Saturday, May 12, 2012

Looping The End of a Fly Line

I really prefer having the end of my fly line to have a loop in it. It makes it much easier to replace a leader, put on a sinking leader or add on a sink tip. The loop really adds versatility to your fishing. I do prefer lines that have welded loops already attached but sometimes those have to be replaced. What I really do not like in the least are braided loops (the Chinese finger trap style ones). I have had those fail too many times. I had one fail with a client last week on the water. I did a quick field repair and got him back fishing, but I would much rather avoid the problem altogether.

So when I get a line that doesn't have a welded loop on it (on either end- more on that in a minute!) I make a loop myself. I thought I would put the instructions for doing that up so other folks can do it. I cannot take credit for this- Dave Whitlock and others have been doing it for years. So here goes- you will need the following:
Fly Line
X-acto Knife or razor blade
Bobbin with thread
Superglue- the brush on is the best!
The first thing to do is to cleanly cut the fly line at a very acute (sharp) angle. The longer and straighter the cut the better. Make sure it is a clean cut without anything hanging off the edges. This cut is very important- it will lead to a clean whip finish in the long run. The more acute the cut the less of a bump you will have in your line which will let it pass guides easier.

Cutting the acute angle
When you have that acute angle cut apply a little bit of super glue to the exposed surface and glue that to the fly line about an inch or so back forming a loop. You will want to hold onto this until it hardens, especially if your line has a slick coating. Once that has hardened then add some more super glue between the lines to get them parallel to one another leaving a loop on the end. Hold that until it dries- be sure not to glue yourself. Using the brush on type will help tremendously with that!
Gluing the end to the main line

To finish off use your bobbin to wrap the whole thing with thread. Use a thicker thread like you would use for bigger flies or even rod wrapping thread. I like to use a different color a lot of the time because it can work as a strike indicator for you or give you an indication where your line ends. Make the wraps pretty tight and cover everything from where you want the loop to start all the way to past where the cut line meets the main line. Put on a couple of whip finishes and coat the whole thing with super glue (or your favorite knot glue). I use super glue because it holds fast and does not make a bump after it dries.
Glued loop

One trick I use a lot with this is to put a loop on the back end of my line. I can change out lines much easier this way. I tie in either a Double Surgeon's Loop or a Perfection Loop with the loop being about a foot long. That way I can pass a line spool through it. It also passes the guide really well. This really makes changing lines a lot easier. Of course it is a lot easier to have an extra spool.... but they aren't always cheap!

Hope this helps folks out! I haven't had one of these fail...

Wrapped, whip finished and waiting for glue!


  1. Eureka Drew! Thanks man, very timely, especially this time of year when I'm changing out for a sinking leader when fishing deep for monsters. Switching back to my mono or flouro leader for nymphing is so much easier with a loop end on the line. Thanks again.

  2. I hadn't seen this before and performed the surgery on a line last week. Works great. Thanks Drew!