I have been fishing for more than 30 years and have used many knots along the way. There are so many knots out there that selecting the right knot for you can be a little tricky. My intention with this article is to give you a little helpful information to walk you through the knots that I like and you may find helpful in your fishing journey.
One of the most important aspects of fishing is to understand the basic terminology associated with the activity you are trying to learn. Here are a couple terms that I believe are necessary for you to understand:
- Main Line is the line that is spooled onto your reel.
- Leader Line is the line attached to your mainline, primarily used to reduce visibility to your terminal tackle or lure. It is usually going to be made of a material other than your main line.
- Tag End is the very end of a line.
- Mono is short for monofilament, which is a material that has a good amount of stretch to it with low visibility and is used as either main line or leader line depending on your application. Mono is one of the most affordable lines you can buy.
- Fluoro is short for fluorocarbon, which is a high strength line with low visibility that does not have much stretch and can be used as main line or leader line. It is more expensive and can be used as main line but is primarily used as leader line.
- Braid is short for Braided fishing line which consists of a lot of small strings braided together that create a high strength narrow diameter fishing line. It is primarily used as main line and has little to no stretch and very high strength at smaller diameters than either Fluoro or Mono.
I grew up using mono as my mainline for decades before making the transition to braid. Very early on I learned and used the improved clinch knot in almost every application, whether it was tying on lures or other terminal tackle and I rarely used any type of leader line. I got away with this primarily because I was locked into one type of fishing and didn’t need any other options to have a good time.
As my fishing targets changed, I needed to switch from mono to braid as my main line, which in turn created a knot tying problem. I was losing lures due to my knot slipping, and I was unable to properly connect Fluoro leader line to my braided main line. The improved clinch knot that I relied on so heavily as a kid was failing me and I needed to up my game as I was tired of being limited by my knot tying ignorance.
I have used a great number of resources to better my knot selection and understanding over the years, however one of my best resources is one of my best friends, Mr. Shane Riley. Several years ago, I took him, his friend Ross, and my son Austin out to the 10,000 Islands area to see what we could find. We struck out on the snook and tarpon but we did manage to land a trout or two. Austin also caught a hardhead on a soft plastic and we had a good laugh at that. This trip turned out to be critical in my betterment of my knot tying game.
It just so happened that Shane decided to switch out his lure and I was not actively fishing at the moment. I was watching him tie on his lure and noticed that he was using a foreign technique. When I asked him which knot he was using, he replied, “Uni to Uni for the leader and Uni to the lure.” I was intrigued at the simplicity of this knot and asked him to demonstrate. He and Ross got into a lively and entertaining discussion on the virtues of four turns versus five turns and we had a great laugh but the most important thing I took away was the fact that there is a new knot that I needed to learn.
I immediately headed to YouTube University and did some research only to discover that there are a ton of videos explaining how to tie this basic knot. I am so impressed by the versatility and functionality of the uni knot that I made a tutorial video to share, though I have to say Shane made this one that I like better than my own. I also went to my very large fishing supply store and picked up a knot tying book that was greatly helpful.
After all my research in the YouTube University, I settled on three knots to have as my primary go-to knots and I have my book of knots for special circumstances should they arise.
The Uni Knot
This is my primary all purpose knot that I use in almost every circumstance when I’m not overly concerned about line size or lure action. This knot is used to tie any type of main line to any type of leader and I use it to attach any type of lure to any type of main line or leader line. It’s easy, strong and wont slip when braid is the mainline.
The FG Knot
This knot was recommended to me by Michael Cole who lives down the road from me and fishes the Chokoloskee area quite a bit. I needed something a little more robust that allowed the main and leader line connection to flow through the eyelets a little cleaner. The FG knot is one of the best mainline to leader connections I’ve ever used, however it is a bit complicated and takes practice to become proficient. It is the smallest diameter knot you can have and when tied right, is dang near indestructible.
The Loop Knot
This is the third knot in my inventory and I primarily use this knot to tie on a lure that I need to have a lot of wiggle action. This knot is exclusive to the lure connection and is never employed in any other application.
What Knot to Like?
These are the knots that I have in my arsenal and I hope this helps you on your fishing journey. If you are a beginner and want to improve your chances of catching fish, you need to practice the basics. Learn to tie these knots until you can tie them in your sleep and you will have a much easier time on the water when you need to retie or change out lures on the fly. You can shortcut the trial and error in experimenting with all the different types of knots, but there is no shortcutting the time that must be spent practicing to tie these knots proficiently. I would recommend you learn the Uni knot first, the Loop Knot second, then the FG knot last as it is the most complicated. After you learn them, practice, practice, practice.
I hope this little article helps you gain some insight that helps you catch more fish. As always, take a kid fishing, and support your local bait shops! Thank you very much for your time and I hope you have Another Fine Day Full of Fun and Adventure.
Captain Matt Webber