How might a triple surgeon's knot be compromised?

Lamarsh

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I started using a triple surgeon's knot to patch in a piece of tippet for a dropper fly on a euro nymphing setup. I have found it to be much easier to use for tying these euro nymphing setups than other knots.

I was euro nymphing for steelhead yesterday and an incredibly nice fish grabbed my egg on that dropper piece tied in with a triple surgeons, and the knot broke right off right at the triple surgeon's knot. All I got was the feel of the tug, and got a glimpse of the fish, but did not have it on for any time at all, the knot just failed immediately. It was a fresh knot, tied with well kept and brand new Cortland Ultra Premium 4x fluoro.

The triple surgeon's knot is so simple to tie, I just can't figure out how I could have tied it in a way that compromised it for this to happen. Just curious if anybody knows any pitfalls when it comes to tying this knot? Scratching my head here.
 

jayr

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Flouro or mono?

Saw the flouro, flouro and knots sometimes break for me at least. With various tippets, flouro again, I have found weak spots.

Could it also have been improperly stored? I have seen some fly shops that store tippet right in direct sunlight:mad:
 

Meuniere

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I use the triple surgeon's knot quite a bit, and one thing I do know is you have to wet it when you're drawing it down if you want a tightly seated knot. Also (I am older and my vision isn't perfect), sometimes I find that instead of having tied a "triple," I have a "2.5" where either the tag end or the tippet end wasn't passed through. But I also use mostly mono.
 

flafly14

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S&S turned me on to the ligature knot instead of the surgeon's. I tested and sure enough, it was definitely stronger.

But how might a surgeon's get compromised? I think there is a lot of room in a surgeon's for line to get crossed over itself improperly when forming the knot up and cinching it down. It just doesn't feel like it's real clean and consistent because of the way you have to tighten all four pieces. And if you don't get that done right, then one piece will slip down into the knot more that the other.
 

flav

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I've used surgeon's knots in mono and flouro for years with no issues. I don't think that's a knot issue, it's probably the fact you're using 4X for steelhead. That's the lightest tippet I use nymphing for trout, for steelhead I go with 0X or stronger. Light tippet, a short line, and a powerful fish are a recipe for knot failure.
 

ddb

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What rod were you using for euro nymphing? A really stiff-tipped graphite of 6lbs or stronger would put a lit of strain on 4x tippet when short lining nymphs to wild steelies. That's a recipe for quick releases.
 

sweetandsalt

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I like the Surgeons for forming loops but never for tippets. Also, Flouro to Nylon does not work, one bites the other. I hate nymphing with egg flies for steelhead but when I have done it (ich) I tied a swivel in with Trileen Knots for tippet/dropper.
 

Lamarsh

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Could it also have been improperly stored?
I do not think so, it is pretty new, and I've used it a lot over the past few months and it is otherwise been fine.
I use the triple surgeon's knot quite a bit, and one thing I do know is you have to wet it when you're drawing it down if you want a tightly seated knot. Also (I am older and my vision isn't perfect), sometimes I find that instead of having tied a "triple," I have a "2.5" where either the tag end or the tippet end wasn't passed through. But I also use mostly mono.
I wetted it, but your 2.5 theory is distinctly possible. Great thought

I've used surgeon's knots in mono and flouro for years with no issues. I don't think that's a knot issue, it's probably the fact you're using 4X for steelhead. That's the lightest tippet I use nymphing for trout, for steelhead I go with 0X or stronger. Light tippet, a short line, and a powerful fish are a recipe for knot failure.
I find flouro needs a good tug to set the knot correctly, instead of the slow pull. I also agree with flav, 4x is light for steelhead...
I don't think it was that, because, while 4x is usually a bit light on most steelhead rigs, it is not too light for the rod I was using, which was an 11' T&T Contact II 6wt. It's a euro nymphing rod, so the tip is very soft. The knot broke almost instantly where the two tippets meet. 4x is definitely pushing it with steelhead, but this material I was using is 8.4lb, and I have definitely held them with it and not had it broke like this. I am fairly certain the knot was compromised somehow and this wasn't just a poor tippet selection.

What rod were you using for euro nymphing? A really stiff-tipped graphite of 6lbs or stronger would put a lit of strain on 4x tippet when short lining nymphs to wild steelies. That's a recipe for quick releases.
11' T&T Contact II 6wt. It's designed for euro nymphing , and the tip is quire soft. One of the main reasons I got the rod was to be able to use with lighter tippets (and better sensitivity tight lining, of course).

Also, Flouro to Nylon does not work, one bites the other.
This was fluoro to fluoro.
 

trev

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I've worked with surgeons for 35 years and have never seen one of them tie a triple surgeon's knot.
When I was a lot younger the knot in question would have been an overhand knot, double overhand, triple overhand knot. I still call it that.
I seriously doubt that a surgeon ever needs a "join knot". Internet/mass communication/modern times has changed the names of several knots and the meanings of many words. Uni knot used to be a Duncan knot, perfection loop was a "central draft loop" when I learned it. A "surgeons knot" as I learned it is used to wrap packages, bind a roast, tie boots etc. it starts like a reef knot. I read recently that using "double" when referring to a "surgeons" knot is redundant because the double is what makes an overhand knot a "surgeons" knot.

Knots that slip fail, the curlicue end is the indication of slippage. Breakage next to the knot is likely from friction heat/stress caused in tightening the knot, I think.
That said, I've had more knot failures with fluorocarbon than with nylon and more failures with limp monofilament than with stiff monofilament.
 

LePetomane

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When I was a lot younger the knot in question would have been an overhand knot, double overhand, triple overhand knot. I still call it that.
That is what I call it. What's funny is that as a medical student on a surgery rotation the attending surgeon taught that a square knot was the best for skin closure because it didn't slip. I don't recall a surgeon ever using the term, surgeon's knot.
 

old timer

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I'm not saying this is your problem but just something to think about.

I've been asked from time to time about a failing knot from a friend. I ask them to tie the knot while I watch. The majority of the time they wet the knot and pull it tight real fast. Pulling it tight fast creates heat. That's critical with flouro. Pull the knot tight slowly with flouro and mono.
 

LOC

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The triple surgeon's knot is so simple to tie, I just can't figure out how I could have tied it in a way that compromised it for this to happen. Just curious if anybody knows any pitfalls when it comes to tying this knot? Scratching my head here.
Try recreating the knot and testing for yourself but here's the catch.

Your going to tie the knot a few different ways.
Start off by tying it correctly and then go through and tie it breaking all the rules mentioned here.
Tie it without wetting, tie it 2.5, tie it cinching it down quickly and do a version where the strands are all crossed up and tightened down unevenly.

You don't need a scale, just tie one end to something secure and then the other to a pipe or ect and then slowly pull evenly with both hands similar to a rowing position.
Once you tie it correctly and feel what the breaking point is (it should be pretty consistent). It will be pretty easy to tell when it breaks prematurely without adding a scale.

For the last test tie a double surgeons to a triple surgeons knot and see which one is stronger.

Where some gloves and a long sleeve shirt if you don't want your hands/arms to get possibly stung by the breaking knot....
Ok good luck and sorry you lost a nice one.
 
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flav

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In my experience, the triple is no stronger than the double and more difficult to tie as well.
That alone makes it subject to failure.
Any knot where you don't seat each turn tight will slip, and knots that slip break.
Very true. I just can't get the triple to seat properly most of the time, so I've always used the double surgeons.
 

old timer

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The same can be said of the improved clinch knot. It's stronger than the regular clinch knot but if the improved clinch isn't tied right it can end up weaker. The improved knot pulls tight harder than the clinch and needs to be done slowly.
 

sweetandsalt

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trev calls this knot an "Overhand Knot" which it is with two pass throughs. An overhand knot is what many call a "wind knot", I call that a casting knot. Such knots without coils bite into the material significantly weakening it. I call the double a Surgeons Knot because that is the common parlance and words are for communication and mutual understanding. For leader construction Blood Knots are the general consensus and are stronger , straighter and more elegant than the inferior Surgeons Knot. True, a little more complex to tie but so what, did anyone take up fly fishing because it is easy? Knot craft is a fundamental perquisite for fly fishing so it makes sense to practice it and become knowledgeable. And every knot I tie of any kind I test by trying to break it with appropriate force. Better me than a fish.
 
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