The perfect fishing knot
What’s a good fishing knot? That’s simple. If you tie a hook on the end of a fishing line with a simple or perhaps a complicated series of twists, turns, loops and laps; hang a worm on the hook; catch a fish with it and the knot holds tight and the line doesn’t snap at the hook, it’s a good fishing knot.
At least it was a “good enough” fishing knot. In freshwater fishing especially, most anglers choose line much stronger than the weight of the fish they are trying to catch. Four- and 6-pound-test line is popular for bluegill fishing. No one expects to catch a 4-pound bluegill. Twelve- to 17-pound monofilament or 30- to 50-pound braided line is often used by bass anglers. Those guys just dream about hooking 12-pounders.
A poor fishing knot drastically diminishes the strength of the line. Tie a hook to a 6-pound line with a granny knot and the knot will break at about 3 pounds. You probably aren’t going to catch a 3-pound perch, so don’t worry about it. You might snag a three-pound stick. You might accidentally have a three-pound bass grab your worm at which point you should start worrying about the knot granny taught you. Actually, granny didn’t teach me the granny knot. I think granny knots are learned by instinct.
I do remember it was my grandpa who taught me the “fisherman’s knot.” Now I know that knot is properly named the clinch knot, but whether it was called a grandpa knot, fisherman’s knot or clinch, it was a beautiful thing to watch as the twists in the line spun closed tighter and tighter around the main line as grandpa tugged it snug.
I used it for decades and it was usually “good enough” to hold tight on the bluegills, bullheads and perch I most often caught. Now, I know there are even better knots to tie. The clinch knot grandpa taught me will probably break at 75 or 80 percent of the line’s rated strength.
Some of the knots I’ve used almost require an instruction book to tie. I’ve tied knots in fishing line that required two people to complete and others that would be easier if I had three hands. Supposedly, some of these are 95- or 98-percent as strong as the line being knotted. That’s important when after wicked tuna or perhaps wicked salmon in Lake Michigan.
But once in a while, I just dangle a worm for a sunfish or perch on line much stronger than needed to pull the fish from the water. So I tie on the hook using the simple “fisherman’s knot” my grandpa taught me years ago. It’s still a thing of beauty and if the knot holds, obviously it is still good enough.