It’s true that the weakest connection in any line or leader is a knot. However, it’s also true that experienced anglers rarely lose fish to knot failure.
Break-offs are a bummer.. Here are 6 tips to tying better, stronger knots.
- Lubricate EACH Step. Most anglers know that its always a good idea to lubricate your knots. Lubricating your knots reduces the friction (and thus heat) produced when tightening that can significantly weaken the leader material. However, most anglers simply moisten the knot with saliva just prior to tightening the knot. That’s better than nothing, but if you want the strongest knot possible, lubricate your knot throughout the entire process. In other words, after each twist or turn of the leader give the knot a quick lap of saliva or water, ensuring the surfaces under each wrap are lubricated. It may sound tedious, but the extra few seconds are better than the heart ache of a break-off.
- Tighten Slowly. A common mistake we see all the time is tightening knots too quickly. Tightening a knot with a quick jerk can cause part of the knot to lock up while not allowing the rest to seat properly, resulting in a weak knot. Furthermore, it can create a great amount of heat causing perfectly strong tippet to break, especially when connecting monofilament to harder materials like fluorocarbon. Always tighten your knots with slow, gradual pressure for the strongest knot possible.
- Re-Tie if Necessary. It’s usually pretty clear when a knot seats properly. Good knots look good. However, always re-tie when something doesn’t look right. A knot that doesn’t look clean is probably a weak knot, and therefore worth re-tying.
- Test Your Knots. Every time you tie a knot, give it a good yank before putting it to the test. No one ties perfect knots every time, and better you find a weak knot before a fish does.
- Wear Gloves with Heavy Mono. When working with heavy monofilament (think mono running lines, heavy butt-sections, shock-tippets and so on), try wearing gloves when tightening knots. Often times, the pressure required to truly snug up a knot in heavy mono is more than human hands can endure. Try wearing a simple pair of work gloves and you might be surprised at how much tighter your knots will seat.
- Practice. We’re often surprised at how many folks tell us they’ve just never been able to tie a blood knot. Our advice? Practice! The next time you’re watching TV, simply grab a cheap spool of mono and a pair of nippers and get cranking!