WindknotJonas Magnusson

The tailing loops.

When I started fly fishing, I noticed that simple overhand knots mysteriously materialized on my leader and tippet. At first, I neither realized the downside of having such a not on the leader/tippet nor did I understand how that happened.

An overhand knot on the leader/tippet will substantially weaken it (some say by half). Yes, of course, I found out the hard way. Therefore, when you spot one on your leader/tippet system deal with it immediately. If not dealt with you will lose a big fish – your choice. These knots are called wind knots. No – the wind does not make them – you do. However, you might make more of them when casting in windy conditions.

I had no clue why I was churning the wind knots out. But I understood it must be related to my casting somehow. I freely admit that some of my casts resembled Picasso’s Goat and I suspected therein was the issue. However, it has taken me years to understand why the knot appears and even longer to understand how it happens.

These wind knots will appear when you cast a tailing loop.

You can see the dip in the fly leg and often the line does not turn over and it all ends in a sorry pile, and that’s what we call a tailing loop. It is not possible to see the tip path itself because of the speeds involved. A slow cast can move the tip 60’ per second. A high-speed film of a fly cast with a tail demonstrates the dip in the tip path, and the dip is there for all tailing lops irrespective of how we make them. However, by paying attention to the fly leg we can indirectly infer the tip path. Domed fly leg means that the tip path was domed – straight fly legs are a testament to a straight tip path – a tail is indicative of a dip in the tip path. Therefore, it is extremely important to pay attention to the shape of the top leg. 

So, conceptually it is simple – the reason for tailing loops is a dip in the tip path. It is not at all simple to avoid them though, and all casters will cast them occasionally.

How do you go about dipping the tip path?

There are three main reasons for the dipped path.

  1. The casting arc is too narrow for the bend in the rod.

2. Creep

3. Inappropriate application of power