I couldn't resist. I know puns are the lowest form of humor but come on. It was lying on the floor and I had to pick it up.
At left, an image of the Albright knot (really, a bend ) as illustrated by Dfred and hosted on wikicommons. Dfred has placed the image into the public domain and so we are privileged to use it here. Thanks!
I tie a great many Albright knots because I am in that league of partially mad fly fishermen who ... gasp ... tie their own leaders.
Yes, I also use the plastic extruded leaders sold in every fly shop. They're fine. I really like furled leaders but I've not ventured to making my own, yet.
So, why? Why do I bother with tying my own leaders?
A hundred fifty years ago, a regular Joe fly fisherman would probably have made all his own gear. His grandfather would have done the same. Both might have traded services with a local buddy for some of it. Oats for fly line braid from the tails of draft horses, for example.
A hundred years ago, some very fine commercial rods -- and by very fine I mean rods that performed uniformly under the same label due to mostly consistent production practices -- were available through mail order or in the large cities, in a dedicated sporting goods store. E.W. Edwards was selling rods through the Winchester line of stores and through affiliated hardware outlets. Montague and Horrocks-Ibbotson were releasing tons of mass produced cane rods onto the market and most were available in the general mail-order business lines.
The Trout Industrial Complex was running full tilt.
Today, all it takes to go fly fishing is an Amex and a half-hour of instruction, if that. Maybe a recent viewing of "the film" and a half-dozen on-line videos will suffice. Having our sport be accessible is a good thing.
I like the connection of using an ancient method of deceiving a fish even if that method is admittedly far inferior in success to a home-made brass wire hook and a can of worms.
I cannot plane my own cane. I'm a poor carpenter and a grave disappointment to an uncle whose trades included cabinetmaking.
I am a marginal fly tier and am thankful every time I catch a trout that somewhere in that frog-brain is a great appreciation for impressionistic art.
I can however tie knots. Tying your own leaders requires little other skill.
SO: the Albright knot.
I've lecture notes and recipes and various volumes with sections on leader design. I still play with my own.
I had this week what I believed was the "wonder leader" idea which I rapidly tied up last night. Lou the foxhound and I went out to a clear spot beside one of my meadows (which needs a good scything) to cast it.
I used my McKellip M84 4 wt which is just a outstanding piece of equipment. It's a strong 4 wt that casts a beautiful line. It's a great rod.
So, my leader threaded and attached is the extra-large size wool dab representing a big bushy dry ... and collapse.
I have leader designs from others that will throw such a fly. Most require five or seven step-downs through the length which results in a great many knots and some serious attention to the process of composition. I keep trying for the right three-section 12-foot leader that will turn over delicate soft hackles (many will) or land a big bushy dry if the hatch comes on and Big Bushies are on the water.
So far, no joy. Close, but not yet.
Back to tying a bunch of knots and following someone else's template.
Of course, with every leader I am poking a stick (rod?) into the eye of the Trout Industrial Complex. I'm crafting my own gear. I'm defeating the commercialism of our pursuit.
I'm tilting at windmills.
I am doing it stubbornly knot by knot. You can almost smell the moral superiority in the air.
Now, where is that latest Orvis catalog? They come every week.