Knot tying is an essential fishing skill and there are entire books written about fishing knots. I am going to concentrate here on two lesser-known knots that I use constantly in saltwater, as well as freshwater fishing.
1. Surgeons Knot
I use this for attaching a leader to my main line. It works for both mono and the new super lines. For best results when using a super line (such as Fireline, Power Pro, Spiderwire, etc.), double the line before tying in the leader. This will give the connection more bite and it will hold much better. I normally use 10lb to 30lb leaders (mono or fluorocarbon) and tie to either 8 to 20 lb mono or 8 to 30lb super line. With a properly tied leader, you can fish with less connection hardware such as clips or swivels. It creates a connection point to the fish that is tougher to break than the main line and, in some cases, is less visible to the fish, and is a great handle when landing the fish. I depend on this connection and it has not failed.
2. Canoe Man’s Knot
This knot is credited to the late Merrill Chandler, known for his pioneering efforts saltwater canoe fishing in Florida. It is a loop knot for connecting a hook, lure, or jig to the leader. Loop knots allow the bait or lure to move more freely in the water column making them more attractive to fish. This one is super easy and does not use up long lengths of leader each time it is retied. I use this knot as my leader to lure connection most of the time and, as with the Surgeons Knot, it has never failed me when properly tied.
Both knots should be wet before being pulled snug. This allows the knot to seat better and be more secure. It also protects the line from heat friction damage during tightening. This is especially important when using fluorocarbon leader material.
The pictures show how to tie the knots. Practice makes perfect and these two knots are well worth the time and effort. Master them and they will be simple and effective additions to your fishing knot arsenal.
1. Put the leader through the eye of the lure about 3 inches
2. Form 2 backwards loops toward the lure in the leader
3. Push the second loop through the first loop
4. Put the tag end from the lure through the loop that passed through the first loop
5. Wet the knot and tighten while holding the tag end. This allows the loop to be sized
6. Trim the tag end