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A proper knot saves fishing day

December 26, 2009

So many times I'm confronted with the "K" question, especially after a client loses a nice fish to knot failure.

I would estimate that 90 percent of all anglers use that one knot they learned a million years ago from Uncle Fred the first couple of times he took them fishing. Obvious-ly, "the knot" is a key component in getting the fish to the boat and there are as many variations as one can imagine.

A good rule of thumb for the beginner is to master at least three modern knots and the proper applications for them.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

Use the easy-to-tie arbor knot to tie the line to your spool. This knot provides a nonslip grip on the spool. When using slippery braided lines I first attach 25 yards of mono to the spool, and then attach the braid to the mono with a back-to-back uni-knot.

Use the palomar, uni, eye crosser, and the old standard improved clinch knot to attach hooks and other terminal tackle to your line. For hooks that have an offset eye I like to use a snell knot. For braid do not use the improved clinch knot, and for thicker mono lines the improved clinch is a poor choice. I have become a big fan of the uni-knot, especially since I am a braided line user.

Use the blood knot and back-to-back uni-knot to join lines together. To join a mono leader to braided line or mono I like the back-to-back uni-knot. To join together mono lines with a difference in diameters, such as adding a piece of 80-pound shock tippet to a 40-pound test main line, or joining a piece of wire leader to a main line; use the Albright knot.

This time of year when Spanish mackerel and kingfish are here, learning the Albright knot is key to adding wire to mono or braided lines. Fly fishermen that build sectional leaders generally use the blood knot, but I've found the back-to-back uni works as well.

Most useful knots

Use the perfection loop, Rapala knot, or nonslip loop knot (Kreah loop) to attach your lures to the leader or main line to allow more action, especially for hard plastic crank baits, top water, jigs, and flies. Attaching a lure using a loop knot lets the lure fully work for you. To dampen the action of a lure use a nonloop knot like an improved clinch knot or uni-knot.

Use the bimini twist or spider hitch to create a doubled line. The bimini is the superior knot. Using the bimini makes a doubled line with a loop in the end. Learning to tie the bimini is difficult at first, but worth the effort.

Use the baja knot to attach hooks to heavy mono lines.

There still are many knots not discussed here, but these will fill 100 percent of your fishing needs.

With any knot, tying it properly is the key. Always moisten your lines before cinching down the knot. A great online knot reference can be found at

All knots discussed in this article are shown in an animated form which is a great way to learn difficult knots. This great site also shows all the popular boating knots as well as offering a folding, plastic, waterproof knot guide to keep in your boat.

The last few weeks I have discussed inshore bay and flats skiffs with an eye toward economy. One more company that comes to mind is Pro-Line. They now make an economy version of their boats called Pro-Lites that are priced right and still offer good value along with a 10-year hull warranty.

Boat and motor packages start under $17,000 for a roomy 18-foot flats skiff with a 90hp motor.

Happy Holidays! Good fishing to you and yours.

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at, or Flying Fins Sportfishing.



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