Knot Basics

dlionberger

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Hi, I am new to the forum and currently getting back into fly fishing after a long break. I started when I was about 10 or so but haven't really done it much in the past 15 years (30 now). Basically, I don't remember much from my early days of fly fishing.

One thing that I want to do before I get back out there is learn all of the basics to allow me to be completely independent. This means all the knots one would need for tying the fly on to tying the leader and the tippet, etc. Is there any books you would recommend to learn these or courses one could take in the Houston, Tx area?
 

Rip Tide

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Tying knots is a fundamental fly fishing skill that needs to be practised.
Maybe not as extensively as you'd practise casting, but even with a minimal amount of effort there should be no need to carry around instructional books or cards

Back when I got serious about fly fishing the salt, it was painfully obvious that my knot tying skills needed help.
So I put a spool of mono next to my TV chair and I practised my knots whenever I had a moment.
That's all you need. A few minutes at a time, a few times a week until you're comfortable.
And you don't have to memorize every knot in the book, just the ones that you'll need on the water.
Pick ones that you do well and stick to them.
A less than perfect knot that you tie well and have confidence in is always better than a "100%" knot that you can't get right.
 

duker

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Check out NetKnots.com--lots of knots, and animated videos that are very clear. They also have an app for those who take their phones/devices fishing, and sell those plastic cards.

+1 on using saliva/water/lip balm for lubricant, and practicing at home.

Scott
 

silver creek

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The most important thing is that we tie the knots we use consistently well. A well tied "weaker" knot is stronger than a poorly tied "theoretically stronger" knot.

With that in mind, the weakest knot is the one that ALWAYS fails. And the weakest knot is almost always the one tied using the thinnest weakest material. Therefore, the weakest connection is either the leader to tippet knot or the tippet to fly knot.

Knots tied in stronger material rarely fail even when tied with a relatively weak knot. For example, an overhand knot is weak relative to other knots BUT it is tied as an overhand loop to connect the leader butt to the fly line loop, it will be stronger than a better knot at the tippet to fly. The fact that an overhand knot has not failed in this situation does not mean it is a relatively strong knot! It just means that a relatively weak knot tied in strong material will not break before a relatively strong knot tied in weak material.

Secondly, even if a strong knot like a blood knot at the tippet to leader connection fails before another knot does not mean the blood knot is a bad knot. It means EITHER the knot was poorly tied or the blood knot was tied with the weakest material (the tippet) in the connection system. The same holds true for the tippet to fly knot. It is critical to use the best knot we can tie and tie them properly in these two connections. For that reason, I either use a blood knot or a double surgeons knot for the tippet to leader connection and I use the Orvis knot at the tippet to fly connection.

The reason for the Orvis knot at the tippet to fly vs the clinch knot is that the Orvis fly knot wastes the least amount of tippet material. I can tie it and have less than an inch of tippet end to cut off. A strong knot with little wasted material is a hard combination to beat. It saves me tippet material and that keeps my tippet from getting too short.

I know the illustration of the Orvis knot looks complex, BUT the knot can be tightened by pulling only on the standing (long) end of the tippet. If you you keep the tag end just short enough so you can still pull on it to set the knot, that is all the tippet that you will need to cut off.

 

gpwhitejr

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For many years I have pretty much only used the improved clinch knot to tie on flies, hooks, lures, etc. Lately I have gotten lazy and started using the unimproved clinch knot, and haven't had any problems with that, though I understand it is about 50% weaker (unfortunately I haven't tested it with any large fish). Recently I have also been using the Lefty non-slip loop, and once or twice the San Diego Jam ('cause I like the name). I will try that Orvis knot next time I go out.

By the way, there is a good animated knot website:

Animated Knots by Grog | How to Tie Knots | Fishing, Boating, Climbing, Scouting, Search and Rescue, Household, Decorative, Rope Care,
 

slojes

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Good info, I have not fished with the Orivis Knot but think I will try it for the purpose of saving tippet material. I notice that the site the image came from ( netknots.com ) also has it animated, as are all the knots on that site, which I find helpful.

For me, most break-offs occur most often not at the fly but at the tippet to leader knot (I was using the Double Uni there as I find it easier to tie than the Blood). But two knot strength testing sources on the internet have both found that the J Knot tests stronger than the Blood, or Surgeon's. Again, it can be seen on the NetKnots site: J Knot - How to tie a J Knot animated and illustrated | Fishing Knots illustrated and animated and there is a link in the write up about the knot to the tests which makes for some interesting reading.

Since I started using the J Knot, I have not had it fail.
 

nevadanstig

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Youtube, youtube, youtube. Books are ok, but with knots i find it much easier to learn by actually watching it in real time.
Pick a few knots and stick with them until you can basically tie them with your eyes closed. A knot that is typically on the weaker side if tied well will always be stronger than a strong knot that is tied poorly.

Sent from my SM-T237P using Tapatalk
 

overmywaders

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The knots below are still good, though they were originally used with gut and synthetic gut leaders. I like the fact that they clinch behind the eye, which means the tippet is in a straight line with the fly. I always used the Turle on dries and wets and the Improved Clinch on streamers.



P.S. - the Turle works on up-eye and down-eye hooks, not on straight-eye hooks.
 
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markfrid

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Sounding like a dummy is not new to me - I've done it to myself many times. So here goes: I use 2 knots for trout, stream bass fishing and panfish. I use the blood knot to tie 2 pieces of mono together and the plain, unimproved clinch knot to tie on my flies. I'm talking flies of #8 to #(tiny). After a little practice these knots are fast to tie (yes, even the blood knot), extremely reliable, compact, seat easily and, very importantly, are easy to tie under low light conditions.

I tie the blood knot in halves: 4 twists, poke the end through, pinch with your free fingers so it doesn't come apart. Then 4 twists with the other end, poke through the same hole. Pull tight. With practice you'll get muscle memory and you'll be able to tie it in the almost-dark.

The rap on the clinch knot is it is weaker than other fly-attaching knots. I won't argue that. But it's super-simple to tie, fast, doesn't waste tippet, seats very easily and with a little practice, you can tie it in the dark. As far as break-offs, I've found that my rig failures are 99% due to unnoticed abrasions in the line or wind knots. Failures at the fly are not worth mentioning.

Just my opinion - keep it simple and tie them good. Those 2 go together, I might add.

Like a previous poster said, start with parachute cord and get smaller as you get good at it. You'll be blood-knotting tiny tippets in no time and never look back!

Mark
 
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