Knots are one of the most critical links in the battle between yourself and a fish. Just about all of us have come up on the loosing end at one time or another when a knot fails. Our only reminder of the big one that got away is a curlicue pig-tail at the end of the line.
There are several reasons for knot failure. Maybe you chose the wrong knot for the particular line that you are using. Some knots that work in monofilament will fail when tied in braided GSP lines like Power Pro due to the low stretch and slick surface of the “super braids”. Another common problem in knot tying is not moistening the knot before tightening. Wetting your knot will allow lubrication to clinch the knot down without damaging the line. Fully tightening the knot is critical in forming a fail proof knot since under-tightened knots can loosen when casting or fighting a fish.
Like many things in the sport, there are countless knots out there and many are very effective; however, it is not vital to learn them all to be a successful fisherman. Below is a list of knots that I find to be useful. Learn a few of these and you will be covered in almost any situation.
Surgeons Knot & Loop: While this isn’t the sexiest knot, it is one of the easiest to learn and serves two purposes. First, the surgeons can be used to connect two pieces of monofilament or fluorocarbon when building a leader. Second, the surgeons can be used to form a loop when a loop-to-loop connection is needed such as looping a leader onto a fly line. This is one of the quickest knots to tie so you can get back in the action when the bite is hot.
Uni to Uni Splice (Double Uni): I use this knot to join braided line to mono or fluoro leader. I prefer it to the Albright knot in this situation because the Uni casts smoothly through the guides. With the Albright knot, a heavy leader can hang in the guides and ruin a cast. Another line joining knot is the surgeon’s knot. The Surgeon’s should be avoided for this situation because it can slip when used with braided line. I also use the Double Uni to splice braided line back together. If a bird’s nest of tangled line forms in the braid, I simply cut out the tangle and join the line back using the Uni to Uni Splice. This saves time on the water and eliminates the unnecessary loss of expensive braid.
Non-Slip Loop: A loop connection to the fly, lure or hook can be advantageous. When using heavy tippet, a fly’s action can be ruined if it is tied tightly to the hook using a clinch type knot. A loop allows the fly to swing freely which increases action and promotes proper tracking. The Non-Slip Loop is a great choice for your terminal connection since it is easy to learn and can be tied quickly on the water.
Perfection Loop: This a compact knot to use when creating a loop in the butt section of your fly leader to form a loop to loop connection with the fly line. The small size of the Perfection Loop will go through the rod guides smoothly compared to the Surgeons loop which is more bulky. With a bunch of practice, you can even use the perfection loop to tie on your fly or lure.
Blood Knot: The Blood Knot is a great knot for joining sections of leader. I often use it when constructing fly leaders. When joining two lines of different diameters (i.e. 60# to 20#), I recommend doubling over the thinner line when tying the knot. Beware that joining fluorocarbon to monofilament with a blood knot can lead to knot failure due to the different properties and stiffness between the two materials.
With a countless number of You Tube videos out there, learning these knots is pretty easy these days. Give them a try and you’ll be a better angler for it!