Serious anglers take pride in their knots. And well they should.
After all, knots are ultimately what catch our fish. The strongest, toughest, most abrasion-resistant line in the world won't stand up to a 3-inch bluegill if it is connected to the reel, lure or any terminal tackle in-between with a sub-par knot. Knots allow us to create more effective presentations by splicing small-diameter, low-visibility line to the business end of heavy-duty stuff, combining power and finesse, without sacrificing action or stealth by using swivels.
Knowing your knots-which ones work best in myriad fishing situations, which lines need which knots to perform up to their peak strength, and knowing how to tie each one right the first time, every time-will undoubtedly make you a better angler. Check out some of the top knots and learn to tie them in your sleep. Your fishing will reap the rewards.
Attaches leader to fly line or tippet: Double over the last 6 inches of leader, and begin to make a loose overhand knot. Pass the doubled-over line around itself twice and tighten (the point along the doubled-over line at which you tighten the knot decides loop size). Repeat the knot on the butt end of the tippet, pass the tippet's loop through the leader loop, push the free end of the tippet through its loop and pull to tighten.
Forms a long doubled-over leader section: Double over a section of line slightly longer than the length you need for your leader. Grasping the tag end and standing line with one hand, rotate the loop end putting twists in it about 20 times. Put both feet through the loop and bring it up around your knees, putting pressure on the twists by holding the tag end and standing line while spreading your legs.
Hold the standing line in one hand, pulling it slightly to the side under tension. Use your other hand to hold the tag end at a right angle to the twisted section of line. Keeping tension with your knees, slightly ease tension on the tag end, letting it roll over the upper twists.
Spread your knees to maintain tension, then wrap the tag end in tight coils over the existing twists. When it is wrapped to the bottom of the twists, remove your hand from the standing line and use it to hold the twisted section. Place a finger in the crotch where the loop joins the knot, then use the other hand to tie a half hitch around the nearest leg of the loop with the tag end and pull tight.
Ease pressure with your knees, while keeping the loop taut. Use the remaining tag end to tie another half hitch around both loop legs, but do not pull tight.
Wrap the tag end twice around both loop legs, winding inside the line of the loose half hitch, wrapping toward the main knot. Slowly pull the tag end until the three loops form a spiral. With the spiral butted up to the knot, tighten and trim tag end to a 1/4-inch from the knot.
Attaches line to hook for live bait snells: Thread the leader through the hook eye from the front, bring the end just past the turn of the hook and hold it in place between your thumb and forefinger. Pass the other end of the leader (which will eventually attach to the main line) through the eye from the opposite direction, leaving a large loop.
Hold both lines along the shank, wind the loop around the shank in five to 10 tight coils, moving from the eye toward the point. Then, hold the coil tightly in place and pull on the leader going to the main line until the rest of the remaining loop passes under the coils. Use a pliers to pull the tag end and clinch the snell.
Joins line to lure: Double the last few inches of line and thread the loop through the hook eye or line tie. Make a loose overhand knot with the loop going around the standing double-line, then pass the hook or lure through the loop. Hold the hook while pulling on the standing double-line to snug up the knot.
Attaches line to lure: Form a double loop by passing the free end through the hook eye twice, leaving a 3- to 4-inch free end. Next, wrap the free line around the standing line four to six times, then pass the free end through the double loop. Pull on the standing line and hook to snug up the knot.
Splices similar-diameter lines: Like the double-uni below, begin by overlapping the ends of the lines several inches. Wrap one line around the other four to five times and pass the free end between the two lines, as shown. Repeat this step with the other line, hold the tag ends and pull on the standing lines to tighten the knot.
Forms a loop in the line for attaching a hook, leader or weight: Create a loop in the line where you want the knot. Pull the loop down and turn it around the standing line eight to 10 times. Next, push the loop through the center opening, keeping tension to prevent the loop from passing back through the opening. Holding the loop in your lips, pull both ends of the standing line until tight.
Joins mono to superline: Overlap the ends of the lines several inches. Then, form a loop with one line, as shown, and pass the free end through the loop and around the other line four to five times. Snug loosely. Repeat steps two and three with the other line. Then, pull on both standing lines to draw the two knots together and snug them up.
Provides a free-swinging connection to allow maximum wobble when fishing a crankbait:
Make a loose overhand knot at the end of the line, leaving about a 4-inch tag end which you thread through the hook eye.
Pass the free end through the overhand knot, and wrap it around the standing line four to six times.
Push the end through the overhand knot (the position of this knot dictates the size of the loop), then pass it though the open loop formed between it and the wraped section of the standing line. Holding the tag end in one hand and the lure in the other, pull the standing line to tighten the knot, forming the loop.