The Surgeon's Swivel
A few days ago I ran across an idea that was published many years ago by Art Lee. I'd forgotten all about it, but it's a great solution for accommodating large flies on very small tippets. It works particularly well for flies that have large upright wings. A common problem when casting on a light tippet pattern is twisting or spinning. The fly creates a tangled mess which most of us solve by cutting off the tippet and starting over. Traditional knots do nothing to solve the problem.

Art Lee solved this problem by adapting a common surgeons knot into what he called the "surgeon's swivel."

Here's the tying sequence (illustration follows):

1. Pass the fine tippet through the eye of the hook, so the head of the fly faces the leader butt, Release the fly and let it hang on the tippet.

2. Cut a section of tippet material three or four inches long and several sizes heavier than the tipper attached to the leader you're using.

3. Connect the section of heavy material to the end of the fine tippet with a surgeon's knot.

4. Clip excess material (lose to the body of the surgeon's knot, leaving only your tippet intact. This requires cutting three ends. Note: It is important that the excess material be clipped extremely close to the body of the knot in order to prevent jagged ends from catching the hook eye or forward portions of the fly during casting.

5. Now slide the fly hack down the tippet so the knot rests gently against the rear of the hook eye. Make sure that the body of the knot is larger than tile diameter of the hook eye so it can't slip through when fishing.

6. Grasp tile fly in one hand, tile leader in the other, and try revolving the fly. If the knot is properly tied and situated, the fly should revolve freely while the tippet remains stationary

The knot works best with flies tied on down eye hooks and ring eye hooks don't seem to work at all. Further the material dressing on the hooks should not be butted up against the hook eye. Use a softer casting stroke so that you don't jam the knot against the eye.

It doesn't always work perfectly but its better than the alternative.