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Rigging for Bonefish – Say No to Nail Knots

Posted on October 24 2016

Tying nail knots.
Just say no. Photo: Kyle Shea.

Direct nail knots that is..

With less than a week out from the opening day of our bonefishing season at Andros South, our focus has turned to dialing in our saltwater gear, and we have a feeling the same is true for many of you as well!

As you might expect, we see a lot of bonefishing rigs over the course of the year, and a common mistake we see from our anglers, especially those new to saltwater fly fishing, are nail knots used to connect the leader to the fly line or to connect the fly line to the backing.

Therefore, we thought it was time to run a post to stress, when rigging up for the salt..

Say No to Nailknots!

“What’s the big deal?” You might be thinking, “They’ve always held for me in the past.” Sure, in many freshwater or other cold water applications, the nail knot is a great knot, and does a great job at connecting cold water fly lines to leaders and backing with a slim, but also strong, connection.

However, when it comes to bonefishing, most modern saltwater fly lines designed for tropical conditions are constructed using some sort of monofilament core. Monofilament allows the line to remain stiff in tropical climates, unlike the cores used in cold water lines which can become excessively limp when the temperature rises. Monofilament is also extremely slippery, often times creating a weak adhesion of the core to the coating of the fly line.

So what does this have to do with nail knots? Connecting a leader to a tropical fly line with nothing more than a single nail knot does little to compress the actual core of many fly lines, and instead only cuts into the coating of the fly line. The result is the coating sliding straight off the end of the fly line with an abrupt pull on the leader.. And that’s not good.

So, when connecting leaders and/or backing to tropical fly lines, we always recommend using knots that double the fly line over, thus compressing both the coating and the core of the line. A few options include:

When it comes to bonefishing, say no to direct nail knots, try using the options above instead, and save the heart ache of watching your fish, leader, and potentially entire fly line get away.

More on Rigging Up for Bonefish

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