For every angler, and most particularly for the serious angler, the ability to tie proper fishing knots is vitally important. It is one of the most critical factors to fishing success. When all other things are normal, a fisherman’s knots are the weakest part of his equipment. In fact, more prize fish are lost because knots pull out, slip, or cut themselves than are lost because of a broken line or faulty tackle.
There are hundreds of good knots that can be used by fishermen. And many fishermen consider it a measure of angling skill if they’re the master of several dozen different kinds of knots.
Yet the average angler under average fishing conditions, whether he employs bait, spinning, or fly tackle, need know only a handful of knots. Even the most experienced anglers, those who use different tackle under different conditions in different places, frequently utilize only a handful of knots, even though they know how to tie most knots of angling value
When knots aren’t tied properly, the most expensive fishing tackle is useless. Even casting perfection, and fish knowledge are of no value if a knot pulls free or cuts itself when a fish strikes. So all fishermen should make every effort to learn to tie knots skillfully in the rigs they select for the angling at hand.
Here are six of the best ties known that will enable an angler to fish just about anywhere for almost anything with fins.
To see illustrations of each step in tying these and other fishing knots, the author’s book Fishermen’s Knots, Rigs and How To Use Them, is considered the definitive work on the subject of fishing knots. The 304-page book is the most comprehensive reference on the subject, covering nearly 200 fishing knots and rigs, with over 700 illustrations. It’s available for $19.95 from McNally Outdoor Productions, 1716 Bayside Blvd., Jacksonville, Fla. 32259. Personalized autographed copies are available upon request.
1) BLOOD KNOT
This knot is valuable to all fishermen for joining two monofilament or fluorocarbon lines (modern braided line should not be tied with a Blood Knot). Its only drawback is that the lines to be connected must be of equal, or nearly equal, diameters—-though 10-pound test can be tied to 20-pound using a Blood Knot. A Blood Knot provides a small connection, and when properly tied it cannot pull loose no matter how close its ends are clipped.
1 Cross the two lines, and wrap one line three times around the other. Now place the line end through the loop formed by the two lines.
2 Turn the other line around the first line three times, put its end through the loop from the opposite side.
3 The turns should look like this. Now slowly pull on both long ends of the lines.
4 The tightened knot looks like this, loose ends trimmed.
2) HOMER RHODE LOOP KNOT
This is an easy knot to tie, and very popular with anglers who use crankbaits. The Homer Rhode Loop allows plugs, spoons and other lures to have the best possible action. The knot forms a loop through the “eye” of a lure, so it “swims” more freely than if a knot were tied snugly to it. In fact, a loop formed by this knot often can make a diving plug run true that otherwise “tracks” irregularly.
The Homer Rhode Loop can be made with very heavy or very light line. Forming this knot carefully is important. But when done properly, the knot is extremely strong.
Although this knot is normally tied with monofilament, it also can be used effectively with braided line and fluorocarbon.
1. Tie a simple Overhand Knot about four inches from the end of the line. Push the end of the line through the hook eye, then back through the center of the Overhand Knot.
2. Next, with the end of the line, make another Overhand Knot around the standing part of the line. When tightened, the two Overhand Knots slide and jam together, meeting at the middle of the two loose Overhand Knots and forming a loop.Where the second Overhand Knot is positioned around the standing line determines the size of the knot’s loop. For a big loop knot, form the second Overhand Knot well up the standing part of the line. For a small loop knot, make the second Overhand Knot close to the first Overhand Knot.
3) IMPROVED CLINCH KNOT
The Improved Clinch Knot is one of the most popular knots for tying a line or leader to either a hook or lure eye. It is one of the most dependable and secure of all knots.
Although many anglers still insist on using the ordinary Clinch Knot, the Improved Clinch Knot is just as easy to tie, and it is much stronger.
The Improved Clinch knot can be difficult to tighten when using heavy-test monofilament of, say, over 50-pound. But if the tie is moistened well, even stout monofilament and fluorocarbon will tighten properly.
1. Pass the line end through the hook eye. Put about 6 inches of line through the eye so there will be ample line to tie the knot.
2. Hold the hook or lure securely in one hand and wrap the end of the line five times around the standing part of the line, as shown in the illustration. Now pass the line end back through the small loop near the hook eye, and also through the large loop.
3. Tighten and trim the knot carefully.
This outstanding, versatile and durable knot is an excellent one for connecting “gel-spun polyethylene” braided line, monofilament and flourocarbon. The knot works well with virtually anything except single strand wire; though it can be used with multi-strand cable in tests less than about 100 pounds.
The Uni-Knot is more than a simple fishing knot, it is an entire knot-tying system. Here it’s shown used to connect two fishing lines. It can be used to secure lines of light or heavy test, as well as light lines to heavy ones, or even doubled lines to shock tippets.
1. Overlap the ends of two lines for about 6 inches. With one line end form a circle, crossing the two lines about midway of the overlapped distance.
2. Make four turns with the tag end through the loop.
3. Pull the tag line end tight to jam the wraps of the Uni-Knot around the standing line.
4. Follow steps two and three with the opposite line end, then pull the knots together as tightly as possible.
5. Pull the standing lines in opposite directions to slide knots together. Pull tight and trim tag ends.
5) HAYWIRE TWIST
This is one of the best and most commonly-used methods for linking single-strand wire to any type of connecting ring. The number of wraps and the two different kinds of wraps in the Haywire Twist may seem elaborate to many anglers. But for numerous varieties of strong, toothy fish, this tie is absolutely necessary to keep the wire tie from “pulling out.” Many veteran anglers prefer single-strand wire to multi-strand cable (which is best connected with crimping sleeves) because it is finer diameter and therefore less visible to fish. The drawback to single-strand wire is that it can kink and break, unlike multi-stand cable.
1. Thread the end of the wire through the hook eye, pulling about 5 inches of wire through it.
2. Pinch the two pieces of wire together, and begin twisting the wire strands simultaneously together, so they wrap around each other at about a 45-degree angle. Make four to six “wraps.”
3. Now bend the tag end of the wire at a 90-degree angle to the standing part of wire, and begin making “barrel wraps” tight to each other, as shown in the illustration. Make four to six “barrel wraps.” Bend the tag end of the wire back and forth until it breaks, and the Haywire Twist is completed.
6) SNELLING A HOOK KNOT
Generations ago Snelling A Hook was necessary because many hooks did not have “eyes.” However, some expert anglers still insist today on snelling their “eyed” hooks because they feel snelling makes a strong, permanent connection. Also, a very direct, “hook set” in line with the plane of the hook is made when a fish is struck using this durable connection. Snelled hooks often are used in fishing natural baits, such as live shiners for outsize largemouth bass in heavy cover. Many bait fishermen prefer snelled hooks because bait can be slipped right over the leader knot. Also, with no knot on the leader above the hook, weeds and other debris are less likely to foul ahead of a bait on the line during fishing. This knot is easily made, and is very similar to the “whip finish” fly tiers use to secure thread when they’ve completed dressing a fly. Snelled hooks also are used by some anglers using soft plastic lures, especially with slip sinkers are used. Since a snelled is placed on the hook shank, there is no knot to fray and break by a sliding sinker above the hook eye, so the tie is very durable.
1. Thread the leader through the hook eye and lay the leader along the hook shank.
2. Pull about 6 inches of leader through the hook eye and form a loop below the hook shank, as shown.
3. Hold the line near its end tight and parallel to the hook shank, while wrapping the line loops (as shown) over the entire hook. Be sure the line of the loop closest to the hook eye forms the series of coils.
4. After six tight coils are formed on the hook shank, slowly pull on the standing part of the line. This will bring the rear loop through the coils and tighten the knot.