Trying to remember fishing knots when in a boat, on the shore or standing in the water is something every angler can struggle with if knots are not tied on a regular basis.
Knots can be complicated tangles most of the time, especially the Bimini Knot, but there are basic knots used to tie on a fly, lure or join two pieces of fishing line together, whether it is monofilament to monofilament, braided line to braided line, or braided line to monofilament that are not all that difficult to master.
Most fishermen or women should know the fishermanâ€™s knot, known as the Clinch Knot. They should also know how to tie the Improved Clinch Knot. These two knots are basic and crucial for keeping our flies and lures attached to monofilament or a braided line like dacron or gel spun line better known as Spider Wire. The other knot most anglers should know how to tie is the simple Perfection Loop Knot, or, if that is too difficult, how to tie a Double or Triple Overhand Loop Knot as well. These two to three knots are used over and over again in freshwater and saltwater situations.
However as a longtime guide and fishing instructor, I can say many so-called experienced anglers cannot tie any knot but the Clinch or Improved Clinch consistently and they struggle to tie that with confidence when doing so. Hence, fish pull the knot apart when pressure is applied after the fish is hooked and pressure is applied to the knot.
Not only has the angler lost the battle with the fish, but he or she has also lost a fly or lure that can cost anywhere from 99 cents to several, if not dozens of dollars if weâ€™re talking about saltwater lures.
I am going to go out on a limb in this column and suggest every angler learn one knot that can be applied in many applications and be guaranteed to stand up to the toughest of fish, whether mega-trout, or true heavyweights like salmon, tuna, shark and billfish. This knot is simply called the Uni-Knot and has its best application in freshwater, but will also get the job done 90 percent of the time even in salt water applications.
Anglers can use it to tie swivels to line. The knot will quickly tie snelled hooks when fishing bait, or using tube flies for salmon, bass, steelhead and oceanic fish. Last, but not least, the Uni-Knot will tie lures and flies to line and even join similar or dissimilar line diameters together as a â€˜jamâ€™ knot with confidence, once the knot is mastered. Thankfully, there has been a knot-tying tool on the market since the early 70s that will aid fishermen in tying the knot until they can learn to tie the knot by hand â€“ and you should as itâ€™s not that difficult.
The tool is called the Tie Fast Knot Tyer. It comes in two sizes so you can tie the Uni-Knot to small or very large hooks. The tool can attach to a lanyard, fly vest or remain close in your tackle box or boat tool tray. There is not space to show you this knot in a diagram to go with this column. However, the Tie Fast Knot Tyer can be found in local bait and tackle and fly shops, as well as on the internet via Amazon and other on-line fishing equipment sites.
The tool even comes with instructions to aid your ability to tie fishing knots and line together with confidence. If you canâ€™t find the tool, there is always You Tube, the place for fake and real news these days to show you the knot. If learning on You Tube, you can pause as many times as you like until the Uni-Knot is mastered. How easy is that?
As with any knot, there are exceptions where another knot should be used to improve line strength, aid line stretch when two dissimilar line diameters are needed. The Bimini Twist and Hufnagle Knot come to mind as examples in saltwater applications for tarpon, shark, tuna, etc. If you think you need to know and tie these to knots to be IGFA legal for a world record, these are described in books and on video.
The only other time the Uni-Knot knot cannot be used is when tying a loop, or a loop-to-loop knot, because the Uni-Knot will pull tight (slip) under extreme pressure. The loops will still remain and the knot will remain tight, but you cannot easily unloop the knot once extreme pressure has been applied. Leader to fly line is a good example of when loop to loop connections are used. The Perfection Loop or Double Overhand Loop Knot needs to be used when you want your loops to remain open but still strong when fishing.
Practice, practice and practice the Uni-Knot. Your knot tying time should speed up and your confidence in your knot will give you that extra advantage when pursuing game fish of all species. Also practice the exceptions. The angler should be self sufficient, especially when fishing alone with no one to aid and abet your fishing addiction.