Do you hate tying a new knot each time you change flies? Admittedly, it's a minor annoyance, but many of us (myself included) would gladly take a slightly lazier route if possible. At IFTD 2018, we got our first glimpse of RIO's new solutions for skipping the knot tying altogether—their new Fly Clips and Twist Clips. These small clips tie on to the end of the tippet and simply allow you to securely attach/detach a fly while skipping the whole knot tying process.
RIO's Fly Clips come in 3 different sizes to handle flies ranging from sizes 16–4, while the Twist Clips also come in 3 sizes but are designed for more demanding conditions and larger flies from 10–1/0. Since I'm a bigtime streamer guy, I was sent the size 3 Twist Clips which accept flies from 4–1/0.
Each Twist Clip is made of regular steel and features one side with a round eyelet to tie the line onto, with the other end being the one that opens/closes where the fly is attached. All the clips come loaded onto a snap which makes rigging one a snap, too (heh heh heh). You can either slide a clip off the snap and tie it on your tippet, or tie a clip onto your tippet before sliding it off the snap.
Thus far I've used my Twist Clips when tossing streamers for largemouth bass and have no big gripes with their performance. Other than the clips collecting a bit of extra moss here and there, they performed fine and didn't show any strength or durability issues. With a hard-headed fly like a popper, though, I did notice the area of the fly closest to the hook eye would get scuffed/chipped a bit from the clip rubbing this area when putting on/taking off the fly several times.
Twist Clips are plenty strong so you can use them with confidence. RIO has run strength tests on them with the following results:
Size 1- Average breaking strength of 21.52-pounds.
Size 2- Average breaking strength of 31.97-pounds.
Size 3- Average breaking strength of 67.38-pounds.
I tested a size 3 Twist Clip by tying heavy mono to each end and looping one of those ends around my trailer hitch (for an anchor point) and the other to a hand scale. Out of the four pull tests, I was able to apply around 40-pounds of force each time before the loop knot would pop. The tested clip came through perfectly with no failures and it didn't open up as I was pulling. I wouldn't hesitate using these for targeting much larger game than just bass, but the steel construction brings up a question of longevity if used often in saltwater.
I tested my clips with the rated hook sizes (4 to 1/0) which fit just fine. A fly is simply pushed/wiggled into the clip where it then hangs freely. In my opinion, gripping the clip while attaching a fly can be a little rough on the fingers, so sometimes I'll just hold the clip with my pliers to make it easier. To remove, I like to use the thumbnail of my left hand (the one holding the clip) to push the hook eye back out of the clip. While a more simplistic snap would be a little more straightforward and comfortable to use, these seem to be less prone to breaking or malfunctioning under extreme conditions.
One of the best aspects of these clips is that they save the length of your tippet. Rather than your tippet shrinking each time you tie a new fly on, the clip stays put and lets you change flies as much as you want. Of course, you'll still want to monitor the line just above the clip for any scuffs or chafes while fishing, but the clip also adds a little bit of extra buffer zone between your line and the fly to guard against things like sharp fish teeth. With Fly Clips coming in at $3.99 and Twist Clips priced at $5.99 (both versions in packs of 10), these little contraptions might make your day just a little easier!
RIO Twist Clips and Fly Clips