Knots are the weakest link in the fishing equation. The best rod, reel, line and lures can’t overcome a bad knot, so it pays to practice this fishing skill. From the long list of fishing knots we selected three time-proven connections are easy to tie and reliable to fish. Read on for easy instructions on these essential knots, plus tips on how to tie them like a fishing guide.
Master 3 Essential Fishing Knots
Out of all the line-to-lure knots, the Palomar is one of the strongest and easiest according to Berkley’s Knot Wars, because it retains 100 percent of the line’s original strength. First, double your line over and pass it through the eye of the hook or split ring. Be sure the doubled length is long enough to pass over the lure. Loop the doubled line around the main line to tie an overhand knot. Now pull the loop over the hook or lure, wet the knot, cinch it tight and trim the excess line.
The Alberto knot provides a compact line-to-line connection that easily slides through the rod eyes and line guide. Start by making a two-inch loop in the fluorocarbon line and hold it in one hand. Then, pass the braid through the loop and wrap it around the loop seven times, working toward the tag end of the loop. Then, reverse direction and complete another seven wraps toward the base of the loop. Now, gradually slide the wraps toward the base of the loop and slowly pull both ends of the bight. After the knot becomes tight, pull hard on both the fluoro and braid to further cinch the knot.
A dropper rig has a million uses from bottom fishing with bait to adding a trailer to your fly or jig. First, form a loop in your line at the desired location. Where the pieces of line pass, twist one piece six times over the other leaving a space in the center twist. Pass the loop through the space in the twist, moisten the twisted line, then pull both the tag end and running end while pulling the loop with your teeth to tighten the knot. When tied properly, the loop will stick straight out from the mainline.
How to Tie Your Knots Like a Guide
When you fish with a guide for the first time—especially if you’re a beginner—they will either tie all your knots for you, or just retie the knots when you’re not looking. Guides always have better knots than you for two reasons: 1) they spend all day of every day tying them; and 2) they know just how important a good knot is to land fish. Try these tips to get a knot-tying game that’s fit for the big leagues.
4 Pro Knot-Tying Tips
1 Practice Your Knot-Tying
Re-tie knots after each trip. Make sure the knots look good, strong and as perfect as possible every time you tie them. To improve consistency and focus, try repeating a little mantra every time you tie a knot. While I practice, I hear words in my head from an angler before me, my little brother: “Make it look good.”
2 Wet Line Before Pulling Knot Tight
Before you synch a knot tight, put it in your mouth to lubricate the leader. This will make the knot tighter than if it were dry and also smaller. A small knot will make sure fish aren’t spooked and also helps to prevent abrasion when fishing structure or heavy cover.
3 Conduct a Strength Test
Test the breaking strength of your knot by wrapping each end of line around a wooden dowel and pulling hard. If your knot looks warped or asymmetrical it likely has a weak spot and should be retied. The wrong weight rating, a tiny knick in the link, or a weird twist can all lead to poor knot integrity and, sadly, lost fish.
4 Trust Your Gut
If you’ve followed all the tips above and the knot still doesn’t seem quite right, just cut it off and retie it. Untold fish and lures have been lost by anglers who didn’t retie out of laziness or a lack of trust in their own instincts. Whenever those spidey senses start tingling, it’s always worth the time to cut the knot off and try again.
Learn how to tie these essential fishing knots and land your fish every time. | Feature photo: Cottonbro/Pexels