Much of your beginning time in fly fishing will be looking for ‘the best way’ to do some aspect of the sport. You will study and also, hopefully, meet other fly fishers in clubs, shops and on the water that share their ideas of ‘the best way’ to do something. As you will come to see, there are pro’s and con’s of those best ways. Little, if anything, is the best way. In the end, you will experiment, probably waste money and be a bit confused until you arrive at your best way. It can take a season or years depending upon how often you fish.

 One of those ‘best ways’ thing is how you connect the leader’s butt section to your fly line. For a good many years I used those braided, nylon loop attachments that fit over the tip of the fly line. From there the loop end of a leader’s butt section was connected loop to loop. I probably fished that way 20+ years and it worked fine for most of my river fishing. As I fished more and more on lakes, that connection method fell into disfavor for me. The loop rarely came off the end of the fly line in a straight lie; it curved. Consequently, the leader had this odd bend/curve to it.

Probably of no import, it bugged me and I changed to nail knotting a ‘permanent’ butt section of 35# mono, say about 24 inches (some shops will nail knot on an 8″ piece of butt section..that is not near enough). I then do not use a loop at the end of that butt section. I take the butt/thicker end of the leader (tapered or built) and use either a surgeon’s knot or blood knot to connect the two sections (no loops).

As I said, I nail knot a heavy piece of mono directly to the fly line. Some shops will make this piece about 4-8" long and with a loop. If you go loop to loop fine. I don't so my butt section is 18-24' long and I blood knot/surgeon's knot the butt of my leader to the heavy mono coming off my fly line. Just so you know your options in building a tapered, strong leader to present your fly. A little dab of a UV Wader Repair gel over the knot is a nice touch too...not too much though.

So, you have a couple options to try out: Loop to loop connections or nail knot/surgeon/blood knots. My suggestions: if you build leaders and repair purchased tapered leaders then learn your knots (you should know the basic knots to connect tippet to leader any way regardless of how you connect things farther up at the fly line/butt section) and use the nail knot (butt section to fly line). If you are the type that likes to throw down money on tapered leaders and do little to build leaders or repair leaders then go with the loop to loop. Undo the loops and throw on your knewly purchased tapered leader (I am not again using the occasional purchased tapered leader).

Just an example of ‘the best way to do something’ options that have differing tastes, opinions, perhaps results. This covers hundreds of decisions you will encounter. You could get your lawn chair, sit on your keister and decide what color of Power Bait’s working best this afternoon.