It’s snowing and I’m looking out into the garden, wishing the time away. The start of the trout season, in early March, doesn’t seem to be getting any closer. I’ve cleaned my reel several times and tied a few flies to replace those mangled by trout and lost in the trees. One essential task is to renew the leader on my fly line. I use a nine foot tapered leader that is 6lb breaking strain at the business end. There is a lot of rubbish talked about leaders. Forty years ago a length of heavy nylon was nail knotted to the end of a fly line and terminated in a suitably fine tippet. It was simple and it worked well. Not today. It has to be French, Czec, Euro, braided, sinking, floating, loop-to-loop, with a micro ring etc. I don’t relate to any of that tackle-trade techno jargon. Simple is best. I glue the end of my leader into the fly line and attach a 4lb breaking strain tippet with a four turn overhand knot. I use Leeda tapered leaders and Stroft GTM for tippets. That combination works well for both nymph and dry fly.


I dip the end of my Cortland 444 peach classic into nail varnish remover for about a minute. That softens the plastic coating which can be stripped off with a thumb nail to reveal the braided core of the fly line. I dry the braided core with a tissue to remove the excess solvent. I remove the enormous, badly tied knot from the thick end of the leader. Why Leeda bother with this knot is a mystery. Either the knot or the loop are guaranteed to jam in the rod rings.


I twiddle the butt of the leader inside the braid until the end of the leader is next to the plastic coating of the fly line. A small drop of superglue is drawn up the braid by capillary action, inside the plastic coating. After the glue has dried I paint the joint with a permanent flourescent yellow marker pen. Another coating of superglue finishes the joint.


It takes about ten minutes, mostly waiting for the superglue to set. It’s simple, waterproof and tough. The joint runs through the rod rings and has never let me down. The yellow marker pen highlights the tip of the fly line when I’m fishing deep with a nymph or buzzer. I put Gink on the leader if I want it to float and run it through a lump of mud if I want it to sink.

No clunky braided loops to get caught in the rod eyes or drag the tip of the fly line under water. No leader knots or micro-rings. Simple.