Leader Knot Quality

by Fly Fisherman

You have noted that we stress the quality of the leader knots. Just any old connecting tie won’t do. Where a leader crosses itself in a knot is definitely a weaker link, sometimes reducing the strength in half. Care should be taken to learn and make the correct knot which will provide the strongest possible tie in the weakest locality of your terminal tackle.
You’ve heard fishermen complain that the fish just snapped the leader and got away. That was not the fault of the leader in nine out of ten cases. The reason the fish got off was because the angler wasn’t prepared, either through ignorance or carelessness, so the fish turned out to be a better man than he was. The angler might have been using too fine a leader for the water he was fishing or his leader knots were faulty or he permitted simple overhand knots, which will occasionally form in the tippet, to remain and weaken that part of his leader to a great degree.

An interesting and sometimes an extremely effective variation in dry fly fishing, when circumstances warrant it, is “windapping,” sometimes called “fly bouncing” and “blowline fishing.” This scheme of fishing is best done from a boat on a lake, but can, in cases, be conducted on a stream. One has little control of exactness in the presentation of the fly but with the conditions under which the method is pursued there is not too great a need for it.

The tackle, for best effects, is more or less special. The longer the fly rod, within reasonable bounds, the better the job. I like to use one at least nine feet long and longer is better, even up to twelve or fourteen feet. The lighter the rod the more fun and pleasure you will get. The reel can be almost any kind commonly used for trout fishing, whether it be the single action type, an automatic or a casting reel. The line should necessarily be ultra light. I like to use two- or three-pound monofilament and one should have, at least, one hundred yards on the reel. The fly itself is optional but should be a good floater and well dressed with floatant because there is no opportunity to dry it with false casts. It goes without saying that the fly too, should, after a fashion, resemble something that looks edible to the trout and not a concoction that would scare the daylight out of a cranky wolverine. I would suggest a twelve or fourteen badger bivisible, an Adams, a full-hackled black or grizzly spider, a full-hackled Cahill or Hendrickson, or whatever fly, in your judgment, could best fit the season or the possible “hatch” and that can be seen by you, the fisherman.

The conditions under which this windapping is feasible is an open water area, not too deep, where there is a good possibility of trout residing or traveling through, and naturally we must have some wind, at least a breeze strong enough to carry the fly in intermittent gusts. Personally, I’m not a stand-up caster in a row boat or canoe. I like to work from a sitting or kneeling position. A flat-bottomed boat or scow or raft is a different matter one can stand with reasonable safety if careful. Anyway the higher one can get their rod the more distance will be accomplished.

The angler holds his rod up at approximately arm’s length and feeds out line. The wind will tote the fly, holding it in the air and dropping it lightly for an instant, lifting it again and between gusts permitting it to touch the water and float for from periods of an instant up to seconds. The line, if light enough, does not, usually, touch the water. Just the fly alone is visible to the prospective fish and there being nothing in evidence that looks out of line (your stand is anywhere from 80 to 200 feet away), what do you think he will ordinarily do? I’ve seen trout leap twice their length from the water to get at one of these teasing morsels of fly. Other times I’ve seen the fly completely disappear with hardly a visible disturbance on the surface.

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