Odds 'n' Sods of Information and Opinion

Welding loops not your thing? Another use for that heat gun . . .

Braided loops suck. I mean, I've had so many failures over the years with braided loops that welding came as manna from heaven, but I realize that welding isn’t always the solution.

All of my braid failures involved ones that I had bought: the loop pulls out, they fray and wear then fail where the fly line ends, they fall off when used with the supplied sleeve, nail knots crack the fly line eventually, the little frayed bits catch on weeds and algae, attempts to solve through various glues just made them stiff, and on and on and on.

But not everyone gets on with line welding and not every line welds well. I have some cheap PVC lines that I use for projects and tests. The tips on these lines are very thin with little PVC, plus they lose their plasticizers very easily when heated and become brittle.

Fold back loops with nail knots work OK, but they catch on everything.

So out came the braided loops, but this time with a difference. I put flexible heat shrink tup over them and they remain supply, yet won't pull off.

Here's how:
  1. Put the braided loop on the end of the fly line
  2. Select some polyolefin 2:1 heat shrink that is as small a diameter and still capable of being pulled over the braided loop (1/16th” I.D. used in this example)
  3. Cut a piece of heat shrink longer than the braided loop
  4. Use a piece of mono to thread the heat shrink over the braided loop (same idea as using a threader to thread a bobbin)
  5. Snug the heat shrink up against the base of the loop so that it covers the doubled over segment
  6. Heat and shrink the tubing

Now you have a braided loop that won't hinge and fail at the transition, the loop is secure, the frayed ends are covered, plus the whole thing is very supple and will go through guides. Pull on it hard and the heat shrink tightens just like a braid. No slippage. I risk breaking the fly line trying to pull it off. No nail knots either.

If the heat shrink ever shows signs of starting to get brittle, just cut it off and reapply a new piece.

BTW this method traps air and makes the tip of the line float, so don't use if for sinktips. Also, don’t use too large a diameter heat shrink otherwise it won’t grip well and the loop could eventually slip off. Use the smallest diameter that will fit over the braid and line.

tubing over braid (1)