FISHING KNOTS – FISHING CAIRNS
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There is one small hitch encountered by many first time knot-tiers. Their expert instructors seem to assume that their fellow fishermen are familiar with the Surgeon’s Knot, the Bimini Twist and the like. But long before I moved into the field of knot-tying, I was content to join a line-to-swivel, swivel-to-trace and trace-to-hook via a Simple Loop Knot, where the loop is made only perhaps 25mm long – just long enough to pass over the hook and swivel.
The Loop Knot can be tied readily in the dark, and equally readily attached to swivel and hook. If fishing for flathead, you may have more confidence in your gear if the loop to the hook is made about 12.5cm long, thus taking the fish on a doubled trace.
As experience is gained, you may wish to move on from the Loop Knot to knots that lie closer to hook and swivel.
One of these is the Half Blood Knot, which is more correctly half of the Barrel Knot. THIS KNOT WILL SLIP. It has cost me more fish than I want to remember.
If you must use it, then you have two choices:
a) Stop the end of the line with a simple Overhand Knot, and draw it against the turns of the knot.
b) or make the Half Blood Knot into a Clinch Knot.
The following illustrations are fairly well all-purpose, but for tropical waters we strongly suggest that a 35-45lb mono leader be used prior to attaching a lure. If you are going after fish like mackerel, it is also a good idea to use black wire and swivels.
- Pass the line through the eye of the hook, or swivel.
- Double back. make five turns around the line.
- Pass the end of the line through the first loop, above the eye, and then through the large loop. Draw the knot into shape.
- Slide the coils down tight against the eye.
Jansik Special Another beautifully simple knot that can be tied in the dark, The Jansik Special is a high strength knot tied as follows:
- Put 15cm of line through the eye of the hook.
- Bring it around in a circle and put the end through again.
- Making a second circle, pass the end through a third time.
- Holding the three circles of line against each other, wrap the end three times around the circles.
- Either hold the hook steady with pliers, or make it fast to boat’s rigging or safety lines.
- Holding strain on the hook, pull on both ends of the line to tighten.
Palomar Knot The Palomar Knot is another very simple knot for terminal tackle. It is regarded by the International Game Fish Association consistently as the strongest knot known. It’s great virtue is that it can safely be tied at night with a minimum of practice.
- Double about 12.5cm of line, and pass through the eye.
- Tie a simple Overhand Knot in the doubled line, letting the hook hang loose. Avoid twisting the lines.
- Pull the end of loop down, passing it completely over the hook.
- Pull both ends of the line to draw up the knot.
There are at least 6 variations of the Hangman’s Knot, – all of them excellent for terminal tackle, swivels and hooks. The “standard” Hangman’s Knot holds only five turns when tied in monofilament nylon. If tied in rope, and used for its stated purpose, it takes eight turns.
- Pass a 15cm loop of line through the eye.
- Bring the end back on itself, passing it under the doubled part.
- Make five loops over the doubled part.
- The formed knot is worked into shape.
- The knot is sent down the line, against the eye of the hook or swivel.
This is a much simpler variant. In all likelihood, this is Grant’s Uni-Knot. I have used it for more than fifty years and it has never failed me, whether tied in 1kg or 50kg monofilament. It was taught to me by the late Wally Kerr, a top flathead fisherman.
- Pass a 15cm loop of line through the eye.
- Lock the upper part between thumb and forefinger, making a loop.
- Make two more loops over the double part, holding them too, between thumb and forefinger.
- Pass the end through the two loops just made, plus the first loop made in step2.
- The formed knot can now be drawn into shape, and worked down against the eye of the hook or swivel.
Snelling A Hook
One small problem is the variety of names that may be applied to the one knot, for example, a Granny is a False Knot, a Clove Hitch is a Waterman’s Knot, an Overhand Knot is a Thumb Knot. But when we come to snelling a hook, the length of nylon attached to the hook may be a snell or a snood.
I now find that the actual job of tying the snood may be called snoozing, while snelling is often jealously thought of as an art restricted to the fly fisherman. I have fished with bottom-fisherman on the Great Barrier Reef who routinely snell their hooks.
Restricted to lines of breaking strength less than about 20kg, the process is a simple one.
- Pass the end of the line, trace or tippet through the eye twice, leaving a loop hanging below the hook.
- Hold both lines along the shank of the hook.
- Use the loop to wind tight coils around the shank and both lines, from the eye upwards. Use from 5 to 10 turns.
- Use the fingers to hold these tight coils in place. Pull the line (extending from the eye) until the whole loop has passed under these tight coils.
- With coils drawn up, use pliers to pull up the end of the line.
Joining Line To Line
There are two top grade knots used to join one line to another, where these are approximately of the same thickness. These are the Blood Knot and the Hangman’s Knot – also called the Uni Knot by the International Game Fish Association.
Where there diameters are very dissimilar, either the Surgeon’s Knot should be used, or the thinner line should be doubled where the knot is formed.
- Lie the ends of the two lines against each other, overlapping about 15cm.
- Take 5 turns around one line with the end of the other, and bring the end back where it’s held between the two lines.
- Repeat by taking 5 turns around the other line, bringing the end back between the two lines. These two ends should then project in opposite directions.
- Work the knot up into loops, taking care that the two ends do not slip out of position.
- Draw the knot up tightly.
Uni-Knot Version Of The Hangman’s Knot
A better join can be made using one of the Hangman’s Knots, known to the International Game Fish Association fisherman as the Uni-Knot.
This is a knot used for attaching the line to the spool of the reel.
- Overlap the two lines for about 15cm.
- Using one end, form a circle that overlies both lines.
- Pass the end six times around the two lines.
- Pull the end tight to draw the knot up into shape.
- Repeat the process using the end of the other line.
- Pull both lines to slide the two knots together.
Earlier mention was made that if the two lines to be joined vary greatly in their diameters, the lesser line may be doubled at the knot, or the Surgeon’s Knot may be used. In the latter case, it will probably be necessary to have one of the lines rolled on a spool, or perhaps wrapped on a temporary card, so that it may be passed through the loop.
- Lay the two lines against each other, overlapping about 22.5 cm.
- Working the two lines as one, tie an Overhand Knot. It will be necessary to pull one line (say the leader) completely through this loop.
- Pull the leader through this loop again.
- Pass the other end through the loop.
- The formed knot can now be worked into shape.
The offshore fisherman often have a need to tie a double line – a long loop of line that is obviously stronger, and easier to handle, than the line itself. In accordance with International Game Fish Association Rules, the double line may be up to 4.5m long in lines up to 10kg, and as much as 9m in heavier lines.
The double may be tied by means of the simple Spider Hitch with lines to 15kg. The big game boys use the Bimini Twist, a double that is normally formed by two people who make the intitial twenty twists. The Bimini is obviously beyond the scope of this little book. It’s smaller brother, the Spider Hitch, is a much faster and easier knot for the light tackle fisherman.
- Form a loop of the desired length, say 1.25m.
- Twist a section into a small loop.
- This is the only tricky part – hold this loop with thumb and forefinger, the thumb extending above the finger, and with the loop standing up beyond the tip of the thumb.
- Wind the doubled line around the thumb and the loop 5 times.
- Send the rest of the long loop through the small loop, and pull gently to unwind the turns off the thumb.
- The knot is now formed and worked into tight coils.
Offshore Swivel Knot
This is a special knot used for attaching a swivel to a double line.
- Put the end of the double line through the eye of the swivel.
- Rotate the end half a turn, putting a single twist between the end of the loop and the swivel eye.
- Pass the loop with the twist over the swivel. Hold the end of the loop, together with the double, with one hand, and allow the swivel to slide to the end of the double loops that have formed.
- Continue holding the loop and the lines with the right hand. Use the left hand to rotate the swivel through both loops 6 times or more.
- Keep pressure on both parts of the double line. Release the loop. Pull on the swivel and loops of line will start to form.
- Holding the swivel with pliers, or (better still) attaching it with a short length of line to the rigging, push the loop down towards the eye while keeping pressure on the double line.
Surgeons End Loop
Loops are made for the purpose of attaching leaders, traces or other terminal tackle. They have the advantage that they can be tied quickly and in the dark.
The Surgeon’s End Loop is an easy way to go.
- Take the end of the line and double it to form a loop of the required size.
- Tie an Overhand Knot at the desired point, leaving the loop open.
- Bring the doubled line through the loop again.
- Hold the line and the end part together, and pull the loop to form a knot.
Blood Bight Knot
Another end loop can be tied quickly and easily using the Blood Bight Knot.
- Double the line back to make a loop of the size desired.
- Bring the end of the loop twice over the doubled part.
- Now pass the end of the loop through the first loop formed in the doubled part.
- Draw the knot up into shape, keeping pressure on both lines.
The Blood Bight Knot is often used for attaching a dropper when fishing deep water with several hooks.
Some anglers attached the hook directly to the end of the loop, which should be at least 30cm from the end of the line.
This is not a good practice, especially when the fish are shy. Far better to attach a single strand of nylon to a short Blood Bight Knot, using another Blood Bight Knot, or a Surgeon’s Knot.
A better method of forming a loop, or loops, in the line above the sinker is to use the old Dropper Loop. This draws into a knot that stands out at right angles to the line.
If desired, the loops can be made long enough to have a hook set on them. And once again, this is not a good practice unless the fish are biting-mad, which they rarely are.
- Form a loop in the line.
- Take hold of one side of the loop, and make 6 or more turns around the line itself.
- This is the tricky part – keep open the point where the turns, or twists, are being made.
- Take hold of the other side of the loop, and pull it through the centre opening. use a finger in this loop so that it is not lost.
- Hold this loop between the teeth. Pull gently on both ends of the line, making the turns gather and pack down on either side of the loop.
- Draw up the knot by pulling the lines as tightly as possible. The turns will make the loop stand at right angles to the line.
Tucked Sheet Bend
Usually employed by the fly fisherman, the Tucked Sheet Bend is commonly used for joining the backing line to the tapered line. It is not an especially compact knot, but has a very strong attachment which cannot be said for the more aesthetically pleasing Perfection Loop.
- Make a Blood Bight (see above) at the end of the backing line.
- Take the end of the tapered line. Pass it through the Blood Bightand make a simple Sheet Bend.
- Now pass the end of the tapered line back through the closed loop of the Sheet Bend.
- Hold both ends of the tapered line to tighten and draw into shape.
The float fisherman uses a running float for casting and general handiness, and stops the float from running up the line by using the Float Stop. It has the advantage that the stops moves readily over the rod guides, but grips the monofilament nylon so tightly that it will not slide over the line.
It should be made with about 12.5cm of nylon, usually the same diameter as the line itself.
- Take 2 turns (3 if necessary) around the main line at the chosen point.
- Bring both ends around to form a Surgeon’s Knot (see above).
- Tighten into shape bringing the coils close together.
I have included the still-used Turle Knot for old times sake. Also known as the Major Turle’s Knot, it is simplicity itself to tie, but is one of the weakest knots.
It should never be used for light lines, and there are better knots for use with heavy ones.
- Pass the line through the eye of the hook.
- Make a simple loop.
- Carry the end of the line on to make a Simple Overhand Knot upon the loop.
- Pass the loop over the hook.
- Draw up into shape.
Double Turle Knot
Tied in monofilament nylon, the Turle Knot may slip unless another Simple Overhand Knot is made at the end of the line where it leaves the Turle Knot.
It is improved substantially by using the Double Turle Knot.
- Pass the line through the eye of the hook or swivel.
- Make two simple loops, and carry the line on to make a Simple Overhand Knot around both loops.
- Pass both of these loops over the hook or swivel.
- Pull on both parts of the line to draw the knot up into shape against the eye of the hook or swivel.
This document is Chapter 1 of Grant’s Guide – Fishing Knots & Rigs by Ern Grant, and is reproduced with the permission of Herron Publications Pty Ltd, Fortitude Valley, Queensland. Ph: (07) 3257 1711 Fax: (07) 3257 1686