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Gray's Loop

Fly Line Leader Loop

How to tie the finest of all fly line leader loops to the end of a fly line

Gray's Loop - a fine mono leader loop

Gray's Loop with connected leader (loop to loop) - a very fine connection

Gray's Loop is a version of the Constriction Knot (see Fly Fishing Knots) used to attach a semi-permanent loop of nylon monofilament to the end of a traditional PVC coated, braided core fly line to facilitate a loop to loop connection with the leader.  Such a loop might last a whole season.

Attaching Loop to Fly Line

The tying procedure is similar to that used for the Needle Knot or Nail Knot, but with a doubled length of monofilament nylon. The tying of Gray's Loop is illustrated in the series of photographs shown below.

How to tie Gray's Loop

Grays Loop Step 1

Step 1

Carefully insert a needle ( I have used a size 7 long darner) into the centre of the end of the fly line and out the side wall of the fly line about half a centimetre from the line tip. It is important that the needle is pushed up the centre of the internal braided core of the fly line.


Tying Grays Loop - step 2

Step 2

Heat the needle with a lighter for a few seconds to set the hole made by the needle. This facilitates the threading of the nylon monofilament through the hole. 


Gray's Loop - step 3

Step 3

Take an eighteen inch length (half a metre) of suitable nylon monofilament, double it and thread both ends through the hole made in the fly line and out the side wall. Cutting the ends of the monofilament at a sharp angle makes it easier to thread through the hole in the fly line. See the table below for suggested line/monofilament weights.


Grays Loop - fly line leader loop

Step 4

Pull the doubled monofilament through until you have a loop of anything up to an inch long. This will give a finished loop of around two inches. If you want a smaller loop of around an inch long, start with as small a loop as possible at this stage.


Tying Grays Leader Loop - 5

Step 5

Form a loop in the doubled monofilament and grip firmly between the thumb and forefinger of the right hand (see the main Fishing Knots page). 


Grays Fly Line Loop

Step 6

Keeping a firm grip on the line and loop with the right hand, use the left hand to bring the two ends of the monofilament through the loop (and round the fly line) two or three times, any more than three making the knot more bulky.  


Gray's Loop - step 7

Step 7

Carefully draw the knot together so that the turns of the knot are touching. Do not over-tighten at this stage. The knot must be slid along the line towards the tip before tightening fully.


Grays Loop - Fly Line Leader Loop

Step 8

Slowly slide the knot towards the tip of the fly line, keeping the turns of the knot together. When you have the knot in place, with a finger of the right hand in the loop and the left hand gripping the two ends of monofilament, tighten by pulling steadily until the knot grips the fly line tightly. To test the security of the knot, grip the fly line in the left hand and, again with a finger in the loop, pull steadily in opposite directions. When satisfied, trim the ends very close to the knot. Though not essential, a coat of varnish may be applied.


Starting with a length of about 18 inches [half a metre] of nylon makes it easier to pull the knot tight. Also, if you want to create a small loop, start with as small a loop as possible, using a paperclip on the loop to keep it from slipping though the hole in the fly line:

Tying Grays Loop

Loops of one to two inches in length are easily formed, although a loop of anything up to around three inches long works fine. The strength of the nylon loop will vary with the weight of fly line and breaking strain of leader. As a guide I use the following :


FLY LINE  # LEADER  b.s. LOOP  b.s.
3 - 5 lbs 10 lbs
6 4 - 6 lbs 12 lbs
7 6 - 8 lbs 12 lbs
8 8 - 12 lbs 15 lbs
9 10 - 12 lbs 15 lbs
10 12 - 15 lbs 18 lbs

1 kilogram  =  2.2 lbs



The Completed Loop

The completed loop is fine, strong and durable.

Grays Loop


Gray's Loop and leader

joined by a loop-to-loop connection - the finest loop-to-loop connection I know, resulting in a minimum of surface disturbance.

Grays Loop to Loop

This knot is not suitable for fly lines with a kevlar or monofilament core. The fly line must have a hollow braided core, as in most traditional PVC fly lines. For other useful fly fishing knots, see FLY FISHING KNOTS.


A much simplified, yet serviceable, version of Grays Loop might be tied to the end of the fly line by omitting steps one to four above. Simply align the doubled length of monofilament with the end of the fly line and begin at step five, tying the loop on the end of the fly line without first threading it through the core of the fly line. Trim the end of the fly line close to the knot. I have found this to be secure and reliable, if not quite as neat as the needle knotted version. This simplified loop can be tied quickly on the riverbank if need be. Again this knot is only suitable for lines with a braided core.

Grays Loop simplified


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