Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tying the Knot...for NanoFil

It's only appropriate with my wedding coming up next week that I write a how-to post about tying a knot that has become special to me ;) [ I apologize in advance for the set of blurry photos that follow. Click on the pic to make it larger.]

Recently I took the plunge and bought a spool of Berkley NanoFil (as I said in my last post on white bass ultralight fishing). And then I bought another. And another. And another.

This line isn't cheap, but I agree with the writing on the box that it's the best spinning reel line--as least for lighter rigs. I have fished this line some very different scenarios, and I've caught a few hundred fish on it already in sizes 12#, 8#, and 6#. They make the line from 1# test to 17# (although 14# and 17# are new additions & harder to find). It only comes in white, and it looks and feels like a fine dental floss. It seems to be perfectly round (unlike dental floss), and it feels super slick to the touch. This is what makes it such an enigma: Smooth, round, and thin means it casts far, sliding right off the spool and through the guides. It has honestly added 20-30% to my casts over comparable diameter/strength PowerPro braid.
Spooled Up

The downsides are twofold: (1) You do not want to handle the line under pressure--it feels like hell on your hands. It will burn you. (2) Many common knots will not hold--they easily slip with such a slick line. This is where today's post will come in handy.

So, to recap:

-Superior casting distance with little memory.
-Quiet through the guides (unlike noisy braid)
-Zero stretch/Lots of feel
-Small diameter spool can be used for other purposes (I use mine for leader material)

-Will damage hands under pressure
-Knots slip (see the rest of this post for solution!)
-High Cost ($20 for 150 yds)

So let's get to solving this issue of knot slippage. First of all, use a mono or flouro leader for crying out loud! It will help you catch more fish as the visibility is lower than the bright white NanoFil mainline. It will help with abrasion resistance as well. Finally, using the technique below, YOU WILL NOT LOSE ANY MAINLINE*! *you might have to retie after a few dozen breakoffs or if line is chafed from heavy cover (which is a problem of too short a leader usually). I have not had a single knot in the NanoFil slide or break while using my system shown below, even when using leader stronger than the mainline.

So the system is a super simple loop-to-loop system inspired by fly fishing. It is common to tie a perfection loop in the butt section of the tapered fly leader and connect it to the manufactured loop in the main fly line, allowing for an easy swapping of leaders when conditions call for it. For spinning rods, my approach is very similar, with the exception that leaders will not swap easily. But this is a knot that will hold and keep holding!

Basically it is a set of "surgeon's loops" with  4 turns in the NanoFil and 2-3 turns in the Flouro/Mono.

STEP 1: Make an E.T. finger like this.

STEP 2: Pinch the tag end and mainline, and form a circle. It should look phallic-y like this.

STEP 3: Wrap the now-doubled tag through the doubled loop (put the frank through the beans) FOUR times.

STEP 4: Lubricate the knot over the wraps and pull the doubled tag (right side) away from the mainline and single tag (left). You will have to seat the knot by spreading the resulting loop wide with your fingers like below.

STEP 5: Trim the single tag. The result should be like this.

STEP 6: Do a surgeon's knot (or perfection knot, if you prefer) in the leader material. Slide the loop of the leader over the mainline loop. Bring the tag end of the leader through the NanoFil loop.

STEP 7: Slide the loops together by pulling the leader and mainline in opposite directions.

Finished Product:

Now you have an awesome looped leader system that will save you money. When you snag a jig in the rocks and have to break off, you will loose the leader before you come close to breaking the NanoFil. You can also use this as an upgrade to your braid's leader connection system. Your more-expensive alternative is to use a uni-to-uni knot that takes 6" of braid/Nano everytime you break a leader off. That adds up on days when fishing tight to cover means catching fish or getting bored quick.

Congrats on reading this far. Before I let you go, I want to show one more thing. If you want to change leaders (say, to replace with a longer leader when the first gets too short), or if you break off (breakoffs will occur around the leader's surgeon's knot), you can't just push the loops apart because of how narrow the mainline is. Once the NanoFil is cinched down, it doesn't want to push back into a loop. So you will have to take these steps:

LEADER CHANGE STEP 1: Snip one leg of the loop between halfway down and the surgeon's loop knot.

You should see something like this.

LEADER CHANGE STEP 2 [FINAL]: Pull on the leg of the loop you did not snip, and voila, the leader will slide out of the NanoFil loop end. 

There you have it! I know the long post makes it seem complex, but it is not. You can do this super quick. The knots couldn't be simpler.  Grab some NanoFil or your favorite braid and enjoy a stronger system! 


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