Alberto, trilene, san-diego jam, FG, albright, snell…no these are not the names of some 80’s hair metal bands, but a few of the limitless knot options that anglers have at their disposal to tie directly to a lure or main line to a leader. With all of these options available it can become confusing on what to use in certain situations and a lot of us tend to never venture past one or two go to knots. However I will tell you that certain knots will improve the way you fish and you can boil it down to 5 knots that cover just about any fishing situation…
The improved clinch knot is by far one that I use most often. It’s a knot that I have been familiar with for quite a long time and the only knot that I use when tying direct to lure with fluorocarbon or monofilament.
It doesn’t seem like a very involved knot to tie, but it becomes critical to tie it properly so that you don’t burn the line as you cinch down the knot. Once the knot is tied and you notice that the line is wavy above the knot, then you know you have burned and weakened the line. It’s always good to wet the line and guide the loops of the knot down to the eye of the hook as far as you can go before you cinch everything down. This will avoid weakening the knot and having to re-tie.
The palomar knot is one of the most popular and common knots out there, and for good reason! It essentially doubles the amount of line wrapped around the eye of the hook making it extremely strong. Some prefer this knot for monofilament, fluorocarbon and copolymer as well…but I personally use it only when using straight braid or tying on a dropshot rig.
In some cases if not tied properly with mono, fluoro, etc the line can tend to slip…something that I have avoided when tying the improved clinch knot. However for braid it is the perfect knot and I take it one step further and tie a double palomar knot to ensure that the line doesn’t slip. It’s also the easiest knot to tie to get a hook to stand perfectly perpendicular and get a tag end long enough to fish a dropshot rig. I’ve tried a uni knot in this case as well, but the palomar knot beats it hands down.
The uni knot falls into more of a rigging knot category than anything else for me. It’s the only knot I tie when tying line directly to the spool of a reel, and the only knot I tie when joining two lines together. It’s very simple and fast to tie and makes a pretty small and strong knot. Now you can easily put backing on your reel before you put on main line or add a leader to braid when you need to quickly.
The loop knot falls into a specialty knot category as it doesn’t get very much use, but it is extremely effective in certain situations. The situations I am talking about are when you are throwing topwater baits or jerkbaits. The loop gives the lure more freedom of movement allowing you to “walk the dog” much easier on walking baits and give you more side to side action on jerkbaits. If you have trouble currently walking a topwater bait I will guarantee that you will be able to now!
The snell knot is the last knot in my downsized arsenal and also falls into the category of a specialty knot. The only time I tie a snell knot is when I am using braid and I am specifically punching weed mats. I have seen the arguments for and against using a snell vs. a palomar knot and I believe the snell is the better knot for this technique solely because of the way the hook rotates on the hookset. As the weight pushes against the eye of the hook, the hook point pivots so that when the weight comes out of the mouth of the fish the hook has a different path ensuring that it penetrates the mouth of the fish. Some may disagree with this, but I have lost very few fish on a punch rig with a snell knot.
Even with the information given above it always takes some practice to learn how to tie a proper fishing knot. Always give the line a few tugs before you take the first cast and always check for scuffs, burrs or waviness in your line. Also make sure that you cut the tag end off of your knot and not the main line before you toss the lure back into the water (guilty of this…doh!)…1/8” of tag line is pretty common.