When I first began fly fishing for bonefish some years ago, I used a simple Clinch Knot, also known as the ubiquitous “fisherman’s knot.” However, I eventually realized that this simple choice was limiting me. First, it severely limits the fly’s movement in the water… and with bonefish natural movement equals bites. Tied to anything heavier than 8-pound tippet my flies looked like they were wired to a stick. Second, this means that I was limiting the tippet-strength I was using, and believe me, when you first start bonefishing you’re not looking for records. You just want to land one of the sneaky buggers. What I needed was a strong, easy-to-tie loop knot. Lefty Kreh’s Non-Slip Loop Knot was the ticket. Properly tied it breaks very close to 100% and it’s fairly easy to tie.
After using this knot I came to realize that bonefish aren’t leader shy at all. What they’re picky about is the way the fly moves in the water. If the fly looks natural and moves naturally, they’ll eat it. A loop knot allows for freedom of movement that most other knots can’t compete with… and as a plus you can use heavier tippets, which is a very good thing when fighting a bonefish.
How to Tie the Loop Knot
Make a simple over-hand knot and slip the tag-end through the hook eye. Leave yourself about 2 inches of this tag-end when you first start tying this knot.
Pass the tag-end back through the knot the way it came. (If the hook were not there you’d be untying the knot.)
Take the tag end and make 5 (not 4, not 6) overhand wraps around the standing part of the line. (The number of wraps is dependent on the size of the tippet. For bonefish tippet of 10-20 pound test, 5 wraps are essential for full strength).
Again, pass the tag-end back through the overhand knot the same way it came out. (All entrances and exits should be on the same side of the original knot!)
Finally, hold the standing part of the line and pull on the tag-end after moistening the knot. After the knot is seated, pull on the standing part and then pull firmly on the tag-end again to finish. Clip the tag but leave about ⅛-inch tag extending. This knot draws up when a running fish pulls on it; a close-trimmed tag end will pull through!