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The dissapearing art of the nail knot

October 10, 2016 1 min read

How to tie a nail knot

This one seems to be becoming a lost art as most fly line manufacturers put loops on their fly lines. For light presentations to trout, welded loop to loop connections are far from ideal if you are looking for the very best turnover characteristics.
For delicate presentations when fishing small dry flies and emergers a nail knot or needle knot are the only way to go - let’s face it, loop to loops are great for saltwater fishing but when it comes to Trout they’re pretty amateur.

The combination of a tapered fly line and tapered leader are designed to dissipate the energy of the cast and turn over with delicacy and accuracy. Getting that size 16 Adams to alight on the water's surface like thistle down is the name of the game and a welded loop is a heavy imprecise connection that tends to flail around and land heavily, thus negating all the time (and expense) you’ve gone to purchasing that “presentation” fly line and a fly rod that is not a broomstick. 

None of our Epic fly lines have welded loops for this very reason, after-all, why would anyone offer a fly line designed for presentations and then stick a loop on the end?

Tying a tapered leader onto a fly line is a pretty simple exercise and there are many ways to do it - here are a couple.

Nail knot - with a nail!


Nail Knot with a tube from animated

(Cutting the ends off a Q-tip or cotton bud make a great nail knot tool)

How to tie a nail knot


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2 Responses

Mark Forster
Mark Forster

November 23, 2021

I don’t use a nail, braided like doesn’t really pass through the gap created by using a nail anyway. Instead I use a loop of tippet or backing to pull the tag end of the backing under the wraps. Unless you’re using some pretty light fly line it’s not that difficult to do without a nail.

Peter Ortmann
Peter Ortmann

October 11, 2016

I am carrying the “Tie-Fast” knot tool! It may not look like much, but its been the best spent 10 bucks in my life!! Loop-to-Loop junctions are a thing of the past since then, and I must look kinda smug when I see fellow fly-fishermen struggeling with getting their loops through the guides :-)

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