For years, we've been building our own loops into sink tips via whipped loops, allowing us to hit trout and steelhead streams with sink tips of many different weights and lengths. Typically, we use different colored thread to help distinguish tips of different weights. The loops are relatively easy to build and when reinforced with UV knot sense are actually quite strong. While these loops have generally worked well, they often don't turn out as nice and neat as we'd like, and the thread wraps take a beating over time and have failed on us on more than one occasion. The alternative to whipped loops is welded loops which, while many anglers think can only be created by the manufacturer at the factory, can actually be made very easily at home.
A new video by RIO highlights the process and, with RIO's recent addition of colored (by weight) InTouch Level T sink tip material, has us a bit giddy about the idea of revamping our sink tip arsenal with vast array of color-coded tips in varying lengths with neat, manufacturer-quality welded loops.
The process is simple, but does require that you have the necessary tools. Mostly, this comes down to having a heat gun handy, but shrink wrap tubing also makes the job easier. The heat gun of choice is the Steinel 25th Anniversary Edition, which comes with a digital temperature setting and a variety of nozzles. But, unless you're a steelhead geek that's going to be building a lot of sink tips, that model may be a bit pricey. You can find cheaper heat guns out there, but be sure to look for one that can output a low enough temperature (around 390-400°F for this job), as the $20 models typically don't get below 570 degrees. A reflector nozzle is recommended as well. This less expensive model from Steinel, will save you around $70.
The resulting loops, according to RIO, are rated to 20 pound test. In our experience, welded loops easily out-strength nail knotted terminal loops and last a lot longer due to their clean, neat profile.
Watch the video below for step-by-step instructions.