THE NEEDLE KNOT is a method for connecting leader to fly line when not using a loop-to-loop connection. It is more streamlined and reliable than tying a Nail Knot to the fly line. Many instructions for this knot say to insert the butt end of the leader into the hole at the end of the fly line. However, it is easier to insert the thin end of the leader into the exit hole of the needle and pull the leader out the end, leaving the correct amount of butt end to tie the knot with.
See animated Needle Knot below.
Needle Knot Tying Instructions
- Use a needle that is slightly wider than the butt end of the leader. Push the needle
incrementally into the center of the fly line through its end to a depth of about 1/8 of an inch.
- Push the needle all the way out the side of the fly line and hold there for a minute to stretch the hole in the fly line, then remove.
- Quickly feed the small end of the leader into the hole just created in the side so that it
exits out the end of the fly line.
- Pull the whole leader through, leaving about 8 inches of leader outside the hole to tie
the knot with.
- Lay a smaller needle, nail, or toothpick on the fly line and wrap the leader five times around the fly line, the needle (or nail), and itself, working toward the end of the fly line.
- Use the eye of the needle or the space provided by the nail to insert the end of the leader back under the wraps in the opposite direction of the wraps, remove the needle or nail, and pull tight.
- Get all of the slack out of the lines and work the wraps down to the exit hole.
- Pull very tight and cut the tag end close.