by J. M. Chico Fernández
Not all line-to-leader knots are created equal. It pays to know which one to use for the line on your reel.
Fly Fishing Knots and Leader Connections

The author prepares to release a hefty bonefish taken on 6-weight tackle, where the proper line-to-leader knot is essential to holding and landing your quarry.

Chico Fernandez photo

ONCE OR TWICE A YEAR I conduct part of my fly-fishing school out on the flats, where my students and I can spread out to hunt for bonefish. During these sessions, I see all kinds of fly-rod and fly-line combinations, along with a great variety of rigging methods, leader constructions, and knots. Some are very good; some not very good at all.

On one particular day during an incoming tide, several large schools of bonefish roamed around the “classroom.” A few anglers were hooked up, but I noticed one guy who had been fighting the same bonefish for a while. He had the fish in close, but the bone always managed to remain a few yards out of reach. Walking toward the guy, I spotted his problem from 20 yards away: The knot joining the fly line to the butt section of the leader was too big to pass through the rod’s tip top, and the length of the leader allowed the fish to swim out of reach. Read More…