The spring in Minnesota has been early and a bit on the wet side. We started on small tributaries to the Mississippi with mixed results and this condition has carried through into the last three weeks on the big river. The water color and visibility on the upper Mississippi has remained limited and murky due to repeated rain.
Early fishing in late June on the big river was pretty good, even though the visibility was limited to about 3 feet, which isn’t bad on the Ole Miss. Also interestingly enough nearly all the action was on top. Under water streamers and the like did not produce nearly as well as surface poppers, divers and gurglers.
We went two days ago on a stretch we’d fished four days previous. The earlier trip saw mainly smallmouth 17″ and up. Very nice fish although the numbers we’re mediocre. They hit hopper patterns and hardware, such as Chug Bugs and Buzzbaits.
Last Wednesday, July 6 was a gorgeous day with no wind and mild temps in the upper 70’s. Normally the fish should be going nuts under these conditions, but they were largely shut down for nearly the entire day. We managed a few sympathy fish on Murdich’s late in the day. Very weird.
I hope your fishing is not as up and down as ours, but alas, that’s fishing!
Welded Loops Made Easy
Nail Knots have been the traditional method for attaching fly line to leaders. Fly line manufacturers are now creating fly lines with welded loops on both ends to ease the attachment to both to the reel spool and leader material. Making a welded loop in your new or damaged fly line is relatively easy. Two techniques are discussed.
Fly Line Maintenance
Fly lines can be very expensive and, with proper maintenance, a quality line should last you several years. This will of course will vary on how often you fish and the frequency of cleaning and dressing applied to your line.
Most people reel up, put the rod/reel in a cover or case and forget about it until the next trip. This practice will generally shorten the life of the line. We suggest cleaning your fly line at least after every two trips and dress the line with a commercial dressing after cleaning.
One of the most common issues with fly lines is the degradation or breakdown of the end loop connecting the leader to the fly line. Nail knot connections are a great way to attached monofilament leaders to fly line, but over time, the connection can break down the plastic coating of the line exposing the inner core, which will eventually break.
The easiest way to connect the fly line to the leader is with a loop to loop connection. Many lines now come with welded loops on both ends.
There are many less expensive fly lines on the market which perform very well and do not come with loops. This article is about creating a loop on both ends of your fly line, whether you are repairing a broken loop or creating a new one on a line without a manufactured welded loop.
Technique #1: Creating a New Loop
The first technique is an old Lefty Kreh method I discovered 25 years ago. This employs your Whip Finishing Tool to create a thread wrap entrapping the loop end. You then coat the thread wrap with a flexible cement, such as Contact Cement or the newer UV treated flex cement on the market.
I have used this for years, since you don’t need any special equipment, such as flex tubing and heating units (more on this later). The author below is heavily into carp, so don’t hold that against him.
Here’s a good video on how to do this technique:
Technique #2: Creating a Welded Loop
The welded loop is the best connection to create, if you don’t mind getting some special equipment for the job. You can create a welded loop a number of ways, but the simplest is in the video below.
Some folks use special heating units and other apparatus, but a standard lighter works quite well. All you really need is shrink wrap tubing (about 4 cm). Finding it is another issue. (Somebody send this guy a fingernail clipper…..)