Chasing GTs with a factory loop

There’s lots of advice out there about how to rig up for GT fishing. There are strong, educated opinions.

I’m told before I go GT fishing I should cut the front loop off my brand-new ~$100 fly line and build my own loop.

It is even talked about in the book “GT, A Fly Fisher’s Guide to Giant Trevally.” In the book, Peter McLeod talks about how he builds his own loops out of 50lb hollow braid.

I can see how, when GTs first became a species chased with a fly rod, fly lines might not have been up for the challenge. What I can’t see is how that’s still the case in 2018.

I mean… is RIO, for example, really selling a fly line that requires you to first cut part of it off and refashion a loop in order for it to be fished effectively? That can’t be the case, right?

What do I know about fishing for GTs? Pretty much nothing. I’ve caught one adult tarpon and lost a few more, but those are my big fish. In those cases I trusted to the manufacturer’s loops. Can’t I just trust the line maker for GTs?

I decided to ask RIO. Here’s what they said:

He shouldn’t be worried about loops. Lots of people use this line successfully for GTs with the factory loop. People do ruin lines, but the majority of those occur when a fish drags the line over something sharp like rocks or coral. That can strip the coating off or even cut through the core.


The loops on the GT line are manufactured a little differently than a loop on say a trout line. In addition to welding the coating together, we add a reinforcing PVC sleeve around the weld. As a result the welded loop is typically stronger than the line’s core break strength.


The one piece of information I’d add is that the loop knot in the end of the leader may end up being a weak point. A perfection loop, like on a typical trout leader, decreases the break strength of the mono by about 20%. That doesn’t matter if the tippet is significantly weaker than the leader butt, but for a level leader a figure-8 loop is a better option.

So… I’m going to NOT open my GT fly line from the box and cut the tip off. I’m betting the possibility of my operator error is higher than the likelihood of a manufacturing defect.

Yup… I’m going to put my faith in the company.

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  1. probably more important than the loop, is that you should bring a spare fly line. Sometimes they’ll take your whole line and then, suddenly, your fishing trip is over….

  2. Good point. I don’t have a back-up GT line, although I have a back-up 12 wt. Tarpon line and I’m betting, in a pinch, that would work. Thoughts?

  3. Totally agree.

  4. Just saw this post & have to agree 100% – bring extra fly line(s). I do no matter where i travel. Coral can be a nightmare, not only on the line, but it’ll cut your backing like butter. While in Hawaii a couple weeks ago, I found a brand new flyline & a TON of backing wrapped around a small clump of mangroves while mucking around on the flats. Also, by taking xtra lines a person can always “line up” if stuck with high winds for the entire trip. On a side note, Scientific Anglers has an Amplitude Titan “Big Water Taper” line. I have it in 11 & 12 wt and this is my go to GT (as well as other big fish) fly line. Be sure to check that out as the loops are hardcore & designed for extreme situations. I’ve not had a problem with the loops for 2 years now

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