By Rusty Chinnis
sun staff writer
It seems that the fine art of tying knots has been relegated
to a place where hooks gather rust and cobwebs fill the
holes of dusty guides. Its true that you dont
need a book of knots to tie on a lure and catch a fish,
but its an art that can improve the likelihood of
landing the fish of a lifetime. And even if that lunker
doesnt appear for awhile, you can impress the hell
out of your friends and colleagues in the meantime.
It wasnt long ago that I dusted off my copy of Practical
Fishing Knots II, Mark Sosin and Lefty Kreh, sat
down with the tome of twisted line, and began to practice
some of the more respected knots. Sure, I could tie several
knots, but it seemed that my repertoire had been reduced
to only a couple.
Once I decided to expand my knot knowledge, it didnt
take long to master a number of important knots. It was
amazing what I learned in an hour with a book, a pair
of clippers and a spare spool of line. A short article
isnt the place to instruct you on how to tie these
knots, but hopefully, it will help to inspire you to take
the time to explore knot tying.
Here are a couple of the knots that youll find useful
in rigging for fishing in the Gulf or the bay. The Bimini
Twist is one of the most important knots you can learn.
It takes some time to master, but it can be used as a
foundation for all saltwater leader systems. The Bimini
allows you to double your standing line into a loop, creates
100 percent knot strength and acts as a shock between
small line and heavier leader.
The Surgeons Knot can be used to tie your leader
(under 60 pounds) to the Bimini Twist. This is the knot
to use when tying two lines of dissimilar diameters together
in the dark. It really just an overhand knot tied
with two (treat the double Bimini as one line) strands
of line. One knot that I avoided for years, but recently
mastered, is the Blood Knot. Preferred by most Keys guides
for building leaders, this knot has a slim profile that
easily slips through the guides of a fly rod.
The final step is to tie a hook or lure to the leader.
The Non-Slip Mono Loop is my choice for several reasons
its easy to tie, tests near 100 percent,
and forms a loop that gives bait and lures more range
of motion. The knot has a couple of other advantages.
It wont tighten when a fish is hooked, and the tag
end comes out facing away from the standing line which
keeps it from picking up weeds or other debris.
With just these three knots, you can rig effectively for
most fishing situations. One of the other knots youll
find helpful is the Albright Special. This is the knot
to tie when youre rigging for Spanish mackerel or
tarpon. It allows you to tie mono to wire without a swivel
and lets you join 20-pound line to a 100-pound leader.
There are a few rules that will help you tie reliable
knots no matter which ones you choose to use. First, make
sure you give yourself plenty of line to make the knot.
You use less line in the long run and learning will be
a lot less frustrating.
Secondly and probably most importantly, wet your knots
and tighten them firmly. Make sure they wont slip
when a fish tightens the line. Its been proven that
most knots fail when they slip. Use a pair of pliers on
the tag eng and have a loop where you can place the hook
when finalizing the knot. Follow these rules, tie the
knots that work for you, and youll lose less fish
and gain bragging rights!