Fishing line connects the angler to his or her hook or lure, but without a strong knot even the best line will do no good. Learning how to tie knots is critical to successful fishing. Fortunately it is a relatively simple matter to learn how to tie a strong knot, but know that there are steps that need to be taken when tying any knot.
Wet the knot with saliva before drawing tight. This will help the knot to cinch down correctly and avoid damaging the line. When pulling a knot tight, pull evenly from all ends – the tag, the standing part, and any other parts of the knot that may have a loose end. Lastly, trim the tag end close to the knot with a pair of nail clippers or side cutters – usually within 3-6mm (1/8 – 1/4 inch) is perfect.
While knots come in all shapes, sizes, and complexities know that in most cases a simple and relatively easy to tie knot will work just fine. The smart angler will want to learn at least a handful of useful knots – 1) a knot to connect line to the spool of the reel such as the arbor knot or improved clinch knot; 2) a knot to connect two lines together like the blood knot or Albright knot; 3) a strong knot that can easily be tied by feel alone such as the Palomar knot; and 4) a knot that is useful when tying a hook or hooks in the middle of a line like the dropper loop.
The Arbor Knot
This knot is an extremely simple one to tie yet is very useful and easy to learn. After going around the arbor of the spool (twice is better than once) take the tag or loose end and tie it to the standing part of the line.
With the remaining part of the tag end tie one more overhand knots. Tighten by pulling on both parts of the line and clip off the loose tag end to within 3mm (1/8 inch) of the end of the line.
The Improved Clinch Knot
This is another relatively simple to tie knot that comes in very handy. It is often used to tie line to the arbor of a spool, to a hook, or to a lure. When tied correctly it retains up to 95% of the lines rated breaking strength. The secret of this knot is to make five or more turns of the tag end of the line around the standing end before running the tag end back through the formed loop. Use this knot for lines up to 30 pound test. It is very important for this knot to be wetted before cinching it tight and allow enough of a tag end after the knot is drawn up. An improperly tied improved cinch knot will result in the angler reeling in a curly-q instead of a fish, hook, or lure.
The Blood Knot
This knot is extremely useful when tying two lines together. It requires five or more turns of line with each tag end wrapping around the overlapped standing end of line. This is easy to do by making one series of turns and tucking the tag end between the two lines and then doing it again with the second line. It is a good knot only if the lines are close to the same size and rating.
For example, it’s good for tying 15 pound test line to 20 pound test line, but it is not good for tying 15 pound test line to 60 pound test line. As with all knots, make sure this knot is wetted before pulling tight.
The Albright Knot
This knot is used to connect two different sizes of monoﬁlament together, or connecting monoﬁlament to spectra. While it takes a number of steps, it isn’t a particularly difficult knot if one pays attention to detail.
1) Form a loop in the tag end of the heavier line and hold it between two fingers. Insert the tag end of the lighter line through the loop from the top.
2) Slip the tag end of lighter line under your thumb and pinch it tightly against the heavier strands of the loop. Wrap the ﬁrst turn of the lighter line over itself and continue wrapping toward the loop. Take at least 12 turns with the lighter line around all three strands.
3) Insert the tag end of the lighter line through end of the loop from the bottom. It must enter and leave the loop on the same side.
4) After wetting the line slide the coils of the lighter line toward the end of the loop, stopping 3mm (1/8 inch) from the end of the loop. Using pliers, pull the tag end of the lighter line tight to keep the coils from the slipping off the loop.
5) With your hand still holding the heavier line, pull on the standing part of the lighter line. Pull the tag end of the lighter line and the standing part again making sure it is cinched up tight.
6) Cut both tag ends within 3mm (1/8 inch) of the knot.
The Palomar Knot
This extremely simple to tie knot should be learned by all anglers. It is good for line up to 27 kilos (60 lbs.) and is extremely strong. It is one of the few knots that retains up to 95% of the strength of the line.
Since it is basically an overhand knot that is formed with a loop of line it can easily be tied in the dark making it a very useful addition to any angler’s arsenal. Be sure and wet it before drawing it up tight and cut the tag end within 3mm (1/8 inch) from the knot.
The Dropper Loop
This allows you to make a loop in the middle of your line to attach a hook, sinker, or lure. Fold the line back over itself to make a loop, and then twist the two overlapping line sections at least four or five times. Pull the loop through this center twist. After wetting the line draw the dropper loop tight by pulling the standing, tag, and loop sections tight at the same time. This knot takes some practice, but after a little while you will be able to tie it like an expert and make the loop section as long or short as you want.
I hope you have enjoyed this short article about knots. May your line and your knots both stay tight!
Written by Greg Douglas for Cheapfishinggear.com.au