Some people learn how to tie a Fisherman’s Knot (the Improved Clinch) and stop learning right there, while others learn a dozen or more different fishing knots and never stop looking for better ones. While most of the popular knots have a purpose, in truth any competent angler can get by with these five top fishing knots. You can learn these easily enough with a quick trip to YouTube, so we’re not going to get into the aspect of how to tie them, here. But the question many people can’t answer from YouTube is which to use, and when.
The Loop- Use this when attaching a lure directly to your leader, especially if it’s a lure with minimal action. Most people believe that a loop knot gives the lure more freedom of motion, so it can swim and swing back and forth more easily.
The Fisherman’s-Use an Improved Clinch to attach terminal tackle to your line. Yes, you could use a loop knot for this too, but items like swivels and bottom rigs don’t need the extra freedom to move and many people find an Improved Clinch faster and easier to tie. Plus, when using rigs with hooks swinging on leaders, the loop knot can actually cause tangles (if the hook snags the loop).
The Uni-to-Uni – This knot is ideal for attaching leader to your mainline. Many anglers who use braid mainlines use it to tie on four or five feet of mono or flourocarbon leader. There’s a down-side, though, in that the knot may catch a bit going through the guides. The best way to avoid this is to trim the knot close, and keep the leader short enough you can cast without the knot in the guides, in the first place.
The Spider Hitch – When you want to tie a loop into the end of your line, or make a long double-leader, the Spider Hitch is the fastest and easiest way to do it. Some seasoned anglers choose to tie a Bimini Twist instead, which is great, but it takes a lot longer and the breaking strength difference usually isn’t even noticeable.
The Palomar – This one’s a must-know for anyone who uses braid extensively. Using most other knots, braid will slip when tying on terminal tackle or the eye of a lure. But the Palomar will hold tight, and it only takes seconds to tie.