First Tuesday Tips

Tip 3: Embrace the Loop Knot

(This is Tip 286 in Skip's book, 365 Fly Fishing Tips for Trout, Bass, and Panfish)

This First Tuesday Tips: Tip 3 applies to Trout in Streams, Trout in Lakes, Largemouth Bass in Lakes, Smallmouth Bass in Streams, Panfish in Lakes, Smallmouth Bass in Lakes.

First Tuesday Tips: Tip 3, Embrace the Loop KnotNymphs, streamers, even big dry flies spring to life when they can swing free on a loop knot.
(photo ©Carol Ann Morris)

First Tuesday Tips: Tip 3, Embrace the Loop KnotThere are several standard loop knots, but mine suits me best. Might suit you the same. Print that appears on the illustration in the book is absent here.
(illustration ©Carol Ann Morris)

Water is dense enough to bend tippet and twist a nymph around down in river currents. But imagine if that nymph were not connected to a tippet-free of its monofilament shackles, tumbling, turning, doing somersaults. So alive. But how do you catch fish on a fly that's not attached to your tippet? You don't, of course. But you can come close to capturing that tippet-free vitality just by tying the fly on with a loop knot.

A loop knot forms a circle of tippet below it for the fly to swing around on. The alternative is the sort of knot all us fly fishers used to always use, one that locks tippet to the fly as though welded to it.

Actually, a rigid old-style knot is still fine for most dry flies and half floating emerger-flies, still the standard. But nymphs? An artificial nymph in the currents of a river or the quiet depths of a lake should mimic the movements of life. Streamer flies, meant to swim like little fish, swim better on loop knots. And big dry flies, size 8 (or 10, with a long-shank hook) and up, fished on steams, seem to pick up some real-bug attitude when tied on with loop knots.

There are several widely trusted loop knots out there-the mono loop knot, the Rapala loop knot, the Duncan loop knot. . . I now fish only my own (the Morris Loop Knot), as I find it the easiest to tie and easiest to adjust of them all. I discovered after fishing it for a few years that it's similar to some versions (there are several) of the Homer Rhode knot, but different in ways I prefer (though the Rhode knot is excellent). Pick a loop knot, use it.

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