As a tournament angler, I require the right knot for the right application. The knot can mean success or failure. A quality line is extremely important, but even the best lines get nicked, cut, stretched and wear out. It is important to re-tye regularly to ensure you don’t lose your expensive lures and most important that fish of a lifetime.
Before I jump in, I have a couple of things you should consider when tying any knot. Moisten your line before pulling to minimize friction and make it easier to get a tight knot. Secondly, cinch your knots slowly. This will prevent the knot from getting out of shape or crossing over. An improperly cinched knot can cause excessive wear and ultimately line failure. Lastly, make sure to pull your main line to validate there is no slippage and you have tied your knot properly.
Now, onto my most used knots and what I use them for most.
1. Palomar Knot
The Palomar Knot is my quick goto knot due to its strength, especially for braid, and is quick to tie when your are power fishing. The Palomar Knot comes close to being a 100% knot when tied properly. Be sure that when the hook or lure is passed through the loop that all parts of the knot cinch up together. Many depictions of this knot elsewhere make it look like the loop part of the knot goes up against the bottom of the eye of the hook or lure. The knot can fail if tied in that manner. This is also the best knot to use with braided fishing line. Double 6 inches of line and pass end of loop through eye of hook. Alternately, for small hook eyes, pass end of line through hook eye once, then double back and pass end of line through hook eye again from opposite direction, leaving about six inches of doubled line outside the hook eye. Tie a loose overhand knot with hook hanging from bottom. Holding overhand knot between thumb and forefinger, pass loop of line over the hook. Slide loop above eye of hook. Pull on both the standing line and tag end to tighten knot down onto eye. Clip tag end close.
2. Blood Knot
The Blood Knot is used for joining two lines together. I used it most when tying mono to fluorocarbon. Many times I will use cheaper monofilament line as a backing for fluorocarbon due to the cost or application. The Blood Knot is a tried and true fishing knot and a favorite of many anglers, including myself. The strength of the knot is increased by making at least 5 and up to 7 wraps on each side of the knot. It works best with lines of approximately equal diameter. Overlap ends of lines to be joined. Twist one around the other making 5 turns. Bring tag end back between the two lines. Repeat with the other end, wrapping in opposite direction the same number of turns. Slowly pull lines in opposite directions. Turns will wrap and gather. Clip ends close to the knot.
3. Fisherman’s Knot
The fisherman’s knot, also known as the improved clinch knot, is a very effective way to tie on a lure that is not easily tied with a Palomar knot. I use this for tying the lower end of my swivel on my Carolina Rig or leader to my GoFish Cam. The Improved Clinch is a time-tested and a very popular choice for tying terminal tackle to monofilament line. It is quick and easy to tie and reliable. It can be difficult to tie in lines testing greater than 25 pounds breaking strength. It is not recommended for braided line, and yes, it will slip on braid without a terminating knot. Thread end of the line through the eye of the hook. Double back making 5 or more turns around standing line. Bring the end of the line back through the first loop formed behind the eye, then through the big loop. Wet knot and pull on tag end to tighten down the coils. Slide tight against the eye and clip tag end close.
4. Simple Snell Knot
The Snell Knot provides a reliable straight-line pull when setting the hook. If you own a GoFish Cam, this is my choice to get the most secure termination to your main line. There are several ways to tie this knot and I have found this version to be the easiest and best way. This method is recommended by professional bass fisherman Kevin Hawk of the Elite Series (pro bass tour). Good enough for a guy whose living depends on knots, good enough for anyone! The Snell Knot is a good knot for all fishermen to have in their arsenal of go-to knots. Run tag end through hook eye toward the point of the hook, form a small loop and bring tag end behind hook shank. You will want about four inches of tag to work with. Begin wrapping the tag end around the hook shank and the line working from the point to the eye. Make 5 -7 wraps and then feed tag out through loop, from the underside to topside. While holding wraps in place, pull the tag end to tighten. Make sure wraps are nice and neat on the hook shank and pull both ends very tight. Clip tag end.
5. Non-Slip Loop Knot
If you are looking for a little more action in your crankbaits or swimbaits, the non-slip loop knot is a great choice. The Non-Slip Mono Loop is also known as the “Kreh Loop” as it has been made popular by fishing legend Lefty Kreh. As its name suggests it forms a non-slip loop at the end of a fishing line. The loop connection to a fly or a lure can give the fly or lure more natural action. Some fishermen find the Kreh Loop easier to tie than the similar Rapala Knot and equally reliable. Make an overhand knot in the line about 10 inches from the end. Pass the tag end through the hook eye and back through the loop of the overhand knot. Wrap the tag end around the standing part 5 or 6 times. Bring tag end back through the overhand knot, entering from the same side it exited from before. Moisten the knot then pull slowly on the tag end to cinch the wraps loosely together. Then pull the loop and the standing line in opposite directions to seat the knot. Trim tag end.