I've gotten into the habit of tying most of my on-the-water knots with hemostats. The two knots that I use most frequenty when at the stream are the double surgeon's loop (for leader to tippet) and the clinch knot (for tippet to fly).
Recently, I've gotten to the point where I've more or less convinced myself that I need to start using a tippet to fly knot that has more flexibility than the clinch knot; a knot that can give the fly better action in the water, based on offering a loop rather than a snugged down connection. So, I'm now using the Uni knot and; it could be my imagination, but it feels like I'm catching more fish with it.
I've got two question re: the Uni knot. First, does anyone know how to tie it with hemostats? I tried last night and was rewarded by loosing a nice fish within 10 seconds of the hook up. So, obviously, I'm doing it wrong; if it can be done at all. Second, on the Uni knots that I tie by hand, if I start out with a reasonable loop at the hook (maybe 1/4" loop), by the time I land the fish, it's snugged down against the hook; just like I was using a clinch knot. I can usually take my fingernails, pull back on the knot and create the loop again, but that doesn't give me much confidence in the knot when I cast out the next time. Any advice on tying/using the Uni knot? Thanks in advance.
Tying your fly on with a loop is a very good idea. It doesn't have to be a very big loop. I don't know any way to tie a Uni Knot with hemostats. Here are a couple of ideas for you to think about.
1. Get yourself a Tie-Fast tool. It makes a good knot that will slip like the Uni. It is quick and handy to use. It just hangs on your vest.
2. Go to this FAQ question and click on the Orvis link. It will take you to the Orvis Knot tying program. Look up the Non-Slip Mono Knot. This is a loop knot that is easy to tie and is very strong. You could also tie with a hemostat after you tie your over hand knot. It wont' slip so you don't have to worry about opening the loop after ever fish.
I forgot to add my thoughts about the slip knot failing after use. With the Uni or the Tie-Fast knot if you leave the tag end long enough that you can grasp it with your hemostats, you can re-tighten the knot after a fish. You might not get it as tight as it was originally but it may take out any slack that has been introduced.
I don't hear much talk about the "Davy Knot" (named after Davy Wooten, who most recently "re-invented" it). For those "uninitiated", Davy Wooten is a well-known master fly-fisher who invented this knot for use in fly fishing competitions where time changing out flies is at a premium. It appears to be a simpler version of the Orvis Knot (not Orvis Tippit Knot), pretty much equating to a "Double-Eight" Knot, and is reputed to be close (or at) 100% knot strength.
I just got back this afternoon from a business trip. I'll head to my local fly shop tomorrow morning and pick up one of the TieFast tools. I'd still like to figure out a way to tie the Uni knot with hemostats. I like knots like the clinch, Uni and bowline that tighten on themselves under pressure.
I'm an experimenter at heart, so I'll give it a try and will let you know if I can get it to work (without loosing fish at the tippet/hook connection). Actually, I think I've got it conceptualized, but it's going to eat up a lot of tippet; which probably means that I'm actually back at ground zero. More tomorrow.
Well, for those of you who like the Uni knot and tying flies on with hemostats; here's the result of the experiment. Long story short - you can tie a Uni knot with hemostats. Here's how:
1. Thread the eye as normal
2. Form the Uni knot loop and pinch against the tippet (keep the tag upright and out of the way (I'm right handed, so I pinch it between the middle and third fingers of my left hand)
3. Insert the hemostats into the loop (heading away from you)
4. Circle the hemostats clockwise as you would for a clinch knot - make five turns
5. Here's the important part: hook the tippet on your first clockwise turn and keep it hooked until you've completed all five turns
6. Reach up with the hemostats; open the jaws and grab the tag end of the tippet that you've held above the knot
7. Pull the tag end through the loop
8. Tighten the knot by pulling with the hemostats on the tag end
9. Slide the knot down to the desired loop size
10. Tighten the knot again by pulling on the tag end with the hemostats.
11. Cut the tag end to the desired length
That's it - and it works. I landed a 25' Rainbow this noontime and the knot held just fine.
Landing the fish snugged the knot up against the hook eye, but I just pulled it back again with my fingernails and it worked on my next fish, too. [For those of you who will want to resize your loop after hooking your first fish after tying on the fly, I suggest that you leave enough of the tag so that you can give it another pull with the hemostats (as Frank had suggested in his post)].
If you like the Uni knot, then here's a quick way to tie it and a particularly good way in cold weather.
I like a guy who experiments. I am not sure I understand every step (especially that middle and third finger thing) but I will play with it.
Did you get yourself one of the Tie-Fast tools? I think you will like that knot. It sounds to me that you would be better off with the Non-slip Mono knot. You can tie it with hemos and you don't have to keep adjusting your loop after a fish.
Yes, I picked up at TieFast tool today at my local shop and am having a look at the knot instructions tonight. I've also visited the Orvis link that you sent in your reply (thanks). I really would like a loop knot that doesn't slip. As you've picked up, I'm compensating for the slip characteristic of the Uni knot under tension.
All in all, I think I prefer the loop connection; rather than the snugged-up connection of the clinch, improved clinch, etc. It simply permits an additional degree of freedom for the fly on the water; another opportunity for it to behave more like the natural that it's attempting to imitate.