Gray's Loop

 

A fine, simple fly line leader loop

by John Gray

Grays Loop

 

I have never liked braided loops as a method of connecting my leader/cast to fly line. For many years, I needle knotted a short length of heavy monofilament to the end of the fly line, formed a loop on the end of this butt section, and looped my leader to it by way of a loop to loop connection. This was, in my view, finer, simpler and more secure than the kind of standard braided loop supplied ready made for connection to fly lines. Yet it still seemed to me to involve too many knots in the link between fly line and fly, each of which might cause unnecessary disturbance on the water surface. So I hit upon the idea of tying a monofilament nylon loop directly to the end of the fly line rather than on the end of the monofilament butt section, thus shortening the connection and cutting out one of the knots in the chain. For want of a more imaginative name, I called it Gray's Loop.

Gray's Loop, then, is a method of attaching a semi-permanent loop of nylon monofilament to the end of a traditional PVC coated, hollow braided core fly line to facilitate a loop to loop connection with the leader. It is simple to tie, and the resultant loop is very slim, secure and reliable. Such a loop might last a whole season before needing replaced.

ATTACHING LOOP TO FLY LINE

The tying procedure is similar to that used for the Needle Knot or Nail Knot, but with a doubled length of monofilament nylon. The tying of Gray's Loop is illustrated in the series of photographs shown below.

 

    HOW TO TIE GRAY'S LOOP

Grays Loop - Fly Line Leader Loop

STEP ONE

Carefully insert a needle ( I have used a size 7 long darner) into the centre of the end of the fly line and out the side wall of the fly line about half a centimetre from the line tip. It is important that the needle is pushed up the centre of the internal braided core of the fly line.

 

Tying Gray's Loop - step 2

STEP TWO

Heat the needle with a lighter for a few seconds to set the hole made by the needle. This facilitates the threading of the nylon monofilament through the hole. 

 

Gray's Loop - 3

STEP THREE

Take an eighteen inch length (half a metre) of suitable nylon monofilament, double it and thread both ends through the hole made in the fly line and out the side wall. Cutting the ends of the monofilament at a sharp angle makes it easier to thread through the hole in the fly line. See the table below for suggested line/monofilament weights.

 

Gray's Loop - Step 4

STEP FOUR

Pull the doubled monofilament through until you have a loop of anything up to an inch long. This will give a finished loop of around two inches. If you want a smaller loop of around an inch long, start with as small a loop as possible at this stage. A paperclip threaded onto the loop will prevent it from slipping through the end of the fly line and aid the formation of a small loop. A loop as short as one inch in length is fairly easy to achieve if desired.

 

Grays Loop - 5

STEP FIVE

Form a loop in the doubled monofilament and grip firmly between the thumb and forefinger of the right hand (see the main Fishing Knots page). 

 

Tying Gray's Loop - Step 6

STEP SIX

Keeping a firm grip on the line and loop with the right hand, use the left hand to bring the two ends of the monofilament through the loop (and round the fly line) at least three times - three is probably enough, any more making the knot more bulky.  

 

Grays Loop - 7

STEP SEVEN

Carefully draw the knot together so that the turns of the knot are touching. Do not over-tighten at this stage. The knot must be slid along the line towards the tip before tightening fully.

 

Gray's Loop - 8

STEP EIGHT

Slowly slide the knot towards the tip of the fly line, keeping the turns of the knot together. When you have the knot in place, with a finger of the right hand in the loop and the left hand gripping the two ends of monofilament, tighten by pulling steadily until the knot grips the fly line tightly. To test the security of the knot, grip the fly line in the left hand and, again with a finger in the loop, pull steadily in opposite directions. When satisfied, trim the ends very close to the knot. Though not essential, a coat of varnish may be applied. 

 
 

 

 

Tying Tips

Starting with a length of about 18 inches [half a metre] of nylon makes it easier to pull the knot tight. Also, if you want to create a small loop, start with as small a loop as possible, using a paperclip on the loop to keep it from slipping though the hole in the fly line:

Tying Grays Loop

Loops of one to two inches in length are easily formed, although a loop of anything up to around three inches long works fine. The strength of the nylon loop will vary with the weight of fly line and breaking strain of leader. As a guide I use the following :

FLY LINE  # LEADER  b.s. LOOP  b.s.
3 - 5 lbs 10 lbs
6 4 - 6 lbs 12 lbs
7 6 - 8 lbs 12 lbs
8 8 - 12 lbs 15 lbs
9 10 - 12 lbs 15 lbs
10 12 - 15 lbs 18 lbs

1 kilogram  =  2.2 lbs

 

Gray's Loop

Grays Loop

The Completed Loop

The completed loop is fine, strong and durable.

 

Gray's Loop and leader

Joined by a loop-to-loop connection - the finest loop-to-loop connection I know, resulting in a minimum of surface disturbance.

 

This knot is not suitable for fly lines with a kevlar or monofilament core. The fly line must have a hollow braided core, as in most traditional PVC fly lines. For other useful fly fishing knots, see FLY FISHING KNOTS. These include the Perfection Loop, Water Knot and Slip Knot

 

A QUICK GRAY'S LOOP

A much simplified, yet serviceable, version of Grays Loop might be tied to the end of the fly line by omitting steps one to four above. Simply align the doubled length of monofilament with the end of the fly line and begin at step five, tying the loop on the end of the fly line without first threading it through the core of the fly line. Trim the end of the fly line close to the knot. I have found this to be generally secure and reliable, if not quite as neat as the needle knotted version. This simplified loop can be tied quickly on the riverbank if need be. Again this knot is only suitable for lines with a braided core.

 

Grays Loop simplified

click to enlarge

 

 

 

 

HMH Tube Fly Tool

 

Resources

Grays of Kilsyth

Salmon Flies

Trout Flies

Fly Fishing Knots

Salmon Fishing Scotland

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Sea Trout Flies

Tube Flies

The Tube Fly Shop

Salmon Recipes

 

 
 Slim stainless steel salmon and sea trout flies
 
 
 

 

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