off of a roll how do you reconnect the system?
    3. Do you use this system for dry flies as well? If not, what type of fishing do you use it for?

  3. Default Re: Scientific Anglers L2L

    The L2L has been replaced by its product improved cousin, the Reconnect Tapered Leader System. Basically the difference between the two is simple: as the name implies, the latest version can be removed and used over again.

    I’ve fished the L2L in its original form for well over a year and have never had a problem; in fact, if you find them at a discount, I suggest you load up. SA is well known for the high quality of their leader material. I like the think of the L2L as a 9-foot leader that’s made up with 7-feet of butt and mid-section with the remaining 2-feet comprising the tippet. The way I tie, that’s about 4 to 5 flies; at that point, I tie on a new piece of tippet material and continue to fish. I’m not very finicky whether the tippet material is made by whomever or simply just a piece of good old Stren – in the right diameter, of course…

    The L2L works equally well wet or dry.


    P.S. You might also care to read my articles at:

  4. Default Re: Scientific Anglers L2L

    dougmI would like to thank you very much for your help with this. I did read your article on this but I still have a few questions for you if you've got the time.1. Are you still using this product? If you are, do you use it exclusively for 7 wt and under?2. Can you use other leader material with this system if you want a longer or sinking leader?I just left the local pro shop and they were not big fans of it, some even hated it. Thier reasons were:1. The connection will cause you to lose fish if the connection is going through your eyelet as you bring the fish in.2. It makes you lazy and is basically a beginner/unskilled persons crutch for flyfishing. I'm guessing they are not refering to you.

  5. Default Re: Scientific Anglers L2L

    I think that I've done more than an adequate job of explaining the L2L System ... Whoever told you that you will lose fish using the L2L is not a folk who you should have any regard for; if you do, that's a problem for you to reconcile with yourself. You can listen to anyone you care to and so far, are free to accept of reject their advice. Let's hope that continues...

    This is not a debate! You asked for my comments and I responded with my best answer. I've already stated that I think a 5-weight line is the top of the range I would use the L2L; that's because of the variance in the thickness of the forward taper and whether it may of may not fit the connector. I also suggested that I use the L2L all the time without a hitch...


  6. Default Re: Scientific Anglers L2L

    Your hostile response to my question is perplexing. I am completely new to flyfishing and was just looking for some opinions, pro or con, and useful information on this product. I wasn't trying to bash you personally or even debate you. I was just asking you for your opinion on this product. The Scientific Anglers website and your column did not answer a few of the questions I had about it. Despite the negative reviews by my local pro shop, which I never said I agreed or disagreed with if you reread my earlier posts, I was still interested this product. Since you are the only one from this site responding to my question, I asked for your personal opinion. I'm sorry you have misinterpreted my questioning.

  7. #7

    Re: Scientific Anglers L2L

    Email and itnernet posts are known for people taking things in the wrong light. Stick with it, Doug is full of good advice and will be happy to help you out.

    I just bought an L2L Reconnect and put it on my 4 weight. I'll try it out in the morning. I've had some "hinging" problems (where the stiffness difference between line and leader cause poor turnover) in the past with my hand-tied loop , and I hope the L2L corrects this. I'm also looking for the L2L to keep the end of the line floating high, and the strike-indicator function is an added bonus.
    Jakeway Near Nashville, TN

    Kayaks: Just part of the drag system

  8. Default Re: Scientific Anglers L2L

    Thanks for adding your 2 cents into this topic for me.

    "Email and itnernet posts are known for people taking things in the wrong light." I guess so. I think part of the problem is I'm a total rookie at this and was not phrasing my question for him correctly.

    "I've had some "hinging" problems (where the stiffness difference between line and leader cause poor turnover) in the past". It's funny you should post this because today was my first time out flyfishing and I noticed this as a problem for me as well. I intentionally lined my reel with the same fly line that was on the reel from my casting class I took recently. So this one has me puzzled. I'm thinking it's the loop to loop connection of the fly line to leader but I could be wrong. I was also having a difficult time getting this loop to loop connection through my top eyelet.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Scientific Anglers L2L

    Results of my test: I found everything Doug said is true, though the strike indicator benefits for me was marginal. Mostly because 1) The connector happens to be the same color as my line (lime yellow) so it didn't stand out as well; 2) my eyes aren't as good as they used to be; 3) the casts were getting so much better that I couln't see that far anyway!

    I was casting into a slight wind, and there were some trees behind me limiting my backcast, but I'd say the casts were going 15-20% farther with less effort, and much better turnover. I was using a 7.5' 3-4 wt rod, and was getting nice 35-40 foot casts, which is pretty good for me with that tackle and conditions. I'm confident I can do better with plenty of space, or from a boat.

    The connector did improve the floating, too. It stayed on top nicely when using dries or un-weighted nymphs. It broke below the film slightly when I used a beadhead wooly bugger, but certainly less than with the nail-knot connection. (I'm using a pretty low-cost line, and the tip tends to sag; I hope to get better line soon.)

    I had no problems with the connector catching on the guides, but I didn't catch any large fish to make that last run right at the end.

    BTW, I also managed to catch a couple smallmouths and a few panfish during the test.
    Jakeway Near Nashville, TN

    Kayaks: Just part of the drag system

  10. Default Re: Scientific Anglers L2L

    Thanks for posting the results of your test. It sounds to me like you had a good day fishing as well. I guess my last concern for this product is can you modify the L2L Reconnect to add your own leader material if you want a longer leader than 9'? It doesn't say so in the Scientific Anglers website and it's difficult to tell from the pics on their site.

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