After guiding schools of fishing clients, I was amazed by how many fishing experts and newbies can’t tie a proper knot. Clean and strong knots are a must if you actually plan to catch a fish. There are a ton of great books and videos that will assist you. Practice makes perfect.
Here are some important tips that will help you break off fewer fish. When I teach knot tying, I start with colored cords and a large fake hook. A pair of scissors can also make for a good “hook eye.” Men especially need to see the knot come together in order to understand it. It’s our A.D.D. thing. Regular fishing line is hard to see and too fine to learn with. Gradually shift from the cord to smaller pound test lines as you practice. Saliva is a great way to add traction and control to your fingers.
Here’s how to tie the most common “Clinch Knot:”
- Thread the cord through the large hook eye or thumb hole on your scissors. Give yourself a few extra inches.
- Wrap the cord around itself seven times plus once for good luck.
- Thread the cord end back through the loop you created just above the hook eye.
- When using real fishing line, lick the knot before pulling it tight. Friction creates heat which weakens line.
- Always use sharp clippers, not your teeth, to cut off the excess tag end. I leave a little end hanging out.
- Test your knot strength and inspect. If it doesn’t look or feel right, tie it again.
If vision is an issue, use “cheaters” or some type of magnifying light to help. There are a ton of great products on the market. In low light or darkness, I use a red light to see what I am doing. This way I don’t ruin my night vision or scare the fish away.
Always check your line and knots for wind knots, abrasions or nicks. If you suspect a problem, re-tie your knot or get rid of the damaged line. If you don’t, I guarantee the next bite and break off will be from Moby Dick!