Fishing knots

Because the conditions on a river bank may not be ideal, it is important that fishermen thoroughly master the art of tying a variety of knots before they set out. Knots must be tied securely and correctly if they are to be of any use, and wet and windy weather or poor light are not the ideal conditions in which to attempt to tie a knot for the first time. Practise tying the knots that are described on the pages that follow until you are confident that you can tie them accurately and quickly - then you are ready to tie them on the river bank.



The knots used in fishing are different from those used by mariners, climbers and campers because they are tied in fine monofilament, and the very nature of monofilament means that once fastened, these knots cannot usually be untied. Each knot that a fisherman uses performs a different function, and it is possible that as many as eight knots at a time may be required. A knot may be used to join two lengths of fishing line, it may join a line to a leader, or it may attach a lure, hook sinker or swivel to a line, for example, and a knot that is perfect for one task will not necessarily serve another purpose.

When you work with monofilament you will find that moistening the line by dipping it in water or lubricating it with saliva will help you to draw it up smoothly and bed it down tightly. You will also find that a pair of pliers is essential when you are using one of the heavier monofilament lines. It is almost impossible to draw a line really tight with your bare hands. Resist the temptation to add a lubricant such as silicone to help draw the knot tight: the lubricant will remain in the knot and will add to the chances of the knot slipping while the line is in use.

The finer the gauge of line you use to tie a knot, the easier it is to draw it up tight and seat it securely. The diameter of the line may also influence the kind of knot you tie, for some knots that work well with fine monofilament cannot be drawn up tight when they are tied in heavier gauge line. Remember that when you tie two lengths of monofilament together, the knot will be more secure if the lines are made by the same manufacturer. This is the case even if you are tying together lines of different diameters. Different manufacturers produce lines that differ in the degree of stiffness, and this can affect the success of the knot.

Once the knot is firmly seated, it should be trimmed. Do not try to burn the tag end as you will only weaken the knot. Use a pair of nail clippers, scissors or cutting pliers or a pair of purpose-made cutters to trim the end at an angle of 45 degrees so close to the knot that the end does not protrude. It is important the tag end does not extend; if it does, it might catch on the hook or get caught up in weeds.

You will find that some knots can withstand a considerable strain that is consistently applied while they fail when they are subjected to a sudden jerk. You can test the characteristics of different knots for yourself by asking a friend to hold the ends of some lengths of line while you pull on the other ends. Wear gloves to protect your hands when you do this.

Most fishing tine, known as monofilament, is made of nylon because it is touyh and flexible. It comes in breaking strains of 8 ounces up to 100 pounds for very strong lines used in deep-sea big-game fishing.

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