Good Gear – The Tie Fast Knot Tyer Combo Tool
Guides are generally a good thing for a fly fisherman, but good guides, really good guides, are priceless. And so it was for me 2 years ago this fall when brother-in-law Jeff, recently appointed Director of STFF’s Western US office, and I took a 5 day trip to fish the Bighorn River in Montana. We had arranged to use a guide chosen by our lodge for 3 full-day floats on the river. We ended up, by luck I suppose, with a young guide by the name of Ryan. I learned a tremendous amount from him, far more than the price tag could ever demand.
He was quiet and serious, offering little in the way of a formal introduction. He studied the gear we had laid out on the drift boat for stowing. He picked up my rod, stripped some line off the reel, and immediately examined my fly line and leader connection. “You like these things?” he asked, referring to the braided loop connector I had on the end of my fly line. My leader was connected to the braided loop with the “handshake” loop-to-loop knot. “Yeah, I like them” I said, not adding that I had good success depending on how well I heat-shrinked the thing. I did not mention that when the braided loop connector failed, it failed catastrophically, as in the whole braided loop connection slid off the end of the fly line, usually with a good fish on the other end.
Ryan held the fly line in one hand and the leader in the other and gave the two a good tug. The connection parted like it was held by a thread. Our guide just looked at me with that “you don’t know squat” look and began securing a stout piece of Maxima leader butt material to the fly line using a tool hanging from a lanyard around his neck. He used the tool to tie a nail knot and trim it smooth. Once the nail knot was complete he secured a 9 foot 3X leader to the butt section with a blood knot. The set-up worked flawlessly the entire trip and I’m still using the same nail knot on my 9 foot 5 weight rig two years later.
Nail knots are not the easiest way to connect leader and fly line; the number of alternative connections on the market are evidence of this. They include the aforementioned braided leader loop, the welded loop, the line-to-leader link and many other contrivances in between.
But I’ve gone with Ryan’s way ever since the Bighorn trip, and have never had a failure. The key is having a good nail knot tool.
Enter the “Tie Fast Knot Tyer Combo Tool”…
This tool is built like a truck, made in the USA, and looks very “guide-like” on a lanyard. It’s a lot bigger than the typical nipper.
And at the risk of sounding like a Ronco Infomercial (“but wait, there’s more”) there are a whole host of things this tool can do, including the following:
I really like the fact that the line clipper of this nifty tool is easily sharpened with a stone and that the Tie Fast Knot Tyer Combo Tool now comes in “stealth” black for those fussy about carrying tools that might flash in the sunlight.
For those of you interested, I highly recommend that you check out this link: