Al Campbell, Field Editor

August 9th, 2004

L2L Connection System
Al Campbell

With all this concern and talk about ways to connect your leader to your fly line, a company called Scientific Anglers decided to do something different about it. They created a little system called an L2L or leader link system. This system is supposed to help the user attach a leader to a fly line without the use of a nail knot. It does, and it does it with a few quirks that you should know about.

Before I go there though, you need to know a bit more about me. I'm the guy you saw 20 years ago sitting on a rock near a stream trying to tie a nail knot with a nail or any other small thin item, along with leader and fly line. If you ventured too close, you probably had to wash your ears out with soapy water when you got home. I hated nail knots. In fact, I absolutely, without a doubt, without any question and beyond any reasonable grace hated nail knots. If this knot system had come out 20 years ago, I would have been one of their best customers.

However, before the L2L connection system came out, another little tool for making nail knots hit the streets. It is simple, small, easy to use, and makes nail knots in about 20 seconds. In fact, there are at least a dozen copies of this thing that all do the same thing; they make simple nail knots easily. You can buy them with files, clippers and hook eye finish removers. Some work better than others, but they all work faster than the L2L system. So, I had a definite prejudice when I tried the L2L system.

That said, the L2L system works great for most lines. You put your line through a tiny plastic piece and tie a knot, then wet the end of the leader connection and insert it in the plastic piece. A bit of force, and you have a solid connection. It takes maybe a minute to do. That is a far cry from the half-hour I used to shed tears in, when I tried to use a nail for the knot thing. The L2L system is reasonable and stout enough for any freshwater fish.

On the positive side, here are a few things I liked:

  • They come attached to some really fine leaders. I really like SA leaders for my fishing.

  • If you don't already use a knot tool, or you can't get your hands to use a knot tool; these are the fastest ways to connect a leader to your fly line.

  • The plastic connector is small enough to fit through most fly rod guides.

  • The plastic connector makes a handy strike indicator.

  • It only takes a few minutes to learn how to cast it without a splash.

However, there is also a negative side. Here are a few things I didn't like:

  • First of all, I have two custom rods with guides small enough that the tiny plastic clip hung on them. It isn't all that great with small lines.

  • It takes too long to do. I know it is faster than the old way, but so is a knot tool; and I can do at least 3 knots with a tool before I can do one L2L connection.

  • It costs too much. It doesn't take long at all to pay off a knot tool with the money you spend for an L2L setup.

  • I don't have to spit on a knot tool to get a good connection.

That said, it is your choice. If you hate knots, and/or you don't have or like a knot tool, you need this system. It is far better than using a nail. However, if you have a knot tool, you might not need this system at all. It really isn't workable on my 3wt, but works well on my 5wt. Like I said, it's your choice. Some will love it and others will not like it at all. I guess that is what is called the American way. ~ AC

Previous Al Campell Columns

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