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**** Loop vs Welded Loop Fly Line

redjimredjim Posts: 774 Officer
I recently had a welded loop fail and of coarse it was on my biggest fish on fly so far. When it happened I was so mad at myself becasue I just knew it was a leader or some other type of line failure caused by me. But after looking I saw the loop cracked at the point where the weld ends. I was not real happy to say the least since I do not get a lot of big fish.

Since then I clipped off all my loops off and have gone to a **** loop finish. It seems to go through the guides smoother too. After doing a little research I now find that most anglers targeting decent size fish use a **** loop instead of a welded most all the time.

I am guessing you fellows agree with this?



  • tarponfly49tarponfly49 Posts: 336 Deckhand
    I always use a nail knot with about 6" of butt section with a perfection 8wt is 40lb etc.....for anything 10 wt up I do the same with an Albright....never had a single issue...13+ years and running! ;)
  • DKDDKD Posts: 375 Deckhand
    I always use a nail knot with about 6" of butt section with a perfection loop.

  • Carl BlackledgeCarl Blackledge Posts: 674 Officer

    The strongest connection you can use is the 50# braided loop on big boy fly lines, and the #30 pound loop on the smaller fly lines like 5-6 wt's.

    I have used those welded loops, I never broke one, however my backing embedded itself into the welded loop coating and sure looked like it was going to break any second. I didn't trust the welded loop at all after only a few fish.

    My suggestion is cut the welded garbage loops off and replace it with the braided loop, I make my own double reversed loops and it's very easy. after you install your loops, then whip finish the connection where it meets the fly line, glue it, let it dry, then coat it with hard as nails. that connection will most likely last forever and won't even need a tune -up.

    Once you use the loops, you won't ever go back .

    If you ever get on a pros flats boat and do some serious saltwater fishing, you won't find anything but braided loops on the pro's gear, anything else is just a joke.

    Carl Blackledge
  • redjimredjim Posts: 774 Officer
    Carl, thank you very much for the tip. I am going to use your suggestion next time I need to make them.

    I had just been using Danville 3/0 flat waxed but I sure can understand where the braid would be much stronger.

    I appreciate the help.
  • tarpon41tarpon41 Posts: 301 Deckhand

    My venues are Andros Biscayne and Keys flats...I don't do flies in the Baja as CB...just conventional. I use OEM welded, double nail, even slim beauty for butt to fly line...the latter two with as above noted 5-6 in section of 50 mono with perfection loop ending; however, I don't fish 100 days in salt so my experience with welded loop fatigue has been without failure 20-25 days total per year. However, I do inspect the welded loop for deep cuts to the core from the butt section in my tarpon reels...never had a failure of any...never had any of my three
    KW guides question my and buck fever certainly

  • DKDDKD Posts: 375 Deckhand
    I make my own double reversed loops and it's very easy.
    Carl Blackledge

    Can you explain this? I am very interested in how you do this.
  • clampmanclampman Posts: 130 Deckhand
    Here's a link to a video I made a while back showing how to do what Carl is talking about. As he says, it is very easy to do. However, the little short ones sold that were sold in Bass Pro that I tried years ago were not done properly and fell apart while casting, so I started making my own. I started doing this after a "welded" loop came apart on me while casting to reds. I only noticed it because of the whistling noise my line was making all of a sudden as the leader went past.

    An alternative to two nail knots to secure the loop to the fly line is a **** finish coated with pliobond. That is how I connect the looped end going to the backing. The reason I do this is that I do not trust nail knots going through the guides in that direction when a heavy fish is screaming out line on the first run. If it fetches up and binds on a snake guide, you no longer have the squeeze effect of the braid. Then the fly line could just slide out through the braid and nail knots. Or, it could just strip that guide off the rod if the nail knots hold.

    Also, in that video I do one extra "catch" which is really not necessary. I do the third one it because it takes very little time and I think insures that there is no possible way for that loop to fail. If you use stiff fly line, it is easy to slide the line into braid. I will add that many trolling braids will also work for this. I use #3 Malin wire for this.
  • ZhunterZhunter Posts: 226 Deckhand
    Cut the factory loop off, create a loop, use two nail knots to secure the new loop (yes you can make the loop any size you like), then whip the knots until they are totally covered (i.e. Protected), the last step is to use a UV glue to protect the whip finish.

    This method is super strong, and slides right through the guides even with very large fish like triple digit Tarpon.

    Takes less than five minutes
  • Carl BlackledgeCarl Blackledge Posts: 674 Officer

    Outstanding suggestion. However what did you accomplish? You still have the same factory materials making the same factory loop, all you did was un-weld it and tie two nail knots. You did eliminate one aspect (the welded part), however what scares me the most is my backing, even thought it doubled, it will still cut into the loop, I want 50 pound braided loops that are tough as nails, not some soft factory material that almost dents just lookng at it. That's why I cut mine off and throw them away. my 2 cents
  • Carl BlackledgeCarl Blackledge Posts: 674 Officer
    DKD wrote: »
    Can you explain this? I am very interested in how you do this.


    Look at Clampman's link, That's not exactly how I do it, but it's close enough for you to get the picture.

    I only push my wire in about 1 inch 1/1/2, not 2 or 3 like they did, then I trap another inch or so on the reverse step. after the loop size is determined, I put one small drop of Zap-a-gap below the loop and before the reverse part, then I slide the loop on the line and try to get the line to go into the loop as far as possibly, then I tie 8 turn nail knot with 8 pound mono. I then whip finish the entire joint including the nail knot, then glue the whip finished area with plionbond, when dry I coat it one more time with hard as nails. all this sounds really complicated , it's very easy, when finished you have a joint that won't break, and will fly right through the guides like Teflon.

    If interested, goggle up George Anderson, he owes a fly shop that's pretty famous in Montana , he has lots of videos on tying knots in fly lines and braid, plus Dacron backing, very interesting stuff. After getting interested in braided loops, then you might have the same opinion as me about welded loops. worthless for fishing anything other then trout, however a good selling point to the newbies.......My 2 cents

    Carl Blackledge
  • clampmanclampman Posts: 130 Deckhand
    The whip finish over the nail knot and end of the loop braid on the fly line on the backing end is important for the reason I mentioned earlier. I know that for sure. ;>) I do it on the leader end now too because it really doesn't take much time, protects the nail knot from UV and abrasion, and makes for a smoother connection.

    I'm going to put some hard as nails on a couple of them and try that out, Carl.

  • ZhunterZhunter Posts: 226 Deckhand

    I do the above to both ends. I tie a double Bimini in my backing, use a loop to loop to the backing and butt section. The fly line (saltwater) typically has a 35# breaking strength! when doubled that is 70# and I'm comfortable with that as the stiffest Class Tippet I would ever use is 25#

    I've had factory loops break and don't trust them.
  • Carl BlackledgeCarl Blackledge Posts: 674 Officer

    First off we both agree that the welded loops are junk, the safest connection you can use with welded loops is to hook into another welded loop, and that's still a gamble at best, cause the loops still blow up. Now just cause you take a fly line and double it, doesn't make it twice as strong, your still pulling with one line.

    My biggest complaint about the welded loops as I stated above was I didn't like my backing cutting into the soft outer coatings of the line, Therefore I cut them off , throw them in the trash, and installed a #50 pound braided loop, and never looked back, how hard is that? And by the way some of the salt water Rio fly lines are rated at 65 and 70 pounds test.

    To each his own, however if your going to try to improve something, why not take that same amount of effort and actually improve it?

    Carl Blackledge
  • trout069trout069 Posts: 5,933 Admiral
    I now have **** loops on my 9 weight lines.I cut off welded loops because i as habit discard approx 18 feet of back of line.would rather have needed backing and most salt fly lines are 100 foot and a true 70 foot cast is far enough(if that does not work,oh well).the **** loops are a first for me in 23 years.normally went braided.if they fail back to nail knots.only reason I used loop to loop before was i changed out I have enough reels I do each his own.never seen a Rio welded loop on leader end fail,even on Tarpon.I have had the butt end fly line to backing braided connection fail after a number of years.not on fish ,but discovered when changing lines.
  • Carl BlackledgeCarl Blackledge Posts: 674 Officer
    Trout 069,

    Whatever system-method works for you, certainly works for me. However your system sure sounds unorthodox at best.

    I don't have a clue what species your fishing for, but I would never cut the fly line down. The line drag in the water will wear a fish down in a hurry, therefore I would personally rather have the longer line and a few feet less backing. In Tarpon fishing I have certainly seen lots of situations where I cast more then 70 feet.

    I don't have a clue what a **** loop is, perhaps you could explain ?

    I install Braided loops on every fly line I own, I do it cause I like the extra strength, not for aiding in changing lines. I also haven't ever seen a welded loop on the leader end of a fly line fail either, simply cause I don't have any. I have seen the backing end of the fly line chewed all to hell however, just one time is all it took for me to change all of them.

    Good luck

    Carl Blackledge
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