Perfection Loop Knot (and Connector)
Loop-to-loop junctures allow for a rapid change-out of a leader. If you pre-tie your own leaders or buy your leaders pre-made, you can go from slinging muddlers to dead-drifting mayflies in about two minutes—including the fly change. You can also refresh a worn leader system in a hurry. I have had days when my terminal tackle took repeated beatings and the leader body and/or butt sections were damaged. Having the ability to simply loop on a fresh leader saved time and frustration (and bascially eliminated the need for any extra blood knots or similar re-connections in the leader butt).
The Perfection Loop is my primary loop knot for trout/salmon and light-duty salt leaders. The Perfection Loop can also be thought of as the “bicycle knot.” That is, learning to tie the Perfection Loop is much like learning to ride a bicycle: It takes a few of tries and some encouragement, but once you have it, you have it for life. So, get out the training wheels, jump on and start pedaling.
Begin by making a one-inch loop in the leader material (try .020-inch diameter to start), with the tag (short) end of the monofilament going behind the standing (long) end. The behind part of this is crucial! This forms loop #1 [orange]. Grasp that loop between your thumb and forefinger. Next, take the tag end around your thumb and behind loop #1, gripping the short end again between thumb and forefinger. This forms loop #2 [green]. I typically make loop #2 approximately 1/2 to 2/3 the size of loop #1. Now pull the tag end gently up between the two loops [pink]. The last step is to pull loop #2 through loop #1, and begin tightening the knot by pulling on loop #2 and the standing end of the monofilament. Do not pull the tag end of the mono to tighten the knot.
Once the knot has been formed, but before it is pulled completely tight, it is possible to adjust the loop’s size. To make a smaller finished loop, gently push loop #2 back into the knot and draw out the excess material by carefully pulling on the tag end of the monofilament (and standing end if necessary). Reverse the sequence to make the loop larger.
When the loop is adjusted to the size you want, insert a pen, hemostat or similar tool into the loop and use the tool to help pull the knot down tight. Do not forget to lubricate the knot before drawing it tight. When tied right, the loop is formed straight off the end of the line and presents minimal bulk. For my all-around light-duty leaders (.020-inch butt diameter), I prefer a finished loop that is approximately 5/8-inch long.
For a quick-to-tie, lightweight, fly-line-to-monofilament leader connector system that uses Perfection Loops, first employ a Nail Knot of some kind (ideally the needle variation) to attach an 18 to 30-inch piece of monofilament to your fly line. That piece is the “connector.” In the end of that connector tie a Perfection Loop so that the final length of the connector is 12 to 24 inches (I often like something on the longer side, which means less knots to potentially bring into the guides when landing a fish). Such a length is easy to manage, and when building your own leaders, it’s easy to figure the connector into the total leader length (just add one to two feet, depending). Such a set-up should last a majority of anglers a season or more.
To attach a monofilament leader, just tie a Perfection Loop in the end of the leader butt and then put that loop over the loop of the connector. Thread the tippet end of the leader through the loop of the connector and then pull the leader and connector tight against one another, forming a Square Knot (in this usage it is sometimes called a Loop-to-Loop Knot) [orange/blue inter-connect]. If you manage to get the loop inter-connect backwards, you will immediately notice one of two things: You will have improper-looking juncture or you will discover a need to put the fly rod and reel through the loop (a bit awkward with a 5/8-inch loop). Either way, it will be obvious that it is time to un-loop the loops and try again.
Once the interconnect is locked down, and you’re happy with the results, go fish!