Tying Knots that Hold

Tying fishing knots that hold will become more important as the size of your trout grows.

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What can you do to improve your chances of landing that catch of a lifetime? (I’m talking about trout here).

•Learn the basic flyfishing knots until you can easily tie them. These should at least include the improved clinch knot and the double surgeon's knot.

•Practice tying fishing knots at home. It is not a bad idea to use a larger diameter line when you do this. Standing on the riverbank is not a good time to try to remember how to tie a fishing knot. You should not have to do this more than a few times until it starts coming to you.

• Before you complete tying fishing knots, moisten them with saliva. This helps the knot seat and reduces friction heat when you tighten the knot.

•Tighten your flyfishing knots slowly, pulling on all lines that go into and out of the knot until they are tight.

•Test the knot by placing the bend of the hook in a ring on your vest or rod and giving it a tug. You want to make sure the knot is secure.

•Learn the basic flyfishing knots until you have them perfected. You may find a fishing knot that you prefer over the others.

Explore More about Fly Fishing

Take some time to explore our guides on other important topics in fly fishing.

Fluorocarbon vs. Monofilament Knots

Tests show that using a wet surgeon's knot on fluorocarbon and nylon monofilament line has about the same breaking strength (75% and 80% of their rated strength respectively).

The big difference will be in the quality of the knot itself. Fluorocarbon line must be fully cinched tight because it is harder than monofilament line. It also has a shell-like exterior, which means you need to be extra careful when tying a fluorocarbon tippet to monofilament leader.

Tips That Will Affect Line Strength

•Replace leaders and tippets when they show wear. Run them between your fingers and see if you can feel any abrasions or cuts.

•Sloppy casting causes wind knots. We all do it from time to time, but they are trouble. Wind knots reduce the strength of the line by about 50%. Repair your leader as soon as you find them.

Final Thoughts on Tying Fishing Knots

Those loops at the end of fly lines and leaders are great. Did you know there is a right and a wrong way to join them? If you run the loop from your fly line through the loop in the leader then run the end of the leader through you will get a smaller “knot.” This will go through the guides easier. If you put the loop from the leader through the fly line loop you will create a larger footprint, which may snag on the guides.

On a somewhat unrelated subject, when you are making repairs to your leader in the field, take your discarded monofilament line home with you and/or recycle it. Don’t discard it on the riverbank.