How to Tie Fishing Knots

Fishing Knots Can Make Or Break A Fishing Trip

By Bob Ives

No, the fishing knots we are going to cover here aren't those bird's nest looking tangles that happen to your reel after you make a bad cast. These are the kind that connect your fishing line to your reel, another line, and the hook. The latter is important because fish don't usually bring a hook with them. Then again, there's been times I've caught them with a hook already lodged in their mouth. I couldn't help but look further down the throat to see what might have happened to the fisherman.

When I was a kid, my buddies and I used granny knots, which aren't very secure for fishing. A granny knot will hold something in place that doesn't wiggle a lot, like a fish, but for angling there is too much slippage; just like on parts of granny (maybe that's how it got the name).

Later, I learned how to tie a fishing knot called the improved clinch knot. This one works well if you remember to tie it right. I say that because on one of my fishing trips, the knot failed me; or rather, I failed the knot. Let me explain.

First, let's clarify what the 'tag end' of the line is. The 'tag end' is the short end of the line left over after you run the line through the eye of the hook and that will be left over after you have tied the knot. The knot is tied by running the line through the eye of the hook, coming back over the eye with the tag end, and twisting it around the line 5 or 6 times. Then you take the tag end and run it through the loop that was created next to the eye below the twisted line and bring it back around through the loop that was created at the side of the twisted line as a result of running the line through the loop that was created next to the eye.

So, I go on this chartered saltwater fishing trip off the coast of Fraser Island and we were after tuna. The crew handed out the tackle, lines were in the water and delighted guests started pulling in tuna like crazy. I was so excited I was trembling. I just knew this was going to be the day I caught my biggest fish ever.

But, a big one hit my bait and broke my line. I had to put on a new hook and retie my knot. I hadn't been fishing for awhile, but I 'thought' I remembered how to tie the improved clinch knot. So, I retie my rig. It turns out I forgot a step: I didn't run the line though that last loop I described above. It felt like a secure knot, and it would have been fine for bream, but not for saltwater fishing.

Soon, I got bit by another big tuna and the fight was on. This was going to be great! What memories I'd have, right? Well, I have them, but not of catching a big tuna. What I remember is that I tied that fishing knot wrong, so I lost my fish.

I've haven't been saltwater fishing again, but if I go, I now know at least a couple fishing knots I can use to make sure I keep my catch. Even if you only go fishing once in awhile, take the time to learn at least one really good fishing not. It can make or break your next fishing trip.